Today is the perfect day to let go of guilt, fear, and negative self-talk surrounding your quit. Be sure to focus on each of your daily quit successes, because they add up! Even if they didn’t last, former quits were great practice. Noting what was detrimental to your last quit is a good way to plan ahead for this time. You’ve had plenty of practice to make this quit your best – and last – quit ever.
The following steps can help you move forward with your quit:
1) Be your own cheerleader
The things you say to yourself can inspire or sabotage your quit, so be careful! Think: “would I say this to my child or best friend?” If not, don’t say it to yourself. Your words affect your actions. Instead of things like “can't”, “won't”, or “it's not worth it”, try "I can do this!", "I deserve this!", "Hooray for me!" or other positive, motivating statements.
2) Beware the Abstinence Violation Effect (AVE)
Don't let 1 cigarette become 20. If you slip up and smoke a cigarette, you don’t have to smoke the whole pack or start your quit over later. The best time to start over is the present. If you literally slipped and fell, would you lay on the street until tomorrow, justifying “I am already down here; might as well stay for the night”? Of course not! You would hop up, dust yourself off, look at what you tripped over, and continue forward. Get up and toss out that cigarette, identify your trigger, brainstorm new coping tools, and continue with your quit.
3) A crave is not a command
Wanting a cigarette does not have to lead to smoking one. One will make you want another, and that could lead to a whole pack. Then, you’ll find yourself right back at square one, wishing you were still happily quit! Let those cravings pass. Breathe deeply, reflect on your motivations for quitting, and ride it through. Starting over is always harder than continuing on your way.
4) Reach out
Connecting with others on the same quit journey will inspire you to stay on track. Help those behind you, extend a hand to those beside you, and gain wisdom and inspiration from those ahead of you. Millions of people have quit smoking. So can you. Thousands of people are quitting right now. Join them!
5) Never quit quitting
Successful people achieve their goals because they keep trying, no matter how many times they fall or how discouraged they may be. Believe in the process of one day at a time. One choice at a time. One smoke-free minute at a time. You have what it takes to quit successfully. All that is left is to get started, keep going, and rock this quit once and for all!
Written by Vikki C. CTTS-M; Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist