I realized that my smoking habit started to become a problem when three things started to happen in my life. First, I started to have more pictures of me with a cig in hand or mouth on Facebook than before, considering that I try not to show me smoking in pictures. Second, because of my active lifestyle, I started having chest pains in the middle of the night before that I never did have before. Finally, it was also around the time I started to realize my clothes started to smell of old cigarette smoke and it was bad.
I decided I had to do something. I did and thankfully, I never turn back since.
So a lot of people ask me how exactly did I manage to kick the habit out. Granted, it was not an easy task (one of the hardest things I had to do) but I would love to share with you guys how I did it and perhaps it could be the same for you guys as well.
Step 1: Choose a Date, Stick with It!
One of the main reasons why a lot of people relapse is because when they choose to stop, they were not ready to do it.
What I did was that I chose a date a week in advance to say that I it was going to be my last day smoking. I told all my family members and my closest friends the date and talked to them how they can help me sticking with that date.
When the day came, I threw out everything I had related to smoking. Smokes, lighters, ashtrays and even matches were taken out from my room and I had a great deal of help from people around me to do this.
What this does is that it gives you time to mentally prepare to quit smoking. It is not easy but I can guarantee it makes the process much easier in comparison to the "cold turkey" method.
Step 2: Break the Habit!
Believe it or not, a lot of people continue to smoke is because it is a force of habit, especially for those that has been smoking for the longest time. I smoked everyday for 13 years of my life, most of them I go through a box a day, so understandably you would have developed the habit to putting a cigarette in your mouth.
Break the habit with something else. This is where it is rather helpful to chew gum (even the cheap ones would do) whenever you feel the urge to smoke. It helps you take your mind in needing to have a cigarette in your mouth.
DO NOT indulge yourself in snacks and junk food whenever you have your cravings! This is likely to happen so I am telling you watch yourself and stop doing this!
Step 3: Washing Your Hands Often!
Call me crazy on this but this seriously works...
Someone suggested this to me when I wanted to stop smoking and unbelievably it actually does help! What I would suggest is to keep washing your hands every time you feel the urge to smoke but air dry them, not towel dry.
How this works is that because as smokers, you don't realize that automatically you would not want to have a smoke when your hands are either still wet or just cleaned. Therefore making use of that habit to your advantage, give your hands a quick wash (doesn't have to be with soap) and you would see that it would likely work!
Step 4: Sweat it Out!
This is the most critical part of your process to quit. I read somewhere before of a lifehack on this topic
Of course I would change that a little bit to "sweating it out" by means of vigorous activities. When I wanted to quit, I went all out in gym training, martial arts and running that helped me A LOT in sweating out the chemicals in your body that creates the urges in the first place.
Large amounts of drinking water plus a lot of exercise WAS ABSOLUTELY KEY in my efforts to quit smoking. Also it does help a lot in shifting my focus from wanting to smoke to other things in mind.
Step 5: Understand the Difficulties from the Beginning
If there are people out there telling you quitting smoking is easy, those fools have no idea what they are talking about. Once again I would not want to sugar coat it, doing this was hard as hell.
So preparing oneself by understanding what are the difficulties that you would face is essential. This creates a benchmark for yourself to cross off every time you reach that particular bump.
For me, my process went something like this:
After a day of quitting, I started getting back shakes on my fingers.
After three days of quitting, I started getting edgy and easily irritated with the people around me.
After 1 week, cold sweats and a bout of fever might happen. This is when your body goes to a bit of a shock.
After 1 month, it does get easier but you start to lose focus a little bit in your everyday activities. You do get a bit sleepy in unlikely hours or fatigued more than usual.
After 6 months. you do think about it every now and then especially around smokers but it is managable.
After that, things got a lot easier and not smoking becomes a manageable habit for me.
So tough it out and you will get there in the end!
Step 6: Creating a Peace of Mind
This may sound like some hippy jargon to you but it is equally important. I realized that one of the most common trigger factor for one to smoke is negative surroundings that causes negative emotions in one self. Things like stress, anger and such might be the cause of your own habit.
Take importance things like prayers, meditation or even some quite time to yourself to really "cool yourself mentally" and you would be surprised how it would work.
What I like to do also was taking a very quite drive by myself to places that are not crowded or even out of town. I remembered there was a point I was driving around very quiet areas of Shah Alam by myself so that you would not be in a bad "state of mind". It will help you a lot in you process to quit.
Step 7: Create a Benchmark, Reward Yourself!
Its amazing how the mind works. It is a fact that we work well through proper incentives, even if it was to come from ourselves. So to quit smoking, reward yourself something nice for passing every time benchmark that you have gone without a cigarette. Be it a quick sesh in the movies, a new pair of shoes, or as such.
What I did was I gave myself monthly rewards as an incentive and finally, gave myself a holiday overseas after one year of not touching a single cigarette at all! In fact even my family and my then girlfriend (now wife!) was doing the same for me as well!
What this does is that it gives you a reminder of how far you have gone along with this effort of yours and also to remind what you would waste should you go back to your old habits.
Step 8: There is No Such Thing as Slowing Down!
My final point on this topic, if there are anyone that tells you that they want to quit by slowing down/cutting down/ not buying packs but just getting from friends/ limiting himself to X number of cigarettes a day, call their bullshit because NONE OF THAT WILL WORK!
It is either you are a smoker or you are not. There is no grey areas around it and this is what I would always tell people. As long as you keep the habit with you you are bound to relapse back to your original habit so don't give yourself an excuse for doing so. When you really do choose that you have had enough of smoking, go back to step 1.
So this is everything that I personally did in order for me to kick that nasty habit out. One thing I would tell people is this, anyone out there can quit smoking, no matter what the circumstances are. There is no need for you to be dependent on expensive gadgets, books, patches, gum or anything as such to kick the habit. All it takes is just your own determination and strong will to actually do it.
For all the smokers out there, what are you waiting for?