So, what’s your goal?
Whether you are quitting on your own or with the help of healthcare professionals, it is important that you have a set of clear goals to keep your eye on.
To demonstrate what we mean, imagine that we hand you a ball and ask you to kick it. You will probably kick it without caring where it goes.
Now, suppose we tell you to kick that ball into that goal over there. Your eyes will zoom in on the goal, and your brain will be working out how hard you should kick and from which angle you should come in from. You want to score that goal!
See? Having a goal can really make the difference in getting you motivated!
Having goals is also important because you can revisit these goals when you feel like giving up, and regain your determination to keep going.
Therefore, take time to write down your goals before you begin to quit. There is no “right” or “wrong” goal – as long as the goal can motivate you, you should write it down. If you are stumped, you can ask your family, friends, doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Controlling your craving
There are medications and devices such as patches and gums to help you manage your withdrawal symptoms, but there is another threat to your plan to quit: the craving for cigarettes.
Here are some tips to help you get that craving under control.
Identify your triggers.
Certain situations, people, or emotions can give rise to your cravings, so learn to recognize them. You can ask your smoking cessation expert for advice on how to do this if you are stumped. Once you have identified them, come up with ways to avoid them or, if avoidance is not possible, mentally prepare yourself to deal with them in the future.
Reward yourself for meeting your goals.
Pamper yourself when you successfully reach milestones in your smoking cessation plan. You would have some spare Ringgit around after quitting your cigarettes, so give yourself a treat. This helps you stay motivated to keep being smoke-free.
Work up a sweat!
Regular physical activity such as exercise can help keep your mind off cigarettes as well as keep you healthy and in good shape. Just think: the new you would be healthy and smoke-free, with a smoking hot body too!
Eat right to keep the extra kilos away
Unwanted weight gain is a possible withdrawal symptom that can be particularly demoralizing, but you can keep the extra flab away by practising a healthy diet. Eat a variety of food from all food groups, but in the appropriate portion size while keeping fats, oils, sugars and salt to a minimum. Coupled to regular physical activity (see above), a healthy diet will also improve your health and help reduce certain withdrawal symptoms such as problems with sleeping.
Stay positive, be positive.
Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Not only will they keep you motivated, their presence can also help improve any mood swings caused by nicotine withdrawal. If you need more supportive people in your life, you can join a support group either in real life or in social media such as Facebook.
Don’t Give Up!
Standfirst: “It is important to know why you need to quit and how to quit. If you lapse, you should understand that such a thing can happen – the trick is to keep trying until you succeed. And you will succeed if you keep trying.” – Dr Amer Siddiq
Quitting the habit is not going to be smooth sailing for many people, so there may be moments when you slip up and light up despite your best efforts to resist the craving.
Don’t be so hard on yourself if you succumb to your craving. This is a small setback; it does not mean you are never going to succeed in quitting.
There’s always the next time
- You should have prepared a list of reasons as to why you want to stay smoke-free. Review these reasons, add to them if necessary, so that you will regain your motivation to try again.
- Think back about all those times you managed to go without smoking, or when you were able to resist temptation, and draw from them the strength to get back on track.
- Think about the possible triggers that caused you to slip up. Plan for how you will cope should they come up again in the future.
- If you slip up often, perhaps your medications are not working properly, or there are other possible reasons that you may not be able to identify yet. Share your concerns with your doctor, pharmacist or support group – together, you will be able to come up with a plan to get you back on track.
- You can also download apps that can deliver motivational messages, tips and other helpful materials to keep you going.