Adopting a Smoke-Free Lifestyle
A key to quitting successfully over the long-term is adopting a smoke-free lifestyle. This means thinking of yourself as a non-smoker and accepting the fact that smoking is not an option. If you think back to when you started smoking, it likely took awhile for you to become addicted to cigarettes – it can take awhile to break the habit as well. Keep taking it one day at a time, even in the face of cravings.
If you have a positive attitude, learn from your experiences, and make other positive decisions in your life, living smoke-free can come naturally. Consider these tips for supporting your smoke-free lifestyle:
- Take care of yourself. Align your eating, sleeping and exercise habits with your attitude to stay smoke-free, and you will be moving toward a healthier you in more ways than one. This means eating well, getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water and exercising every day.
- Avoid alcohol or situations in which you may be inclined to have a drink. It can trigger a craving for a cigarette. The time will come when you can enjoy a drink without smoking.
- Use strategies that will help you stay successful. This could include your action plan for dealing with cravings. Remember, your support system is always there for you, whether you have enrolled in a quit smoking program with others, or your friends and family are your supporters. It’s okay to ask for help.
- Put a reminder somewhere where you can see it, such as a bracelet, ring, watch, or pen to remind you that you are an ex-smoker. When you feel a craving coming on, look at your reminder and think of how far you’ve come.
- For several weeks, do something nice for yourself at the same time each day to celebrate your success. Buy your favorite cup of coffee or tea, eat a piece of dark chocolate, or go for a walk. Have monthly and yearly anniversaries that help you celebrate your success. Spend the money you’ve saved smoking on something special for yourself.
- Don’t believe you can have just one. If you allow yourself to have one cigarette, you can allow yourself to have another and another.
- Watch out for smoking triggers. Everyone has his or her own triggers, but common ones include being around other smokers, drinking alcohol, and dealing with highly emotional or stressful situations. Try to avoid those common triggers if you can.
- Remember, if you slip up and have a cigarette, it doesn’t mean you have relapsed and are now a smoker again. It’s common to have a slip from time to time. Just be patient with yourself, get back on track, and learn from your experiences so you can be successful in the future.
Learn how to deal with cravings.
When you quit smoking, your risk of stroke decreases steadily. Former smokers have the same stroke risk as nonsmokers after 5 to 15 years.