Try again. Fail again. Fail better. That is the journey of most smokers who are trying to give up a bad habit for a healthier life.
But how do you turn the failure to success? How do you stay strong in your journey of quitting smoking?
There are going to be more failures and lesser wins when giving up smoking. BUT, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and don’t give up. Be consisted and eventually, you will reach the finish line.
The key is to REAFFIRM and tell yourself every time: “Don’t Give Up Just Yet”.
Here’s what you can do to get back on track if you meet failures on your way:
1. Use the Slip or Failure as a Learning Experience
Think about your past attempts at quitting. What was helpful? What made it difficult? What was the trigger that prompted you to pick up a cigarette again? Once you’ve identified it, make a plan for handling it in the future. Learn from your slip, so that you’ll be better prepared next time. This may also be a good time to rethink your quitting strategy. Consider trying a nicotine replacement therapy or joining a quit-smoking program.
Negative emotions like depression, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed are among the biggest contributors to relapse, says Jorenby. A counsellor, a support group or treatment program, or a telephone support line can help you learn coping skills such as how to address negative feelings, rather than masking them with a cigarette.
2. Beware of Rationalizations That Justify Smoking and Keep Yourself Away From Them
Have you found yourself saying “I’ll just have one”? If so, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to stop there. One cigarette may seem harmless, but it can quickly lead to resuming your regular smoking habit, even if you’ve gone a long time without smoking. Nine out of 10 people return to smoking after having just one cigarette. And as Jorenby points out, this usually happens fairly quickly.
3. Think of the Positives of Not Smoking
If you’ve been smoking for a long time, you may find yourself thinking “What’s the use of quitting now?” Remind yourself of the benefits of quitting:
- You’ll be able to breathe more easily
- Your senses of taste and smell will improve, making food taste better
- You’ll cough less
- You’re likely to have more energy
- You’ll lower your risk of lung and other cancers, as well as heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema
- You can add years to your life
There are other benefits, too. Or example, your loved ones won’t be exposed to as much secondhand smoke and you’ll be setting a good example for them. Last but not least, think of all the money you’ll save when you’re not buying cigarettes.
Nicotine withdrawal is one of the toughest challenges you’ll ever face. Keep a positive outlook, and take it one day at a time.
Apart from these tips, remember that:
- Slips are common so don’t be too hard on yourself. A slip doesn’t make you a failure or mean your relapsing. It doesn’t mean you can’t quit for good.
- Feel proud of the time you went without smoking cigarettes. Think about ways you avoid your triggers and beat cravings. Try to use those ways to cope again.
- It’s important to restart quitting right away today or tomorrow at the latest. Don’t give up on your goal of no cigarettes at all.
- If quitting forever seems too hard right now, try a text message program to help you prepare to quit in the future. These programs help you build skills for dealing with cravings, triggers, and stressful situations. You can try a Practice Quit for a few days or do a week of Daily Challenges without quitting.
- Use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). You don’t need to stop using NRT after you slip and smoke one or two cigarettes. Using NRT increases your chances of staying smoke-free for good.
- Get support. If you slip, talk to family or friends. Ask them for help to stay smoke-free. You don’t have to do it alone.
- Think about what you learned when you were not smoking. What helped you to stay smoke-free and what caused you to have a slip? What can you do differently now to help yourself be smoke-free again?
Think about what you learned when you were not smoking. What helped you to stay smoke-free and what caused you to have a slip? What can you do differently now to help yourself be smoke-free again?
Failing is a part of any process. However, if you are consistent, the failure ultimately helps you learn and pave way for your victory.
So if you have fallen, don’t give up just yet! Let Abudo help you win.
For more guidelines on how to become completely smoke-free, sign up for Abudo’s course on Quitting Smoking today!