… here’s some advice to try again.
This article is written by Heath Dingwell, Ph.D.
Dingwell is the author of The Easiest Way to Stop Smoking: Finding the Way That Works Best For You, published by Turner Publishing in 2011.
If First You Don’t Succeed…
The saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” That’s easier said than done.
No one likes to fail, let alone repeatedly fail. And it’s especially hard to overcome an obstacle that is addicting, such as smoking.
However, it is worth noting that approximately 70 percent of smokers want to quit each year. Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that in 2007 approximately 40 percent of all smokers were able to stop for at least one day. Unfortunately the CDC does not indicate how long people were able to stop or completely quit.
Increasing Your Odds
Most smoking cessation approaches, such as using medications, only have about a 50 percent success rate. By this I mean that after one year only 50 percent of people are still smoke-free.
Those numbers vary a lot because of all the different cessation aids that are available. That doesn’t sound very encouraging.
However, there are steps people can take to help increase their chances for success.
First, if you’ve tried quitting before, evaluate what you did and try to identify what caused you to smoke again. This doesn’t have to be elaborate – you’re not looking for some deeply insightful revelations here.
Once you identify what went wrong, look at other ways to stop smoking. If you tried one medication to stop smoking and it didn’t work, ask your doctor about other alternatives. There are several medications that can be used. Each works differently and there’s no evidence that if one didn’t work then others won’t either.
Did you try using a cessation aid, such as the patch, gum or lozenge?
If not, that’s another option. Even if you did, it is worth considering again. Using these along with other treatments can boost your success rate.
You can even use a combination of the patch, gum or lozenge. Some people wear a patch and then use the gum or lozenge when cravings strike.
Get Support to Stop Smoking
You should call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for advice and suggestions.
Every state has a dedicated phone number to help people quit smoking. The 1-800 number above is automatically routed to your state’s number. Quitlines can provide information and resources to help you quit.
People have successfully used meditation, visualization and acupuncture to stop smoking. These techniques can make a huge difference, especially if you believe in them.
If you tried quitting “cold turkey” and it didn’t work, well don’t worry. Although it works for some people, most people who try this method aren’t successful. I know a few people who quit this way – the one feature they had was an insane level of will power. It’s not shameful if someone can’t quit this way – if it were easy then there’d be no need for cessation aids or medications.
Focusing on Goals & Your Reasons for Quitting
Regardless of the method or methods you use, it is important to write down a list of goals and reasons for quitting.
- Do you want to be smoke-free in a month, two months or three months?
- Do you want to quit to save money?
- Be healthier?
- Live longer?
- Set a good example for family or friends?
Be specific and list everything. Write it down and put it somewhere you can see for reasons for stopping smoking every day.
Writing down this information is a big psychological motivator – it helps get you in the right frame of mind.
Looking at your list, even if it’s only for a few seconds a day, helps to reinforce your motivation.
Remember – quitting isn’t easy. There is no one right way to do it. At some point almost everyone stumbles. But, it is so important to acknowledge what happened when you tried, and then move forward. Ultimately you can and will get there.
It’s not a race …. It’s a journey to healthier living!
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