If you’ve decided to make Monday your official Quit Day, congratulations! You’re here and you’ve quit! Now for the hard part. We’re not going to sugarcoat this for you: quitting smoking is a big challenge. You’re going to have cravings and you’re going to have to make some changes to your lifestyle. Before today, you were a smoker. Now, as a non-smoker, your life and your day will look and feel a bit different. But there are ways to get through your first few quit hours to make your first day something to celebrate.
Get ready your first day. When you were a smoker, your cigarettes played a pretty major role in your routine, dictating your morning and evening routines as well as breaks during the day. What will you do with this time now? Avoid triggering yourself by hanging out with other smokers. If you still want to go outside, take a short walk instead. For every cigarette you used to smoke, figure out a healthy substitution.
Remember: Cravings are short. Even if you’re known for your willpower, you will still get cravings when you stop smoking. Keep in mind, however, that cravings only last about 10 minutes. You can easily occupy yourself until they pass. Line up a few distractions like healthy snacks, a reading break, or some stretching. If it will help you to call or talk to someone, do it! You can call a Quit Counselor at 1-800-QUIT-NOW if you need advice from someone in the know.
Also remember: Your health is already improving. It’s not in your head – nicotine withdrawal causes anxiety. But while your body is getting used to not having nicotine in it, many other parts of your body are getting better. Your lung capacity and ability to breathe will start to improve. Your risk for heart attack drops the day you quit smoking. Among the perks for the people around you, you won’t smell like cigarettes anymore! There are so many positive changes when you quit smoking – use them to motivate you.
Power through to tomorrow. All you need to do today is get through the day. Quitting smoking should be approached a little bit at a time so you don’t overwhelm yourself. This is a time for short-term goals, one of them being getting through a single day without smoking. If you can manage your cravings and make a few changes to your behavior, you will achieve that goal. Don’t forget to reward yourself!
Now that you’ve made it a full 24 hours without smoking, staying quit is your new challenge. It’s possible that the next few days will be more difficult, but using these tips throughout the week will get you to your next Monday. Then, you can recommit to stay quit!