It’s time to quit smoking, which means you’re beginning to craft a cessation plan. Good work on getting this far—it’s a difficult road and often, the first step is the hardest one to take. You’ve made it to that starting line, and now it’s time to run to the finish line. In this guide, we’ll cover seven tips for creating an effective quit smoking plan.

We’ll cover everything from smoking alternatives to setting goals, getting support, and everything in between. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

1. Keep Alternatives In Mind

Nowadays, there are dozens of smoking alternatives available. CBD products have exploded onto the market in recent years in the form of oils, gummies, and even vape pens, and many claim that CBD oil helps with nicotine withdrawal. There’s even research being conducted on the effects of CBD in treating addiction (yes, that includes nicotine addiction).

If you’re not interested in CBD, you can take a more common path with nicotine gum, patches, and more. There are also nicotine replacement therapy options, prescription medications, and even things like herbal cigarettes that don’t contain any tobacco or nicotine.

A newer alternative to cigarettes and tobacco called tobacco free dip has created an industry of its own in recent decades. The dip is completely tobacco free, but tastes, smells, and feels the same as traditional tobacco.

2. Set Realistic Goals

Many smokers set unrealistic goals, and it’s usually the reason they never reach them. It’s important to be as honey with yourself as possible. There’s nothing wrong with holding yourself higher and expecting more of yourself, but understand that cessation is a journey, not a sprint. No one can quit and be tobacco free with no nicotine symptoms in just a week; it’s simply not physiologically possible.

Set realistic goals and a hard date for when you want to quit smoking altogether. Your goals should reflect your personal discipline and abilities and any extra help you might have in the form of support or tobacco alternatives.

3. Expect Setbacks

Along your journey, you will undoubtedly come across challenges, fall flat on your face, and make mistakes. We have a negative relationship with the word failure and with mistakes. Failure is something that can motivate you to the greatest heights of your life, but first, you need to understand what failure truly means.

When you fail, you can choose to fail forward or fail backward. Many of us fail backward because we’re taught that failure is a negative thing. You didn’t hit the goal the first time, so you’re a loser, a failure, you’ll never get there. This is untrue. Failure is nothing less than an opportunity to do better. When you fall down, you can get back up again, face the problem, and keep trying.

If you try 100 times and fail, you’ll never reach your goal if you don’t try for the 101st time. If you try, there’s always that chance you’ll reach it, but if you never try at all, that goal slips away.

4. Plan For Cravings

You’re going to come across cravings. Nicotine withdrawal is nothing to laugh at. It can cause real discomfort, irritability, and even physical pain as your body recovers from addiction. You’ll want to reach for a cigarette in those moments of doubt. It would be easier to just take a few puffs and get the nicotine your body is craving.

Make a plan for when cravings hit. Don’t try to ride them out without some kind of plan to keep your mind and body busy. Go for a walk, a run, or workout. Chew gum. Read a book. Do anything and everything to distract your mind and body.

5. Ask For Support

There is no shame in asking for help during tough times. If quitting smoking was easy, every smoker that ever started would do it. The truth is, less than 10% of smokers actually quit altogether, and the ones that do have a support system in place.

Who is your support system? Friends? Family? If you don’t have one, you can turn to cessation apps or even in-person support groups for help.

6. Use Cessation Apps

Cessation apps are handy and accessible when you need them. You can carry around a milestone tracker, community connection, and motivational calendar in the palm of your hand to remind you where you came from and how far you’ve gotten thus far. These reminders can reignite that spark of motivation and keep you pushing through cravings.

Most cessation apps are free to use!

7. Remind Yourself Why You Started

Why did you take this journey to leave smoking behind? Was it for your personal health? Your finances? Your family? Spouse? Whatever your motivation is, it should be the core of your cessation plan. That motivation is enough to keep the fire burning even when you want to give up. Maybe you’ve developed the early stages of lung disease. Maybe you’re starting to realize your quality of life is slipping away. There’s never a bad reason to quit smoking for good.

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