Rethink Your Habits: Keys to Quitting for Good
You made the decision to quit tobacco and you’re sticking to it. Pat yourself on the back! Maybe you did…
You made the decision to quit tobacco and you’re sticking to it. Pat yourself on the back! Maybe you did it for a loved one. Maybe it was a New Year’s resolution. Maybe you saw yourself in the mirror and decided it was time to prioritize your health. Whatever your reason, there will be good and bad days when it comes to fighting cravings.
The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is here to help you fight those cravings through a wide range of resources. However, we also recognize that the hard work of quitting starts by changing those little habits that can trigger you at a moment’s notice. Here’s how to address them.
According to smokefree.gov, most triggers fall into four main categories:
- Emotional Triggers: Stress, anxiety, family or friend conflicts, even boredom
- Pattern Triggers: Normal rhythms of life that used to involve smoking, such as work breaks, talking on the phone or driving
- Social Triggers: Going to a bar, attending a concert, hanging out with friends who smoke
- Withdrawals: Smelling a cigarette, handling a lighter, needing an oral fixation
These triggers can sneak up on us when we least expect it. Let’s take a look at a few simple habits you can change to curb cravings. Rethinking these moments can profoundly impact your ability to quit smoking for good.
Pay at the Pump
Do yourself a favor and avoid going inside gas stations and convenience stores. They’re notorious for placing cigarettes and other tobacco products right at the counter, so they’re easy to snag — especially in a moment of weakness. When you use a credit, debit or pre-paid gas card at the pump, you’ll break out of a past routine that usually ended with cigarettes. You’ll also save some cash!
Find a New Local Hangout
Many times, the desire to smoke hits us when we’re out having drinks with friends or attending a concert. It can be difficult to choose between seeing your friends and avoiding triggers. The good news? Many Oklahoma establishments are going smokefree. Perhaps it isn’t your activity that has to change — just the place!
Find a Replacement
Think back to a time when you used tobacco more regularly throughout your day. When did you give into cravings most often? After dinner? On your lunch break? During your morning or evening commute? This week, grab a pack of gum or granola bar before you leave. When tobacco cravings sneak up on you, you’ll be ready with a tasty, healthy alternative.
Take a Hike (Or an Easy Stroll…)
For many former tobacco users, cravings can be the strongest in the morning and evening. Instead of caving in, why not go for a walk? The key is to teach your mind and body to crave new rhythms. A walk in the woods or a stroll around the block will not only keep you from lighting up. It will also replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy one.
Change Your Habits. Change Your Life.
Your decision to quit was step one. Your next steps are small put powerful: forming new habits to avoid triggers.
You’ve got this! We’re here to help you every step of the way.