If you’ve read the First Step in Quitting Smoking post, (link to first smoking post) you know why you want to quit. Now it’s time to take that step and do it.
Have you decided how you want to quit? You have several options, including pharmaceutical aids such as nicotine replacement therapy or Chantix, hypnotherapy, laser therapy, a telephone quitline, and cold turkey. Any of these methods can work, but only you know what is likely to work for you, based on your previous quit attempts. If you’re not sure which way you want to go, call your state’s quitline, or talk to your doctor.
Once you’ve decided how and why you want to do it, when are you going to do it? If you wait for the perfect time, it may never come. On the other hand, most smokers can remember a time when their minds or bodies were screaming it was time to quit, and they ignored those signals. If a signal comes to you in the middle of the night or while you’re driving home, get rid of those cigarettes immediately, and let that signal be the first moment of your quit.
There’s a reason your mind and body are telling you to quit at that moment—don’t ignore it.
Should you set a quit date?
If you call a quitline, they will ask you to set a quit date so you’ll commit to quitting. Some people question whether that is a good idea. The answer to that is, “it depends.” For some people, having a date is the first goal of their quit plan. They have time to prepare themselves and others for their quit. They can rid the house and car of all smoking paraphernalia, buy any pharmaceutical aids they need, and decide beforehand how to avoid and deal with cravings.
Some ex-smokers swear that picking a quit date wouldn’t have worked for them because it would have added even more stress to the process of quitting. Some people feel a sense of failure if they miss the quit date. Others use the quit date as an excuse to avoid quitting. They’ll set a quit date two weeks away, then as the date approaches, they move it back another two weeks. They tell themselves they need more time to plan, when they need to take action instead.
In the end, you have to decide what will work for you. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you quit on the first or the fifth of the month—you need to quit, and the time is now. If planning your life typically makes you more successful, pick a quit date, but don’t stretch it out more than two weeks. If setting a quit date will make you put off quitting, or if you feel motivated to do it now, seize the moment and get rid of the cigarettes.
Has setting a quit date ever worked for you? Why or why not?