The Complete 4-Week Quit Smoking Guide:
So you've set the big date - you're finally ready to quit for good. If this is your first time, be prepared for some rocky days ahead. If this is your umpteenth time, then you already know what to expect and just want to get this behind you, once and for all. Here are some tips to help you get through the all-important first week.
If you haven't read my previous post Preparing to Quit Smoking, then take a moment to go through those tips. It will help you be prepared for the weeks ahead. It is especially important to get rid of things in your life that might tempt you to smoke. If that includes your spouse or your boss, then do what you can to minimize your exposure to any stressful encounters.
Day 1 - You're fired up and committed. You've armed yourself with healthy alternatives to smoking. You've maybe got some nicotine patches or gum ready for the first days of withdrawal. Gather up your arsenal and use these tools today. Tell all your friends and family this is your first day - you've officially quit smoking
Day 2 - After your first 8 hours, your carbon monoxide and oxygen levels have returned to normal. Your fingers and other extremities may tingle as your capillaries start to respond to having more oxygen. And you can imagine how positively your heart is responding - in fact, your chances of having a heart attack have decreased, and continue to be reduced each day.
Day 3 - Your nerve endings start to regrow and your ability to smell and taste increases. Put a bunch of beautiful flowers on your desk and bury your nose in them often to remind yourself of how wonderful it is to be able to breathe and smell.
Day 4 - Take a moment to write down all the reasons you want to stay smoke-free and refer to that list often in the hours and days ahead. For some ideas about this topic, read about how to Use Positive Reinforcement Lists to Help Stay Quit.
Day 5 - Think about weaning yourself off any nicotine replacement drugs you may have been using. The physical cravings for nicotine are usually gone within about 72 hours and most people quit successfully when they finally go cold turkey. For information about this topic, read Stop-Smoking Drugs - Are They For You?
Day 6 - Your bronchial tubes have relaxed and breathing becomes a little easier. Try going up some stairs and see what a difference a week without cigarettes has made. Work some exercise into your day, starting with whatever you're comfortable with - a 10-minute daily walk is a good start if you've been sedentary (but be sure to ask your doctor if you have any health concerns). Our bodies can recover quickly, but only if we nurture them.
Day 7 - You've made it through your first week! Congratulations. You might want to make a dentist appointment to have your teeth cleaned - there's nothing like seeing a bright smile in the mirror each morning to help you stay motivated.
Congratulations on your first week's success. And if you relapsed, you're not alone - most people go through many quit attempts before they finally succeed - just start again tomorrow!
Next week, we'll explore more ways to build up your arsenal against relapse in Quit Smoking - Week 2.
Quit Smoking: Week 3
Quit Smoking: Week 4
For more information about the health benefits of quitting smoking, see Better Health After Quitting. For inspirational stories that will help you quit, consider Give It Up! Stop Smoking for Life.