It is not the end of the world. Many people slip up and have a cigarette once or twice, but quickly get back on track. So if you do slip, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. If you get down on yourself, you aren’t giving yourself a chance. So give yourself a break – learn to forgive yourself. If you get down on yourself, you aren’t giving yourself a chance.
If you really look at it, quitting is a process and backsliding is just part of this whole process. Just make sure you find out what went wrong that you picked up a cigarette – and next time you’ll do better.
Millions of people who have quit smoking slip and smoke. And many of these smokers still end up quitting. Here are some steps that you can take to fight slip-ups:
1) Stop smoking immediately.
2) Take action. Throw away the cigarettes or leave the place where you smoked. Treat your situation like an emergency and get out of it.
Once you’ve removed yourself form the situation, look back and consider what went wrong. Where were you? What were you doing? Who were you with? Was it your mood that made you vulnerable?
1) Analyze the situation and learn what caused the slip-up.
2) Prepare yourself for the next time. Ask yourself what you’ll do if this situation happens again.
3) If the problem was a temptation that got the best of you, then come up with a specific plan to fight the temptation next time.
If you have been using nicotine replacement therapy, take time now to review the package instructions. Maybe you need an increase in your dosage or follow the suggestions on how to use these products more effectively. If you’re unsure, you might contact your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.
It’s not always easy to get out of a slip-up. Even one slip can plunge people into a sense of helplessness and a feeling that failure is inevitable.
The reason this happens is that there’s a part of you (your “inner culprit”) that would actually be relieved by proof that your case is hopeless, and the lapse proves it. Then you can just sit back, relax, recognize the age-old fact that “we all gotta go sometime,” and simply accept your smoking, and get on with enjoying life.
People know that this isn’t really true. We all do “gotta go sometime,” but smoking makes us go a lot faster than we would have if we didn’t smoke. That is an undeniable medical fact. Perhaps at this stage, you should go back and review all those depressing facts about what smoking does to you, and how it kills you faster.
Don’t let your “inner culprit” allow you to justify smoking. Here are two ways of fighting back:
1) Recognize that quitting smoking is much more important than most of the other things you do for your health.
2) Remember that most ex-smokers relapsed several times before they succeeded, so you’re just kidding yourself if you think your case is impossible.
Even though you eliminate your strong triggers for smoking, you are still going to have temptations to slip up and smoke. As we all know, temptations are hard to resist. It is relatively easy not to smoke cigarettes that you haven’t bought. But, it’s hard not to smoke the cigarette your friend offers you at coffee break, after a hectic morning. You may forget your goal to have a long life when you’re in a situation that tempts you to smoke. Often you just can’t resist the short-term pleasure, the desire to just have one.
It’s not as hopeless as it sounds. The important things to self-control are:
1) To anticipate temptations.
2) To use creative problem solving to keep the temptation from getting too close and to keep yourself from being able to yield to its temporary allure.
3) To do things – follow through with the strategies you created. Use them.
Remember, creativity ahead of time can be your weapon against temptation. And any strategy that blocks momentary temptations, or that keeps you from giving in to the temporary urge will increase your self-confidence and help you get to the long-term goal of enjoying life without cigarettes.