stop smoking stages

Stop Smoking: These 6 Stages Expect You

Those who want to stop smoking go through different phases. These phases can vary from person to person, but they are generally the same for anyone who stops smoking. For this reason, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the different phases in advance if you really want to go through the stop smoking process. In this way you can prepare yourself mentally for what is to come – and approach the matter with more willpower.

Phase 1: Looking Towards the Habit

The first phase is when you’re still an active smoker: you keep thinking about finally quitting – but you just couldn’t make up your mind. In this phase it is important to become aware of what you actually want and what your reasons are for stopping smoking. 

Only when you have reached the second phase does the actual process begin. But in the beginning there is the will. If you have this and are firmly convinced that you want to stop, then it can start!

 

Phase 2: Becoming Aware of Smoking as an Addiction

Smokers usually do it out of habit. Surely you started at some point and didn’t really notice how the cigarette slowly became an addiction. You certainly know that smoking is unhealthy, but so far you have not actively done anything about it.

 Nowadays, everyone knows that cigarette smoking can cause illnesses such as – lung damage – cancer – heating problems – the infamous smoker’s leg – but have you really thought about these consequences? Take a look at the unappetizing pictures on the cigarette packs and find out about the consequences of regular cigarette consumption in order to consolidate your desire to quit.

This is one of the most important phases when you become really clear about smoking. As long as you minimise the dangers and consequences, it is almost impossible to quit in the long run. Therefore you have to work on a real insight and make sure that a rethinking takes place. This can be a long thinking process, but it is absolutely worth it.

 

giving up smoking timeline

Phase 3: Stop - Finally the Decision is Made!

When you reach this phase, you have finally found the will and motivation to stop smoking in the future. The most important thing is that you yourself are convinced of this and that you don’t just talk yourself into stopping – otherwise you won’t be able to hold out much longer.

The stop of smoking begins first of all in your head – only then can you start to keep your fingers off your cigarette step by step. In this phase you will ask yourself many questions that worry you.

You ask yourself how strong the withdrawal symptoms can be and fear the restrictions and effects in everyday life. You may also be afraid that your performance and resilience will decrease. But here it is important to put a stop to worries and always tell yourself: Fears are completely unfounded and irrational – because once you have stopped, you will certainly feel better. At this stage it might help you to talk to a non-smoker who has also quit successfully. He will certainly tell you that he does not regret stopping smoking.

Phase 4: Bye Bye Cigarette - the Cigarette is Not Touched Any More

With the fourth phase you have reached the step where you also keep your fingers off the cigarette in practice. Here it is important not only to smoke less step by step, because this will certainly not work – instead you should make a radical cut. It is hard to avoid that you have to cancel certain rituals immediately. 

Have you always taken a smoking break with your colleague at certain times of the day? Or have you always smoked a cigarette after every meal or coffee? From now on these habits no longer exist.

The radical nicotine withdrawal naturally causes stress inside your body. It is important to immediately impose other rituals on yourself that you get used to. This can be a morning cup of tea, chewing gum or taking a walk in the fresh air.

Furthermore, you should remove all smoking utensils from your home and immediate surroundings so that you are not confronted with them at all. Make yourself clear: withdrawal only works 100% – or not at all.

 Expect physical withdrawal symptoms to appear in this phase, which may vary from person to person. Surely you will feel a strong desire for the cigarette at first – but you should counteract this immediately with another activity!

stop smoking

Phase 5: Your New Everyday Life has Begun

After a few weeks, when you get used to not picking up your cigarette, it’s time to stabilize your new posture. Because it’s often not easy to hold out – especially when there are a lot of smokers in your circle of acquaintances. This phase is by far the most difficult, because you will always find yourself in situations where you want nothing more than a cigarette. 

If you threaten to give in, it can be helpful to get professional help – most people who want to quit smoking do so, by the way. If you feel stressed, find a new way to get rid of it, such as through sport.

Phase 6: Being a Non-Smoker - with Pride and Willpower

Finally you’ve done it: The last cigarette is many months behind you and your craving has subsided in the meantime. You feel mentally and physically much stronger than before and don’t really feel that you were once addicted to nicotine. Now you can be rightly proud of yourself – but you should always keep in mind that a relapse can happen at any time.

 So keep on working to make it clear to yourself why you are a non-smoker and what you are doing your body good for: it is now experiencing a real regeneration and detoxification. Then you can be sure not to need the cigarette in the future.

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This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

Oliver Sankt - Autor