Many people decide to quit cigarettes on the spur of the moment. They may have been thinking that they WANT to quit for a long time, but the actual moment is a knee-jerk response to smoking too much the night before or some other trigger that makes them toss the pack in the trash and declare, "That's it. I'm done with cigarettes!". And then they feel really good about it...until the first craving hits them and they can't figure out how to get through it. So they say, "Ohhhh, this is TOO hard. I can't do it!". And then they smoke.
They did not PREPARE for their Quit. And as Miguel de Cervantes said, "Forewarned, Forearmed, To Be Prepared is Half the Victory!". (Good old Miguel wrote "Don Quixote" Here's a pic of him. Isn't he cute?)
Forewarned? It means gather knowledge about your enemy (nicotine), it means learn all that you can about addiction, about quitting, about what works and what doesn't work. It means listen to the folks who have already quit successfully here on EX and take their advice seriously. Do the reading. Do the Tracking and Separation exercises here on EX. Understand your addiction BEFORE you attempt to quit.
Forearmed? It means spending time thinking about, and choosing, how you will handle cravings. These are the weapons with which you will be forearmed (a fancy way of saying "armed beforehand", get it?) To do this, I suggest you start with two separate lists.
The first list is "Things I will DO when I am Craving". This should be small simple tasks or activities, such as take out the trash, play solitaire, start a load of laundry, do 15 jumping jacks, trim your toenails, go yell at the people who work for you (ok, maybe not THAT), a crossword puzzle book, write a real postcard to someone, rearrange your desk, call your mother, take the dog for an extra walk, clean out your kitchen junk drawer, play Solitare...you get the idea, right?
The second list is "Things I will Put into My Mouth INSTEAD of Cigarettes". These are oral substitutes. Flavors and textures that will distract your senses from a craving, and keep your mouth busy until the craving passes. The obvious things are gum, hard candies and mints. But think outside the box, too. Other items on this list could be licorice sticks, whole cloves, olives, flakes of red pepper, Cheerios (one at a time, like a baby does), teeny cubes of cheese, a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on your tongue, pistachios, butter rum Lifesavers, swigs of bottled water, a Tootsie Roll Pop, sticks of fresh zucchini, cherry tomatoes, a spoonful of peanut butter...have I got you thinking? Not only does this direct your taste buds from the memory of what smoking tastes like, but it also can help with breaking the habit of the hand-to-mouth motion.
Now, assemble your "weapons" against the cravings. Buy or find the items on these lists that will allow you to put these ideas into actual practice when a craving hits. Find a suitable totebag or box. This is your "Quit Kit" (This may seem like overkill, or even silly, to some new Quitters. But, dying from smoking is pretty darn serious and you need an arsenal to beat your addiction.) Don't forget to include your two lists in your Kit. During the first days of your Quit, and for as long as necessary, keep your Quit Kit near you. And utilize it when the urge to smoke hits you. When a craving comes over you, you can just, oh, say, grab a handful of breadsticks and go run around the block while you munch on them. Or how about crack open a can of coconut water and go paint your fingernails? Or eat six black olives while dancing around the coffee table, humming ABBA songs? Crazy, but effective.
Finally, don't forget the most super-secret effective Crave Buster EVER: Bite into a whole lemon, peel and all. Nothing will kill a crave faster. I promise.
The point is this, folks; IF you prepare properly for your Quit, you are more likely to succeed. Don't just sit there and feel reeeeaallly bad when a crave comes over you! Take ACTION until the crave ebbs away.
"Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory". It works. And if I can quit, YOU can quit, too!