When you are starting out, go to https://www.becomeanex.org/getting-ready/ use the tobacco tracker tool and the trigger tracker tool while you're still smoking. I too lurked in the shadows wanting to quit but was afraid to. I didn't know what to expect, what was going to come. The tracker tool made me stop each time I wanted to light up and think about the whys and when. The section that was most important to me was how I plan to separate from that time of day and the why. I chose a different one for each to train myself. I tracked my cigarettes for 2 weeks to see the pattern that was unfolding in front of my eyes. Even though I was a chain smoker, I was quite ritualistic. I had my certain times. Then I started holding off for an hour or so before lighting up. By the time I was ready to quit, I was down from 30 to 40 a day to 5. I tried cold turkey. Didn't work for me. The patch was the ticket.
The main thing is never give up. You try cold turkey, fail. Try something else. Keep trying until you find something that works for you. I just simply got tired of smoking. I forced myself to stop whatever I was doing to take the time to smoke a cigarette. I was a chain smoker. I lit one up after the other without ever thinking about the need to smoke. So between stopping to log in to track them and then taking the time to smoke it completely was just becoming a pain. But it made me stop and think about what I was doing.
When I quit altogether, I kept myself very busy for 2 weeks to a month. I got so much stuff done around the house and in the house during that time, but it kept my mind occupied. The following months after, yes, I was searching for ways to increase my energy level. But I was not using the excuse of well, I'll just go back to smoking because I was never tired then. Be sure to look up UNDERSTANDING EXCUSES. Take responsibility for YOU smoking. Not I'm too stressed, there's too much going on. I was committed to quitting. I simply did not want to go back to what I was doing before. Why did I even bother going through all this torture just to go back to it again? Just didn't make sense to me. It isn't that once I lit up one cigarette, I was going to smoke the whole thing and, bam, I'm back to it again. Once again, I knew in a few weeks' time, I would be up to at least a pack a day. I'm nipping it in the bud before it gets that far. I grew to have that insight.
Once the fog cleared and I was able to think straight again (about 5 months), every time the thought of smoking popped up, I'd think to myself, what do you think a nonsmoker would do in this situation? Remember I was building a memory base during that time over the anniversaries, birthdays, family gatherings, holidays, annual events that I chain smoked my way through. That's when the brain exercises started. I had to pump that baby up and figure out new ways of dealing with everyday life. Again, tying back to the lifestyle change that I spoke about a week or so ago.
I have new things I still encounter yet at being 3 ½ years quit. Last year's example was seeing lightening bugs in the spring. Little things that pop up over the years that you wouldn't even have a second thought about. It doesn't phase me that smoking thoughts bubble up to the surface. Smoking was a big part of my life for 43 years. Of course they are going to rise up to the occasion once in a while. That memory just simply hasn't been replaced with nonsmoking memories yet.
You'll be amazed how many things you'll ponder during your first year. Then your second year, there's even more things that bring about more smoking memories. We're human. We're creatures of habit. Give yourself all the time you need to embrace this lifestyle change, this new way of thinking about maneuvering through life differently. You're going to feel a lot better. Things taste wonderful and smell delightful. Some things will improve and others may not. But that's simply how life rolls, isn't it?