If you’re like most smokers, you’re aware that you need to quit, but you’re not quite sure how you should do it. One of the proven strategies to help you quit smoking, which offers a higher than average success rate, is to build a smoking-cessation support system.

Quitting smoking is a process that can be filled with ups and downs, challenges and obstacles, but with help throughout the journey, your chance for success will be much higher than going it alone.

Enlist a Support Team

Getting others on your side can be beneficial for any obstacle you face. Smoking is no different. Be open and transparent about your goals and let everyone know that you want to quit smoking. Be sure to tell your family members, your friends, and colleagues that you’re planning to quit and would like their support. You may even ask your supporters to remind you from time to time of the importance of your health and the need to stop.   

If you have family members who currently smoke, you may ask them to join your team in quitting smoking. Remember that you’re more likely to pick up that cigarette if you’re surrounded by fellow smokers. You want to separate yourself from the pack—both literally and figuratively. Participating in a group effort can provide excellent results when trying to quit, especially if everyone is on the same team.

Your support team can include everyone you come into contact with throughout the day. You’ll want to enlist supporters from places you frequent, such as work, school, or home. Family members, friends, and co-workers make up a solid team of supporters who will be helpful in encouraging you through the process.

Find a Support Group or Build Your Own

If you don’t have a large network of friends, or feel that you need a little extra assistance in your quit smoking efforts, find a support group. Smoking cessation support groups are available online or in your community. National organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, offer programs and online fellowship communities for those seeking freedom from nicotine and tobacco products.

Your doctor or health care provider may also recommend a support group that is dedicated to providing encouragement and helpful tools and strategies to overcome the addiction. Many community organizations and smoking cessation support groups provide tools and outlets to assist you with the stress or anxiety you may experience during the process of quitting smoking. Relaxation exercises may be offered along with tips on how to overcome the urge to derail your efforts.     

If you have trouble finding just the right smoking cessation support group, initiate and organize your own by enlisting friends or co-workers who have the same desire to stop smoking. A small group of two or more should meet regularly at a pre-set date and time so that you can discuss your efforts, failures, challenges, and ideas. Setting aside a time to meet helps you look forward to reporting your successes and increases the likeliness that you’ll succeed in your quitting efforts.

The group format may consist of meeting for coffee at a friend’s home or, as the group grows in number, getting together in a formal setting with a designated presenter. Your local community health promotion or wellness center may be able to provide starter kits for your members that include nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges. Resources are available and can be located through your local hospital, doctor’s office, or community center.   

Celebrate Your Success

Even the small successes should be celebrated when it comes to quitting smoking. If you’ve made it through one day or twenty, each success should be recognized as a pinnacle moment of victory. You and your support system can establish goals and rewards that provide an incentive to achieve. You may decide to treat yourself to a new article of clothing or a day at the spa. If your budget is a bit more restrictive, reward yourself with a soak in the tub or a movie rental.

Some former smokers report that calculating the amount of dollars saved by not smoking and adding it to their savings account provides a future savings that actually keeps them moving forward. No matter how big or how small you may determine the victory is, it should be celebrated. Remember, each and every small success brings you that much closer to achieving your goal.