To have your best bet of succeeding, you need to have a plan for how you will quit. To create such a plan, Spangler recommends writing down all the reasons you want to quit. Next, write down your trigger times or those situations when you might automatically reach for a cigarette.
A third step is to think through a solution or strategy for what you can do instead of smoking when faced with a trigger situation.
As Spangler puts it, not smoking is like a war on two fronts. On the one hand you have the addiction center in your brain screaming, "I want a cigarette." And on the other hand, you have the environmental cues, in which smoking becomes the automatic response.
"It's easier to deal with the trigger situations, if you have the addiction center under control," Spangler said.
Medication can help treat the addiction, while coping strategies help tackle the triggers, he suggests. "You need to develop new habits for every single trigger."
This might mean reaching for a breath mint instead of a cigarette, drinking tea in the morning rather than coffee, or counting to 10 when feeling stressed or angry.
Of course, you need to set a quit date within the next week but on day eight, if you're using either of the prescription medications, Chantix or Zyban, that helps trick the brain into not wanting to smoke.
He also suggests telling friends and family for support, and finding one person with whom you'll feel accountable to go to when times are tough. "It's better to find a cheerleader rather than a drill sergeant," he said. "You want someone who will not shame or scold you, if you slip up."
Another key step is buying nicotine replacement products, whether it's a patch, gum, inhaler, nose spray or lozenges. Such products, according to Spangler, double your success rate.
There are toll-free quit lines available both nationally through the National Cancer Institute (1-877-44U-QUIT) and at the state level (1-800-QUITNOW) with counselors who can offer advice to help you problem-solve and strategize.
And change your environment as much as possible to avoid temptations and triggers. If you had a favorite chair you smoked in, rearrange the furniture. Ask friends not to smoke around you or offer you cigarettes.
Throw away all of your cigarettes, ash trays and lighters. Toss out all of your visual reminders of smoking.
People have to learn the skills to be nonsmokers and that takes time and practice, Spangler said. "The best way to learn how to be a nonsmoker is to keep trying," he said.
The experts interviewed for this article struggle with the same lifestyle changes that all of us do, and many have resolved to make a few tweaks in their own habits in 2009.
Spangler plans to exercise more, and will enlist the help of his daughter to take a walk with him after dinner. As a father of six, he needs to get the support of his wife and also recognize how this will impact other members of his family.
Kushner said that although he's good at fitting in his aerobic workouts, he wants to increase his resistance training. His goal is to do 10 to 15 minutes of strength training at least two nights a week.
Williams, who describes himself as a yo-yo exerciser, said he hopes to start back up again. He'll shoot for simply 10 minutes a night on his home elliptical machine, at least five times a week.