Quitting smoking is something every smoker does every day. Unless you smoke 24 hours per day, you quit smoking every time you put out your cigarette. When you light up again, you are extinguishing the cravings that you feel after not smoking for a few hours.
To be a true quitter, you must make a conscious decision to put out your cigarettes and never light them again. Once you’ve made that decision and taken that first step, then you must be prepared to deal with the temptation to smoke again.
Quitting smoking is a process whereby you learn different ways to deal with stress, boredom, hunger, etc. in more healthy ways than smoking. You will learn to replace your old habits with new ones.
Think of quitting smoking simply as replacing smoking with new, better-for-you, activities. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
This exercise requires you to make some lists, so get out pen and paper and write this down. You’ll refer back to this list when you are tempted to smoke.
List the times you smoke. For example, “when I wake up”, “after breakfast”, “driving to work”, etc.
Now list something you could do instead of smoking at these times. What can replace smoking? For example, when you wake up, replace smoking with learning to play the harmonica, or watching the morning news or walking the dog. Get creative. Don’t wimp out on me here! Really spend some time developing replacements for smoking. If you smoke in the car, why not sing instead? Or get a portable voice recorder and talk the entire time you’re driving to work? You could dictate your diary or a mystery novel!
Next, list the people, places, events and stress that encourage you to smoke. If you get the urge to smoke when you go out to eat, write that down. If the stress of your daily meeting with your boss makes you smoke, write that down. These are the triggers that make you want to smoke. Can you replace these triggers with something? Some triggers you may not be able to change, but others you have control over. Perhaps you could choose only restaurants that don’t have a smoking section, or you could choose to not eat out for a while. If events at work cause you stress, what can you do to reduce the stress?
Now, write down what you like about smoking. What benefit does it give you? Perhaps you like having something in your mouth, or your hands. It gives you something to do. It gives you a group of friends to chat with each day. It helps you calm down. It helps you maintain your weight.
You should now write down several replacements for each of the benefits you have listed. For example, if smoking gives you something to do with your hands, write down some other things you can do with your hands such as playing with a rubber band or a small toy. If you use smoking to maintain your weight, write down other activities that can help you maintain your weight such as exercise, dieting, etc. Be specific. Write down the kinds of exercise you can do and how often. Replace, replace, replace!
By studying smoking and its involvement in your life, you should be able to replace nearly every aspect of smoking with some other activity. Keep your body and mind busy and you won’t miss cigarettes.
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