Friday, June 13, 2014

How to Make a Plan to Quit Smoking

Imagine you are at your doctors office and he just told you that you have to stop driving a car. It's bad for your health and if you continue you risk disability and/or death. You must stop today!

Did you just go into a total panic? You might be thinking, "But how am I going to get home from here? How to I go to work tomorrow? Or take the kids to soccer practice? Or go grocery shopping?

The thought of never being able to drive again might just cause you to rebel, go into denial and ignore your doctors advice. You might tell yourself, "It's too hard. I've been driving for too long to change. I might be one of the lucky ones. Bad things happen to other drivers but not to me."

But if you had six months to make a plan on how to use other forms of transportation, you could do it. You might get a bus schedule and map out the routes to work, the grocery store and the mall. You might ask coworkers if you can car pool with them and a neighbor if you can tag along to the grocery store.

You discover there is a wide variety of modes of transportation and you have options: planes, trains, buses, bicycles, skates, unicycles, skateboards, walking, motorcycles, scooter, boats, ships, canoes, rick-shaws, tuk-tuks, horseback, helicopters, cable cars, tramways, funiculars, sailboats, yachts, elevators, ski-lifts, escalators, chauffeured limousine and even a spaceship.

Not all of these options may apply to your particular situation but you do have options. You might need a different option for every time you used to drive a car but by getting creative it can be done; and what works for someone else might not work for you. It might not be easy but not impossible.

Quitting smoking is exactly the same. If you had to quit today, what would you do? Would you go into a panic because you don't have a plan on how to have your cup of coffee without a cigarette? Or what to do at break-time? You might need a different idea for every one of your cigarettes.

Here is an except from my book, "How to Win at Quitting Smoking" which you can get a free copy just by signing up for my blog. This is how to break your smoking habit BEFORE you quit:

Activity: Make a smoking corner, away from all household activities, -- someplace you do not normally go and only smoke there. It could be the side of the house, by the garbage cans or in a corner of the garage. Don’t make it someplace you enjoy going to, but someplace you do not like and do not spend time there.
Even if you already smoke outside, like on the patio or porch, find someplace new. After you quit smoking, you want to be able to go to this place without it triggering a craving to smoke. Change the place where you used to smoke to a new relaxation corner where no smoking is allowed. Practice your relaxation techniques there and/or use this area to work on your Action Plan.
Smoke by the clock. Do not smoke whenever you want to but instead let the clock dictate when you smoke. Choose a time schedule so you smoke often enough to not have strong withdrawals or cravings. Smoking a pack a day is one cigarette every hour; 10 cigarettes a day is every two hours; two packs a day is every half hour. If you do not feel the need to smoke when it is your time to smoke, you don’t have to, but you can’t have another cigarette until it is your next time to smoke.
Do not try to cut down -- the purpose is to learn new behaviors while your brain is still calmed by smoking and to break your old associations.
When it is your “time” to smoke, go to your smoking corner, stand (unless you have a physical challenge) and smoke. In your smoking corner, do not do anything else except smoke. Do not take your coffee with you. Do not take your cell phone. Do not listen to your iPod. Do not leave a window open and watch TV. Do not talk to others. The purpose is not to multi-task when you smoke but to give yourself time to be conscious of what you are doing. By separating your smoking behavior from your other behaviors, you are “breaking your habit”.
After you have smoked a cigarette, go back into the house and go about your normal activities. Have a cup of coffee or watch television. See how it feels to be doing this activity without smoking. It might feel weird but that is normal. Remind yourself that this strange feeling is just a thought about smoking and not a physical craving.
Stop Smoking in your car. If you are driving when it is your “time” to smoke, pull over to a safe area and get out of your car to smoke.
Do not smoke with other people. If your work place has a designated smoking area, do not go there to socialize with your fellow smokers, but only go there at your time to smoke; do not get distracted by talking to other smokers. Leave as soon as the butt is put out. 

For more good ideas to break your habit sign up for my blog in the right hand column and receive a FREE copy of "How to Win at Quitting Smoking".

No comments: