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How to Quit Smoking in Six Weeks
I Quit Smoking in Six Weeks - You can Too!
I stopped smoking on 26th August 1989. The reason I know the date so precisely is because that was part of the programme to give up smoking forever that I followed. Right up until that date I really didn't think I was going to stop - I only started the programme because a friend was doing it. I honestly just thought I was going through the motions.
However, I haven't touched a cigarette since that date. I still get the cravings sometimes, I think once you are addicted it never completely goes away, but I prevail. Incidentally, the friend who started it all still smokes - but then he's just a man - no willpower :) Only joking PC.
This is the story of how I did it in the hope it might help someone else to quit smoking for good. I'm not saying it is easy - but it IS possible.
What you need
- A wall calendar you can write on
- A notebook and pen
- A mouth freshening kit you can carry everywhere with you
THE PLAN, on how to stop smoking.
The premise of this method is multi-layered.
Increasing your own awareness, for example, identifying why you smoke including, what makes you pick up a cigarette at that exact time. What you get from it and what you don't. This is what the notebook is for. Every time you feel the craving for a cigarette I want you to write down why you feel you want one, what you get from it and what you don't. This is to get you started actively THINKING about smoking instead of blindly following the addiction.
Changing your habit. As well as an addiction, smoking is a habit - it is a learned behavour and if you learned it, you can unlearn it, or perhaps it would be better put, you can learn a NEW habit, that is, NOT smoking. One of my greatest motivations was how much I wanted to be able to turn down the offer of a cigarette with the words, 'I don't smoke'.
To change your habit, I am going to ask you to do two things: I am going to ask you to change the brand of cigarettes you use every week and I am going to ask you to wait a while when you get the urge to smoke. This gradually increases in time length until your final day.
Physically changing how your mouth feels. Partly this is increasing your awareness of how nasty your mouth feels as a smoker, but it is also an aid to cutting out cigarettes. If you go clean your mouth every time you feel you have to have a cigarette, the change in the feel of your mouth will discourage you from picking up the cigarette. It is a distraction with very positive physical effects, you are much less likely to smoke after you clean your teeth.
Week One on How to Stop Smoking
- On your wall calendar, pick out a date exactly six weeks from today and mark it in big red letters - STOP SMOKING DAY. This is going to be a day you celebrate for the rest of your life.
- In your notebook, jot down when you started smoking, can you remember why? Most of us did because others around us were doing so. I started smoking in the late 1960 when it was popular. Today it is much easier to stand out from the crowd and not start at all.
In this notebook I want you to write down every single cigarette you have from now on. Jot down the time, where you are, what you are doing - was it after a meal for example or when you were watching television. Can you identify why you wanted a cigarette at that particular time? Many people are surprised to find they smoke when they are bored. Also note how long you waited from the start of the craving to when you actually had a cigarette. Jot down if you enjoyed it, did it make you feel better, did it make your mouth feel wooly and anything else you can think of. In particular, if you think you smoke because you are nervous, did smoking that cigarette make you feel any better?, any more in control? Did it increase or decrease your idea of self-worth or self esteem?
- This week smoke your normal brand but also write down how much you spend on cigarettes over the week.
- Before you smoke a cigarette, clean your mouth. Brush your teeth if you can but at least suck on a breath freshener if you can't get to a bathroom.
- That't it! That is all I am asking you to do this week, but hopefully by the end of the week you will be much more aware, much more conscious about your habit.
Week Two: On your way to Stopping Smoking
- Change the brand of cigarette you normally use and write down the cost.
- This week, every time you have the urge to smoke, wait for 15 minutes before you light up. That's all, just 15 minutes, a quarter of an hour.
Cleaning your teeth will help reduce the craving and distract your mind too.
- Continue to note down every cigarette you have. Jot down the time the craving started, the time you took a cigarette, what you think made you want a cigarette and how did you feel afterwards.
Week Three: Halfway to Stopping Smoking
- Change to ANOTHER brand of cigarette - do NOT go back to your original brand. Write down how much it costs you this week.
- Every time you get the urge to smoke, wait for 30 minutes before lighting up. Clean your teeth, get up and walk around the room or just change your position.
- Continue to write in your notebook. Are you finding it easier or harder to wait before smoking? Has anything changed in how you feel about each individual cigarette you smoke?
Week Four in Stopping Smoking
- Change to another brand of cigarette. Do NOT use any of the brands you have already used. By this time you are probably getting to brands you wouldn't normally consider. Note down the price of your weekly cigarettes.
- Every single time you feel you must have a cigarette, check the time and wait for 45 minutes before you allow yourself one.
- Keep up your smoking journal.
Are you a smoker
Week Five in Your how to stop smoking programme
- Change to yet another brand of cigarette. Do NOT go back to either your original brand or any of the others you have been using over these past few weeks. Note down how much you spend.
- When you first feel the craving for a cigarette, note the time and wait for 1 hour before you light up. How are coping with that? Are you able to distract yourself for an hour, knowing there is a reward at the end of it? What helps in the interim?
Week Six: Your very last week as a smoker!
- Change to ANOTHER brand of cigarette. How about a very low tar one or menthol if that is not yyour usual brand?
- Every time you feel you want a cigarette, note the time and wait for 1 & half hours before you allow yourself one.
Has it become easier? Even it you feel it hasn't, persevere.
- Continue to jot down notes in your journal. Go back and read what you have written in the weeks before.
On the final day, tot up how much the cigarettes have cost you over the last six weeks.
Now divide it by 6 and multiply by 52 to find out how much your are going to save over the next year.
If you really want an incentive, continue to put away that exact amount of money for a year and treat yourself to something very special on the anniversary of your STOP SMOKING DAY.
- Before you go to bed on the last night - take all your cigarettes, lighter and matches and throw them out in the garbage bin, OUTSIDE.
you are now a