Self-reports of particular locations, activities, posture, consumption, social context, moods, and internal states were specifically associated with smoking. Real-time assessments in everyday situations provide useful information about the interplay of environmental factors and internal states in smoking. The findings suggest that conditioning and learning processes play a role in smoking and should be considered in smoking cessation programs. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 2002.
First we must make a diary/ journal.
This may seem like silly “new age” rubbish that only a few people do, but it works. Journals actually highlight certain areas where you can take action.
The most important steps are finding out when and why you reached for a cigarette.
TIP. You get a small pad of paper, fasten it to your pack of cigarettes with rubber bands. You have to remove the rubber bands to get the pad of paper out and write on it BEFORE you smoke that cigarette. You are monitoring your smoking habit. You are becoming aware of your smoking habit.
Write down the following 5 points diary:
1. When you actually smoke.
Most people nowadays can not smoke in buildings (apart from their homes) but even in homes smokers are sometimes pushed outside from repulsed family members. Again the habit and mindless nature of the issue can sometimes put you in certain places more than others.
A friend found out that he smoked when there was a stressful incident occurring, and at no other time. Because your mind is in automatic gear (remember the word mindlessly) you don’t realize sometimes what causes you to smoke, how you felt before and after you smoked. The stress level for my friend didn’t drop because the stressful issue was still there, the smoking didn’t do anything- it just took him away from the incident for a few minutes, and it was that that caused the relief, not the smoking.
Smoking has been found to be a drug that smokers believe subconsciously will alleviate the issue at hand. Unfortunately when the cigarette is put out and the issue is still present, then another one is lit…this might be the one to dull and to make sense of the issue.
2. How many cigarettes you are actually smoking to begin with.
How many is left within the pack, how many are left at the start and end of the day? Do you have to buy 2 packs/ day? Acknowledging the amount makes you acutely aware of the amount you smoke and how large the habit actually is. Now don’t lie to yourself because it helps no-one. Realistically, how many do you smoke?
This also figures out who you are…are you a light, medium or heavy smoker. A light smoker is having 1-2 cigarettes a day…whereas a heavy smoker has a pack+ per day (medium is in-between light and heavy). Now most people would not identify themselves as being a heavy smoker because they define a heavy smoker as a physical appearance (hacking cough, yellow everything, smells, dirty looking etc) rather than an amount person. Again, identification leads to understanding of your habit and a realization of where your habit is taking you…how long did it take you to go from light to heavy smoker?
3. When do you smoke?
Most habits are automatic, in other words they are done mindlessly, without thought. Now we want to make sure that your mind is on and so becomes mindful. Therefore track each time you smoke, physically note the time. This tells your brain that you are wanting to note something. Then figure out are you smoking more in the morning, evening, late night or just on breaks with other people? There comes a point when you will find that smoking becomes a routine at certain times of the day and at certain instances.
As a side note, what habits have come from smoking? My dad went through a routine every single time he smoked so that his clothes did not smell ours and he would have a bath as well…just to be sure. Some people wear separate clothes, gloves, and even carry around extra fragrance. Again habits come from a habit, and sometimes this is done mindlessly…it’s a routine that has become quite clever and adaptive…write it down. And then look at it and then identify and then remove the additional habits that are creeping into your life.
4. Time yourself smoking.
When you find a cigarette to when you put it out, time how long you smoke just one cigarette. At the end of the week, total up all the times periods when you smoked. A person who smokes just 5 cigarettes a day at 3 minutes per cigarette (which is quick) uses up 1 and 3/4 hours a week just smoking. In a month, they spend 7 hours smoking…and a year? 84 hours :)
5. Rank them.
Also rank the niceness of that cigarette- out of 10, was is really great (10) was is really bad (1) and rate in-between those…it’s not weird to do this. Also rank the need between 1 (not needed) to 10 (got to have one now). You may find that you smoke out of habit rather than need and most of the smokes are actually between 2-3- is that a hard habit to break?
Here is a basic journal table, it doesn’t have to be graphically a masterpiece, it just has to get the important 5 points down in a visually easy way. Tables are great for this:
In the above table a few things can be noted:
1. The person at 7:30 is smoking out of habit because their need is actually very low, it even isn’t a “good” cigarette to have.
2. At 8:20 the need for a cigarette is very different, they are smoking out of probable driving stress- as noted as well by the low rank.
3. The person is alone each time they smoked.
The diary idea is never silly and it shouldn’t be treated as such. It is vitally important and highlights an amazing amount of smoking facts that you might not have realized. Don’t lie in it though. Keeping track of smoking will even show if you are smoking more than you thought. If you miss a day, don’t fill in what you should have done, leave it for another day.
You may find that you have been smoking a little bit more that you actually thought. You may beat yourself up about this. But you can not say that you are a bad person, a loser for smoking…sometimes things just occur at the time that they occurred.
Self pity and loathing does nothing apart from making yourself feel terrible. There are plenty of people in the world that can do that for you. What you must feel is not WOW! I am on top of the world! But just…
Yes, I can do this,
It is going to be hard but it is possible especially when I have truly identified everything that I can and I have been truthful with myself.
When can you start breaking the addiction, today, tomorrow?
Addiction needs time to break and you need to provide that time. If you realized that your addiction comes from stressful situations or a hectic lifestyle, then are you ready to change that lifestyle so that you can break the addiction? If you don’t and you quit then the triggers that cause you to smoke in the first place are still there, tempting you to come back. Sometimes life readjustment needs to start before quitting does…hence why it is important to keep a journal/ diary of your habit.
Keep the diary handy as we shall reference it throughout our quitting process- so it is important!
Depression, time spent with urges to smoke, and difficulty not smoking during the first week of abstinence were significantly associated with lapse back to smoking during the second week. Psychological Medicine 1989.
This is important. As we have noted, habits grow out of habits and there are some things that you do automatically either whilst you are smoking, just before or just after.
You need to identify these automatic responses so that you don’t 1) trigger a smoking routine, 2) put yourself into a frame of mind to smoke and 3) to make smoking more uncomfortable- so that it doesn’t create a comfort zone.
1. Many people smoke with something in their other hand
Sometimes exclusively so. This then increases the smoking “experience”. When you smoke, see what you are doing with your other hand because one is usually attached with the other.
2. The feeling of smoking
For some it’s great, they enjoy it, some people in a weird way, need it- it is a hobby, nothing else to do. But for most, it can lead to guilty feelings because they just want another cigarette. This is OK, because you need to identify what you feel like after you have had a smoke- it actually defines the addiction.
3. An oldie but goldie- see how much money you are spending on cigarettes/ week.
You probably have a good guess- but again it needs to be written down for your brain to identify the issue. Most experts believe that if you stop then you can re-invest the money in something else. This rarely occurs because the money is coming from the “household budget”. If it doesn’t go to smoking then it will be used up on food/ bills etc. You always seem to find the money for an addiction and noting how much that money is can be quite telling. A neighbour of ours got food stamps and food baskets for Christmas, but they would spend $200/ month at a Casino…every month, not wondering why they didn’t have enough money for basic essentials.
4. What is noted is that smokers gang together,
Like they are in a tightly nit community. Sometimes smokers will talk more openly between each other than to other co-workers. It is this “community spirit” that smokers sometimes fear to stop. However, if you never smoked, would you be around these people more or less? Do you need smoking to interact with them…are they your only social group? If you can imagine a time when you don’t smoke and talk to the group…can you still talk to them?
5. Imagine what it would be like to be without cigarettes.
Now mind power is unbelievable…from great works of old to modern day best sellers, the mind governs everything that the body does…it creates images that we love and images that we hate depending on our mood.
Think And Grow Rich is an ultra successful book that states the important factors that you need to be successful. Napoleon Hill wrote it based upon 30 years of interviews with the most successful and non-successful people and asked the most simple question, what makes a successful and non-successful person? Today, most highly-successful people state that book as being their top book on how they go to where they are today.
The number 1 tip and the running theme throughout the whole book?
Is to believe in yourself and the goal that you want.
If you imagine yourself to be without cigarettes and you are craving, and crawling up the walls, that is just what you will be…I kid you not. People who do not believe in themselves end up achieving very little.
If you imagine that your goal without cigarettes is to be healthy and playing with your children in the local park then the mind associates good images with a certain word/ phrase. This is true when you ask someone about a fluffy bunny…warm images come over most peoples minds. The word association works because the mind has been trained and has focused on what some words mean to you. Cigarette free can mean a lot to you if only you tell your mind what you want it to be, and actually believe it yourself.
That is why we try and visualize various tasks- to write them down. It is not for fun. This really works because the brain identifies with what you are doing- it can not lie to what it sees.
The following below tables can help you visualize what smoking will mean to you. Think about what you are going to write, think about it clearly- literally even. Actually visualize you doing these things. The mind will recognize what you have done and what you need to do. Some people even put the paper on a monitor or someplace where they can see it daily and repeat it daily.
“For the past 33 years, I have looked into the mirror every morning and asked myself ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’”
(Steve Jobs, quoted in 2005 at Stanford University)
Steve was telling himself and actually bringing himself to order to accountability to his actions- just by talking to himself in the mirror. The mirror is not going to do anything it is not going to tell Steve that he is wrong. Steve is mentally preparing himself to subconsciously state “Hey am I doing good or poor? Come on let’s do something great”.
The power of the mind is an awesome power that very few like to acknowledge because they believe it is pure Hocus Pocus, but rest assured it is not.
So the first table is all about imagining your new self. What will you be, what will you look like?
You cough in the morning sometimes or get a little wheezy when you run too quick. Imagine a time without that. Yes some smokers get a cough when they quit smoking but that is because their lungs are starting to work again. Your lungs have a filtration system attached to them and when you smoke it neutralizes the filtration system, so it stops working. When you stop smoking the filtration system is back up and working and then starts to get rid of all the junk that was inhaled. You cough as a result which is a normal reaction as it is your body removing the junk from your lungs.
Not everyone can run and some shouldn’t. But imagine yourself walking down a nice country lane or across a nice summer field without wheezing. Imagine the day, imagine the place and imagine what you are wearing for that glorious summer day. You wheeze because Carbon Monoxide which is in the burning of the cigarette pushes out the Oxygen from your blood and so your body can not have Oxygen to use in metabolism- feeding it’s cells. So you feel lethargic, you feel like you can only go half way round…
Look at pictures now and when you didn’t smoke. Most smokers recognize that they have aged quickly but they also long for the time that they didn’t smoke. But again this is a mental image that can be achieved and the negative image removed with a positive image of a non-smoking you.
The second table recognizes that you can be mentally prepared to tackle new challenges, this is your goal setting table. You are making life changing decisions, so now what do you want to do with your life. Why are you wasting it? You know if you are or not. Why are you doing something you hate? Why are you down?
This table allows you to set yourself goals. So if you want to go to college to study Finance…write that down (why can’t you study Finance, who said you couldn’t, if that’s what you want to do you will find ways of achieving it- evening classes online courses?). If you want to be debt free, write that down.
Do you know that money that you calculated earlier...how much was it? $50/ month? Now imaging what you could do with that money? Still take it out of the bank (you did to buy the cigarette packs), but this time save it and use it for groceries or even a meal out once a month or even save it year round and use it for Holiday presents or even a small weekend trip away once a year. Oddly enough many non-smokers do not do this so you will be miles ahead of many other people and you will be starting to enjoy life.
The third and last table recognizes that you have goals but goals can easily be missed or even made up. This table makes you think about how to achieve the goals that you set in table 2.
Now again you need to be realistic. If you want to be debt free but don’t take on another job or resort your finances then that would be unrealistic because you are doing nothing to actually get to that goal. Achieving goals makes you think of a change, how family members can help you and what you need to actually achieve them.
If you realized in your diary that your needs are not truly met (and this is fortified with your goals) then you need to adjust and serve those basic needs first. Our basic needs are shelter, own time, food, sleep and work. If you do not have these properly aligned or catered for then you can not possibly provide them for someone else first and then create higher needs.
Many smokers live for other people before themselves without thinking about their personal needs, which is commendable but they have forsaken their own needs and made up for it by smoking. If you are working 12 hour shifts and then coming home to a family life and you need to be on demand then you life as a whole is going to take a beating. It can not be sustainable, so the cycle of smoking increases. That doesn’t mean to quit family life or even work :) but it does mean that some choices need to be met head on.
If you are working 12 hour shifts, is it because of financial issues? Usually yes, and then create a diary of where your money is disappearing to- including your smoking. Sometimes it can be the easiest of things to adjust; it just needs the will power to do so. We were paying $145/ month just for the TV combo. When we realized that we only watch 1-2 hours of TV a night, if that, we dropped the TV (with some moans and protests) and now we pay $75/ month (phone, basic TV and Internet).
We noticed that we talked more, did more stuff outside and we interacted more with our children. We have now saved $70/ month- a huge saving. And now we are planning to car share and drop the other car (with insurance and gas payments) and that will save hundreds per month. It can be done if you are willing to sacrifice things that in all honesty we do not need.
One person I know went through their home and realized that they didn’t use literally half the stuff that they had accumulated, they were keeping it for keeping it sake. So what they did was to go through with everybody in the household and figure out what they could remove within reason. They had a yard sale over the next few weeks and generated enough money to reduce some of their credit card debt.
One guy, because of credit card debt, sold his car (removing insurance and gas) and cycled to work. Someone else stored their car at home, removed insurance and did exactly the same thing. We kept our children home from day care once a week and saved $120/ month. We created a shopping list before we went shopping and found that each time that we did this our shopping bill reduced itself by $40.
There are ways around most problems which is much easier said than done. Sometimes you have to take a step back and see the bigger picture of what can be achieved with effort rather over a longer period of time than looking at the small closed in world that is suffocating you.1. Its Difficult To Quit Smoking7. So Far...The Best Treatment Methods Around