Congratulations on making the decision to become a non-smoker! I will lay out step 1 for you in this post and the rest of the steps in other posts. In additional posts I will also explain some of the rationale for the steps in the model and why it works. You don’t need to read the explanatory posts to successfully use the program, they are just additional information for those who have doubts or would like to understand why it works. But if you are prepared to trust in this program and follow the instructions for working through the model it will work for you. So, let’s get started.
STEP 1: LIST REASONS FOR WANTING TO BECOME A NON-SMOKER
Step 1: We will start by examining why you want to give up smoking. Now you may think, duh, who doesn’t want to give up smoking. That is true, it is unlikely that there are many smokers out there who are thrilled to be addicted to cigarettes. But what I want you to focus on here are your personal reasons, because these reasons will vary from person to person. On a big picture level, we are all aware of the health risks and the many reasons why nobody should smoke tobacco, but there are usually other, more personal, reasons why people decide to take the plunge and quit. We just don’t usually think about those, so I’m asking you here to really give it some thought and to list the things that bother you about smoking on a day to day basis. The important thing in this step is to note tangible reasons, not things that might happen, like emphysema or cancer. Although, if those are the only motivating factors they will be the reasons you will use in this model.
In my case, the list included: the smell, the cost, the shortness of breath I was beginning to experience when exerting myself and lack of control I felt around smoking. Being a control freak that lack of control was a big one. I felt like being addicted to smoking was akin to having a monkey on my shoulder who would tap me on the head every so often to remind me to feed it nicotine and I was helpless to deny it or brush it off.
Those were my particular reasons for wanting to be a non-smoker. What are yours? Write them down and then write a positive sentence for each one. By this I mean that you will take that negative reason and word it in a way that it is something you look forward to getting rid of when you become a non-smoker. For instance, “I can’t wait to become a non-smoker and smell better” or, “It will be so awesome to breathe easier when I become a non-smoker.” Try to word it as positively as possible and of course tie it happening to the act of becoming a non-smoker. You can then write your reasons on sticky notes and paste them around in the places you tend to smoke or you could attach it directly to your cigarette package. You want these reasons to be available to you every time you light up over the next month or so. Again, try to come up with reasons that are tangible, things you will notice immediately when you are no longer smoking. For instance, the horrible smell will disappear immediately when there is no longer smoke or ashtrays around. If you are having trouble breathing, like I was, you will notice an improvement within a very short time. The money you save will be another thing you will see immediately, even if you are paying for smoking cessation aids (many are free these days depending on where you live). Those are just some examples, you need to come up with reasons that have meaning for you.
That is step 1.