Step 4 is when you pick your become a non-smoker date. Sounds simple and it can be of course, but I wanted to share a few thoughts about this step to help you choose. If you’d rather just pick a date and be done with it. Do that now and move on. For those who would like to hear how and why I picked my date, read on.
Up to this point you have done some very important things, Step 1: recognized your reasons for wanting to give up smoking, developed positive statements to help you get excited about those things no longer being part of your life when you do become a non-smoker. Telling yourself these positive statements many times a day, especially when you are smoking. Step 2: Identifying the stories or BS that you have told yourself in the past to either not quit or to go back to smoking when you do quit. Step 3: You have thought about what you will use to replace smoking when you are a non-smoker. Now its time for step 4, picking the date when you will become a non-smoker.
You can make this date a momentous occasion if you like. Let me explain. I chose my mothers birthday as my become a non-smoker day. It happened to be the only event coming up within the next few months, so at the time I just thought, why not? It was also 1999 and I know that because the upcoming millennium was one of my motivators. There was no way I wanted to go into the new millennia as a smoker. It sounds silly now, but to me it felt like a tipping point, in addition to where I was at in life. If you want to learn more about this go to the page where I describe my journey.
Now that its 19 years later I’m very glad I did choose a meaningful day and year. It really is very helpful, in a number of ways. First it helps me remember the date that I became a non-smoker. While my mother was alive it helped me remember her birthday and gave me an opportunity to celebrate both events and look back with wonder on being a smoker and not being able to imagine any other lifestyle. Now that my mother is no longer alive, it reminds me of my mother. Those are just reasons why I appreciate having chosen a meaningful date, that and in looking back I think that it did deepen my commitment somewhat to have the date be a meaningful one.
Depending on where you are in this BAN process, picking your date may be no big deal or something you want to give some thought to before committing to any particular date. If you’ve been acting on step 1 for a while, you may be feeling like its about time you picked the become a non-smoker date because you can’t wait for it. If you are just reading through the steps before getting started and kind of neutral on whether or not you will be successful, or if you even believe this model will work for you, then the thought of picking a BAN date may cause a feeling of trepidation, or maybe even a stronger negative feeling. No worries, I’m going to give you an out. If you reach the date you have set for yourself and you are feeling like there is no chance you’re going to succeed or you feel like the date is looming over you and you dread its arrival, you can move the date and continue (or start) to really invest time and energy into step 1. I will caution you to not use this as an excuse to just put off becoming a non-smoker. The intent here is to give you more time to use step 1 until you feel like you have a very good shot at success. If you really use step 1 as intended and do it as directed; multiple times a day (especially when smoking) you will tell yourself your reasons for wanting to be a non-smoker until you retrain your subconscious to accept it. Remember that you telling yourself the reasons in a positive way. So rather than, “I smell like an ashtray” you will say to yourself, “I can’t wait until I no longer smell like an ashtray, its going to be great” or “I can’t wait to be healthier, to breath easier, to feel better. It’s going to be awesome!” When you’ve done this for a while you will start to feel like you do want to be a non-smoker and can’t wait for it to happen, you will look forward to your become a non-smoker date. Or at least not be dreading it.
When choosing your BAN date I suggest that you give yourself at least a month after starting to incorporate step 1 into your routine. You can pick your date as soon as you begin using step 1, but make it a date about a month in the future from the time you start the positive self-talk. I also suggest you mark the date on the calendar or enter it into your electronic calendar and tell people about it. Maybe just people you live with for now and/or that you work with. You are going to want them to know about and to support you in becoming a non-smoker. More about the support people in step 5.