Practice Makes Perfect

If you’re getting ready to quit, you should “practice” quitting now to get ready. In another post, I suggested keeping a quit journal, and one of the reasons is that it will help you plan ahead and develop an effective “practice quitting” plan. Here’s how:

Take a look through your quit journal and think about the patterns you see there: are there particular times of the day when you tend to smoke more than others? Is there a pattern to your moods when you smoke? Are there particular people, places, or situations in which you tend to smoke more than others?

Which Ones Will You Miss the Most?

Pay special attention to the cigarettes you noted as “must-haves” (or however you designated the ones that you “REALLY needed”); is there a pattern to the times of day, your mood, or the people, places, or situations associated with these “must-have” cigarettes?

Great! These are the ones we’re going to attack first.

Looking through your journal, figure out what your top 3 “must-have” cigarettes are, and then decide what you will do at those times, when you’re in that mood, or when you’re with those people, at that place, or in that situation, instead of smoking.

For instance, if one of your top 3 “must-have” cigarettes is first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up, you might plan instead to get out of bed, have breakfast and brush your teeth (this really helps) before you smoke it. Practice this for a week or so, and you’ll find that you’ve broken the connection between waking up and reaching for that first smoke of the day.

How It Played Out for Me

For me, one of my top 3 “must-haves” was with my morning coffee; I couldn’t imagine not getting up, brewing that first pot of coffee and smoking that first cigarette of the day… So, that’s where I started practicing: for the week before I finally quit, I would get up, have my morning coffee, brush my teeth, then step outside to have my first cigarette of the day.

It was easy to do, because I wasn’t “depriving” myself of that first cigarette, I was just putting it off for a few minutes. And when I finally did quit, I had no problems with monster craves hitting me while trying to enjoy my morning coffee like I had had in previous quits.

How to Make It Work for You

So, now, let’s get back to you: figure out what your top 3 “must-have” cigarettes are, plan what you’ll do instead of smoking them, and then practice your plan. And you can also use my sure-fire, patented, never-been-known-to-fail 2-step quit plan to practice quitting before you quit:

Whenever you get a crave, practice saying, “Not right now.” Just decide that you’ll wait 5 minutes before you cave in to the crave and light one up; you’ll be surprised how many cigarettes you end up not smoking just by doing this one thing.

Your Turn

What are your top 3 “must-have” cigarettes? What will you do now instead of smoking them? (If you’ve already quit and you kept a journal before you quit, what were your top 3 “must-have” cigarettes? And what did you do instead of smoking them?)

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