The first step is to quit smoking, but what is your plan if you start again? There are some fine sayings about plans.
“Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” General Patton
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the head.” Mike Tyson
A plan never survives contact with the enemy “military saying”
A cigarette is not really a punch to the head, but it’s a direct blow to your lungs and your life. And smokes really are the enemy.
A plan to remain a non-smoker will go up in smoke if you let yourself drink too much. I have had clients who have no idea at what point in the evening they smoked, just that they could smell and taste it in the morning.
In every case a friend gave them a cigarette and lit it for them, and then they were off to the races.
With every client I require them to start planning their strategies to remain a non-smoker, in their most common previous smoking situations. Whether that be in their home, work or socialising.
The two most plan worthy situations are where alcohol is involved or significant stress occurs. The first will involve specific drinking limitations or a drinking buddy who will ensure no one offers you a smoke once you are past making a rational decision.
High stress situations are another matter. The planning needs to be in advance. e.g. remind yourself regularly that smoking doesn’t help stress. In this case avoid getting punched altogether.
Next create a reminder phrase or have a clear process to stop your self from having a cigarette when the stress occurs. It could be as simple as counting to ten. Count to 100 if you have to, because no stress is worth starting smoking again.
Over the past 15 years a few clients have started again at the funeral of someone close to them. Of course a packet didn’t suddenly materialise in their pocket, a smoker offered them a smoke, because they had the mistaken belief that smoking helps stress, and wanted to help a friend.
Or in so many cases the smoker just wanted the company of another smoker and lured them back to cigarettes, not knowing or caring if they had just derailed another person’s efforts to be healthy.
My best advice is to make a list of the most common places and situations where you smoke, or are likely to smoke and then do some advance planning to manage each of those and review the list regularly after you quit.
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