January 7, 2010

Quit smoking 5 cigarettes at a time.

Two nights ago, I ran across an article written for DivineCaroline.Com. This website is geared toward women, but men can lurk if they want. Let's just say, I am comfortable with my estrogen levels enough to visit a site made for women.

Anyway, the article was a lament about this person's failed New Year's Resolutions, one being to quit smoking after 22 years. She mentioned all the pills and prescriptions she had tried in the past, without success. Here's the idea I shared that involved no pills, no cold turkey, and hopefully little withrawal.

(1)To quit any habit you know is bad for you, starts by admitting its bad. If you don't believe smoking is harmful to you, you won't quit.

(2)The next step is taking an evaluation of your current smoking habits. Figure up how many cigarettes you smoke in one week? Now, make a chart with 3 columns and 52 rows. Put tomorrow's date in the first column. Date the following rows with a subsequent week. At the top of the second column, write down how many cigarettes you smoke in one week. Now, in each subsequent rows, subtract 5 cigarettes per week until you run out of cigarettes. So if you smoke 140 cigarettes per week, by week 28 you should be almost done smoking. If you smoke 280 per week, by week 52 you should be almost done smoking. Now in the third column, write down how many cigarettes you actually smoked during that previous week. This is most important column to fill up, and the most time consuming. You will have figure out how to keep track this part. One way to look at this last column is to see it as your acheivement chart. Week after week, you will begin to see that you can break this habit. If you fail one week, don't sweat it, just get back to the goals you set for yourself.

Here's basically how the chart should look when you get it set up.

Here's a blank chart if you don't want to create your own.

(3)Probably as important as any other step is to share this goal with someone you trust, someone who will hold you accountable. Find someone who will ask you once a month, "are you keeping with your goal". Having someone come alongside you and challenge you can be the final push toward quitting this nasty habit.

(4)Go acheive your goals.

This approach is designed to create an incremental decrease in your bad habit. Eliminating 5 cigarettes a week will be noticable over time, but should be doable, and hopefully the withdrawals will be manageable. Keep this chart in your pocket, or on your fridge, or on your mirror. Don't wait until the end of each week to eliminate your smokes...boy, you will grumpy if you do. Pick one cigarette a day and say to yourself..."this is the one I'm NOT going to smoke."


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