Divide and conquer: making changes to kick the butts

no smoking signAdapted from Wellness Works newsletter, an FCHP publication

Posted December 21, 2011

When you're trying to quit smoking, it's often not as easy as just throwing away the pack of cigarettes and never buying another one. Sometimes, to stop smoking we need to make other changes.

So you've picked your quit day and now you're faced with making some everyday habit changes.

Changing any behavior can be difficult, but when one behavior is consistently associated with another behavior, we can be in double trouble! Before trying to stop smoking, it can be helpful to examine your smoking behavior and look closely at the “where, when and why” behind the smoking.

For example, you may find that a cigarette is connected to your coffee cup, telephone or even your car steering wheel. These behavioral triggers can trick us into thinking we need to smoke—and on quit day those behaviors can really challenge our desire to quit.

Disconnect your daily habits from smoking

The only way to create new habits is to disconnect from the old. Eventually, the triggers that made you think "time for a cigarette" will disappear.

Before quit day:

  • Have your morning coffee but don't have your cigarette. Have the cigarette later if need be. But just not with the coffee.
  • Tell your smoking buddy that you need some space so you can quit.
  • Chew a piece of gum on an afternoon walk or your drive into work.
  • Take up a hobby that involves your hands.

After a week or two of dividing the smoking from all of the good stuff, go ahead and try to quit!

Get support

Most importantly, you don't have to do it alone. Ask for help. Join a support group. Find other people who are trying to quit and work at it together.

Keep trying until you get it. Many folks find it easier to conquer tobacco if they divide first. Good luck!

For more information on how to quit smoking, contact Fallon Community Health Plan’s Quit to Win at 1-508-368-9540 (toll-free: 1-888-807-2908).