The 7 Step Program to Quit Smoking

 

We have decided and committed to never smoke again. Our choice will give us more freedom, less anxiety, and a higher quality of life.

It may be hard for the first few days, but we are a united family of women and men who, together, will succeed. There will be rough times ahead, but better days will come.

We’ve learned to deal with our feelings and emotions. We have eliminated our smoking habit and will never smoke another cigarette again!

The only way to heal ourselves is by healing others

This program is made to help smokers quit their habit. I truly believe that we can only overcome our problems by helping others deal with the same problem.

This is one of the greatest changes that happened in my life. After quitting smoking, I’ve been able to change other habits, and to pursue my goals.

My behaviors are the choices I’ve decided to make. In contrast, my behaviors used to be a consequence of my addiction. Your freedom is the ability to choose what you do, and not to blindly obey your habits. This small difference makes a huge impact on your mindset.

I’m very happy that you are here. Allow me this opportunity to motivate you to change your habits. A life without cigarettes is possible. There is a solution.

I smoked for 17 years. I tried unsuccessfully to quit three times before. One day I decided to try again. I made a plan, I quit smoking, and since that day, I’ve not smoked a single cigarette.

It all started with a trip to Australia. You can find the story of how I quit smoking here.

Quitting smoking had such a profound and beautiful impact on my life that I decided to create a 7-step program to help others to quit too.

I’ve been to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, I’ve talked with drug addicts, and other smokers, I’ve investigated the science of habits and addictions. I wanted to learn more about why we smoke and how we can change our habits.

My goal here is to help you change your mindset so you can change your habits. Smoking is a deadly long-term habit, but it can be changed. Simple changes will allow you to rewrite old habits.

This program is 100% free, and it’s for you. Read it, use it! You will not need to buy any equipment, programs or services.

If you find it helpful, please recommend and share it to help others to quit smoking. Only by healing others we can heal ourselves.

I’ve included stories and testimonials of other people who have followed this program, although their identities are not revealed.

7 Step Program to Quit Smoking

 

the 7 step program to quit smoking ebook smaller cover by diogo palma copy

Intro

“I started smoking when I was 14 years old. I smoked around 18 cigarettes per day, for 13 years. I didn’t like to work out or cook; I just ate fast food. I was fat and I couldn’t lose weight.  I quit smoking two years ago. I’ve found joy and a beautiful reward in preparing and serving my own cooked food to my family, friends and myself.
Today, I don’t enjoy McDonalds or any other junk food. Fast food makes me feel bloated and drains my energy straight after eating. I have and also eliminated sugar from my diet and, as a result, I’ve lost weight.
After I quit smoking, I realized that I am able to change and rewrite other habits and replace them with healthier, more rewarding behaviors.”

The problem with quitting smoking is not the nicotine addiction

Like any other drug addiction, the problem is not the chemical dependency. The biggest problem is changing a habit we’ve been doing for months or years, which is a response to a vast array of different situations.

We’ve used cigarettes to deal with frustration; to try to find peace during tense moments; to find clarity in messy moments; to find hope in sad situations; to celebrate with friends; to avoid conversations; to suppress appetite.

Countless different situations can be used as an excuse to light a cigarette.  These habits are perpetuated for a long period of time.

The aim of this program is to rewrite your smoking habits. That’s the big challenge; your cravings are your worst enemy.

Today you will learn how make your cravings run out of fuel, and how to replace smoking with more rewarding habits.

1st Step – Admit your addiction

We can’t manage cigarettes. We can’t smoke only once in a while. Once we start smoking, we only stop when we go to sleep. It’s the same story the next day, and the next, and the day after that.

We are smokers and that’s our addiction; we admit it!

No guilt; you’re not alone. But, there IS hope, there IS a solution. Just like other men and women who have found their way to stop smoking, you can too.

The first step is to admit that you have an addiction. You are an addict and you can’t manage cigarettes. Once you smoke one cigarette, there’s no way for you to stop.

“I can reduce”, “I can smoke just a few”, “Just one today because I’m very stressed”. Don’t let your cravings fool you again. Millions of other people have said those same words, and most have failed to quit and continue to smoke.

You’ve tried to stop several times with no success. You’ve always got excuses, but the day always starts and ends with the same frustration: The need to obey and serve your addiction.

This addiction is costing you your health, as well as your hard-earned money. Then there is the frustration of being unable to stop, and the constant pressure to smoke. It’s an endless loop of unwanted behaviors, of constantly craving another smoke.

Admit your addiction; there’s no weakness in that. In fact, it’s the opposite! You’ll feel stronger by looking the problem right in the eye. There’s one solution, and that is complete abstinence. You will never smoke another cigarette again.

“ I smoked my first cigarette when I was 15, and I smoked for 13 years. I failed several times to quit. I was afraid of failing again, so I decided to give up quitting and be a smoker for all my life. That was until I decided to follow the 7-step program. Starting with the first step, I admitted my addiction. It sounded too harsh to say “I’ve got an addiction” but the truth is that while I can have only one beer and stop, I can’t have one cigarette and stop.
I’ve not smoked for a year and half. But, I still have a smoking addiction. If I smoked a cigarette today, I will certainly end up smoking again. As hard as it can be to admit you’ve got an addiction, it’s also a big relief. I felt humble, and finally saw my smoking for the serious problem it was.
I realized that, if I really wanted to quit, I had to accept and commit honestly with myself. I would never smoke another cigarette again. Abstinence is the only solution. From that day until today, I’ve never smoked another cigarette.”

2nd Step – Why we smoke

I would like you to create a journal. In it, you will write all your feelings, emotions, struggles, and whatever other thoughts are on your mind.

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This is a journal written by you and for you only. Start right now. Use your laptop, or a sheet of paper. Whether you use a pen or a keyboard, be honest. Uncover and then write about the reasons that you smoke.

It doesn’t need to be well written, or make any sense. The most important thing is that you are honest. Write down the things that make you light a cigarette. Start with the first idea that comes into your mind, and more words will follow.

This is a conversation with yourself. Don’t worry; nobody will ever read this. Take your time. Unload all your thoughts. Let go of your emotions. Release all your feelings through the pen and onto the paper.

If you feel like you have to confess to something, then do it. If you feel like crying, do it. Once you start, you’ll open a stream of feelings and emotions. Use it to let things go.

This will be the first page of your journal. It’s the first chapter of the story of how you quit smoking for good. And more days and pages will soon follow.

More than 14 years of smoking and I’ve never thought about the reasons that made me light a cigarette. Of course, there were cigarettes I enjoyed, but those were few and far between. The others were smoked in automatic mode. I never asked myself why I smoked until I started with this program.
After some time thinking about it, I realized that I used cigarettes to avoid certain social conversations. To avoid awkwardness in social events, like when you are alone in a party, because your friend hasn’t arrived yet. You find yourself surrounded by people you don’t know. When I didn’t know what to say in a conversation, I often just went outside to smoke and avoid an awkward silence.
Smoking cigarettes helped me to run from these situations. But it never really helped teach me to overcome these situations. It never really helped. When I quit smoking, I had to deal with awkward social situations. It was way easier than I expected. I couldn’t use the smoking excuse to run out or to avoid them. I had to face these situations head on. I’ve since learned that I don’t need to feel embarrassed, like I was before. I’m not afraid of these social interactions anymore.

Daily journal

From the day you quit smoking, I would like you to dedicate a few minutes every day to write how you feel about not smoking. Note down any benefits you have noticed, how you feel, how your emotions are, your energy levels, your breathing, how food tastes, etc.

I usually do it in the morning, right after my alarm clock goes off.  I get my phone and create a note with today’s date, and then start writing. I do it every day in the morning. Pick the time that best works with you, but make sure you do it.

Weekly Journal

As well as my quick daily journals, I also write a longer, weekly journal too, usually on Sundays. I get my laptop, a cup of coffee, and I write how I feel. I write about by my frustrations, the happy moments, the struggles, my victories, and my failures. This is the time to clear your mind and let your thoughts run free on paper.

After doing this, my mind is clearer, and the weight on my shoulders disappears. I felt much better about myself, and about other people too.

Cravings come and go

“ On my third day of not smoking, I went to a bar. I was trying to avoid drinking alcohol and being surrounded by smokers, but I couldn’t run away from my social life and my friends forever. I got a taxi and headed out to meet my friends at a bar in Melbourne. After a couple of sips of my beer, my cigarette cravings were screaming. I had felt this before at home on previous days. I was prepared and I knew exactly what to do. I went to the toilet and I washed my face. I repeated to myself “You can smoke if you want but you choose to quit smoking. Never smoking again is better than any cigarette.”

I looked at myself in the mirror and I believed I could do it. That was a stressful moment; my cravings were screaming for just one more smoke. But I believed that better moments would come. Cravings come and go.
I went back to my friends. Some of them were already outside smoking, and I stayed inside with the ones who didn’t smoke. I told them that I decided to quit smoking. They asked me how hard it was. I was totally honest, telling them that, right in that moment, I could kill for a smoke, but I had chosen not to, as I had decided never to smoke again.

I ended up having a few more beers and arrived home a little bit drunk. I went straight to bed. When I woke up, I was a little bit hungover, but I could breathe easily and my throat wasn’t all dried out and itching. And I didn’t stink of stale cigarette smoke – one of the worst smells in the world!
I felt very proud of myself. I was able to have a few beers in a bar with my friends, and I didn’t smoke. I was very happy with my decision.

I wrote about this small but simultaneously huge victory in my journey.

3rd Step – Decide to Quit

We have decided that smoking doesn’t add any value to our lives. Instead, it only decreases our quality of life and costs us a lot of money. We have trouble playing sports or doing intense exercise. We have lost part of our senses, like smelling or tasting food.

Smoking reduces our freedom. Long plane trips are painful due to our smoking addiction.

We don’t get any pleasure from most of the cigarettes we smoke. We only do it because we feel there’s no other way. But there’s a solution, and today we decided to quit smoking. Today we will not smoke, and tomorrow is a new day.

“It was Tuesday, the 10th of January, around 9 a.m. I was having breakfast, and getting ready to work from home. While going through my emails and drinking my morning coffee, I realized that I was out of cigarettes. I had to walk around 15 minutes to go and buy a pack. I didn’t feel like wasting all that time. I had been reading and trying so hard to motivate myself to quit and, right at that moment, I decided to never smoke again.
Instead of wasting half hour to buy a packet of smokes, I decided to use that time to write about my decision. I wrote about my fears, how I felt, and my mood. I wrote too abut how I felt about my smoking addiction. It got very emotional. I took all those emotions and put them out in the world. It felt so good. I felt so relieved, and so much more relaxed and motivated to start working and not thinking about smoking.”

Step 4 – Change your brain by changing the habit

You can’t shut down a habit, but you can rewrite it.

If we recognize our existing habits, we can change them and create new ones.

Accept the cravings and urges; don’t suppress them.

Take a moment, sit down, and close your eyes. Listen the cravings yelling for a cigarette. Realize how your peaceful attitude will slowly weaken these urges and the cravings, just like clouds, will start to go away.

Cravings are like clouds in the sky; they come and go. Miles above you in the sky, they don’t have any way to affect you.

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Write down the five top things that makes you smoke. It may not be that easy, but it’s really important that you do this. Make an effort to identify what makes you reach for a cigarette.

Examples: These were my top triggers for smoking:

  1. Under pressure
  2. Uncomfortable social situations
  3. Bored
  4. Sadness
  5. Frustration
  6. Anxiety
  7. No time to eat

Use your smartphone and create a note. Write your top reasons for smoking. Or, get an index card and write them down there. If you use the index card, remember to carry it with you, along with a pen.

Every time you have the urge to smoke, make a check mark next to the trigger you felt. If what you felt is not written on the note, add it and place a check mark next to it.

As you always carry your phone with you, this should not be a problem.

Right after, while the craving is still strong, and depending where you are, I would like you to do one of the following behaviors instead:

  • Drink water
  • Brush your teeth
  • Eat fruit you like
  • Put headphones and listen to music that makes you feel happy
  • Go to the toilet and wash your face
  • 3 Pushups

Cravings and urges will come and go at different moments of the day. Of course, you can’t do pushups if you are on the street or in a bar. So, we have different behaviors to use when you feel those cravings. The key is to replace your normal reaction – cravings – with an alternative. Given time, you will create new, better habits.

Examples include:

At a bar – Go to the toilet and wash your face / Drink a glass of water

At a bar when your friends go out for a smoke – Stay inside, go to the toilet and wash your face

In a restaurant – Go to the toilet and wash your face / drink some water / eat some fruit after your meal / have a coffee
At work – Drink water / eat some fruit / put on your headphones and listen to music makes you feel happy / brush your teeth / no-sugar gum

On the street – Drink Water / listen to a music that makes you feel happy / grab an apple or a banana / no-sugar gum

At home – Do 3 push-ups / do some cleaning / drink water / eat fruit / meditate / brush your teeth / no-sugar gum / stretching exercises

In the car – Place coins in your ashtray / listen to music that makes you feel happy / no-sugar gum / drink a bottle of water

For Insomnia – grab a book; I’ve got recommendations for you later…

“Cravings are constantly there. As you give them more attention they will get stronger. But if you ignore them, they will eventually go away. While working, when I had tough decisions to make, my cravings started to yell inside my head. In the beginning, I thought I couldn’t think clearly about what decision to take if I couldn’t go for a smoke. Soon after, I realized that smoking was, in fact, just an excuse for not making a decision. When I was smoking, I always used to smoke a cigarette or two just before making this kind of decision. But, smoking never really helped me to make up my mind. In fact, it only delayed the decision making process. It delayed my natural fear of failing. Fear was my smoking trigger.

Important decisions are not easy to make. They all come with consequences, and sometimes it’s very hard or even impossible to know which decision is best for you or your business. But smoking does not make the decision-making process easier, better or smoother. It’s only a procrastinating tool, like going to your Facebook feed, or watching some YouTube videos. It merely delays the unavoidable. As smoking did not help to solve my problems, I decided to try a different behavior. I picked some music that makes me feel good and relaxed and I listened to it a few times in a row. While listening, I concentrated deeply on the problem and found a different perspective which lead to better solutions. Doing this helped much more than smoking.

Another time, I was working at home and I had to made a difficult phone call. I had to tell to one of the guys from our team that the work he had done was not good enough. He is a good guy, but I couldn’t accept or support such a substandard work.
I knew the guy would feel very bad and sad, so I didn’t know how to start the call. I immediately thought about smoking a cigarette to help give the courage to call him. I thought twice about it, and soon realized that I would feel exactly the same after smoking. I was just trying to delay making the call. Instead, I went to the kitchen and cleaned all the dishes and cutlery that were in the dishwasher.

I wiped the floor and, when I felt the kitchen was much cleaner than before, I felt much more relaxed and ready to deal with the situation because I’d done something much more constructive and rewarding than smoking. I picked up the phone and slowly explained the situation. He was sad, but I was so calm while explaining the problem that the conversation went very smoothly and without any drama or negative feelings.

Step 5 – Anticipate cravings with Behaviours

This is how willpower becomes a habit: by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives.” by Charles Duhigg from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

The hardest problem we face when quitting smoking are the cravings. A couple of hours after your last cigarette, you know your cravings will be all over you just for another smoke.

You ignore the cravings, and they go away. But, after a couple of minutes or hours, they are back. This are not easy moments, but we have solutions and, as always, it will get easier.

We all face difficult situations when we feel that smoking will make things easier. Examples include: job interviews, school/college exams, difficult friends/family conversations, difficult work meetings, etc.

We normally know when these situations are coming – often a long time in advance. They are on your calendar, or part of your daily or weekly routine.

So, find a way to be prepared so you can do something other than smoke when cravings arrive.

Make sure you have prepared yourself for the questions you’ll face in your interview. Revise properly for your exams. Anticipate and rehearse the difficult conversation with your family or friends. Practice getting your point across, calmly and without losing your temper.

By anticipate these stressful moments, by being better prepared, you will experience less stress, less worry, less nervousness, and that removes many of the common triggers to smoke.

Planning a solution for difficult moments will help you to overcome and better deal with stress.

During stress, our thoughts often get foggy, and that makes it harder to make decisions. Smoking cravings will add yet more stress so your brain can only think about smoking. But, if we can anticipate and are prepared, it is possible to react differently and make better and more rewarding actions.

In Step four, you listed some actions that you can do to help you overcome and ignore the urges for a cigarette. We are all different, so some behaviors and actions may work well for some people but less well for others. Understanding this, make sure you try different behaviors to learn what works best for you.

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In this step, I would like you to answer the following question: What I will do when I feel the urge to smoke?

Take a few minutes and find an answer to this problem.

By anticipating your cravings, you will know exactly what to do when they strike. This will make it much easier to resist temptation.

You will also learn what behaviors are the best way for you to deal with the urges to smoke and that help you ignore the cravings. The answer is different for everyone.

Remember: Cravings come and go. Most of the time, a simple alternative action is all you need to overcome a craving. After it’s passed, you’ll forget all about it and can continue with what you were doing. When times are tough, always remember that happier moments will soon follow. You just need to do one thing – do something, anything, other than smoke!

Step 6 – Every day is a victory

Another day has ended with you not smoking, and a new day is ahead of you. Quitting smoking is about not smoking every day so every day is a victory. Never undervalue this; it’s a huge reward!

Take a moment, get your daily journal, and write about your victory. How do you feel about it? What are your emotions and your thoughts?

Share these victories with a friend.

Be proud of yourself. You’re going in the right direction. Believe in yourself. And remember; things will only get better and easier.

I used to smoke around 20 cigarettes a day, every day, for 13 years. I tried to reduce, tried to quit, but I never managed to deal with the anxiety of not smoking. My cravings were always stronger than my willpower. I always felt weak when trying to deal with cravings. But, once I started the program, I realized that the cravings could only affect me if I allowed them to. I was the one who gave power to the cravings. If I simply ignored them and didn’t give them any attention, the cravings would go away. And it worked. Instead of fighting a craving, I simple felt it, and did something else instead. My cravings got weaker and weaker every day. It wasn’t a matter of strength; it was the choice of not paying attention to the urges. This was a huge change of mindset.

I counted every day I wasn’t smoking. I celebrated every victory with happy music during my morning drive to work. I wrote about how I felt so proud for not smoking one day after 13 years of heavy daily smoking.

If one day seems nothing, think about this: in one day, I changed my habit of smoking every day to listening to music instead, and that truly made me feel happier. One day is a lot, and two days is even more. Every day without smoking is a happier day.

Step 7 – Believe

I and a thousand women and men like me have been smokers for more than 17 years. Just like you, we are human. We don’t have superpowers or any special skill that you do not have. We all have one special thing in common; we all believe that we can live without smoking. We all believe that you, like all people, can give up smoking if you make that choice and commit to it.

We all believe that you, like all people, can give up smoking if you make that choice and commit to it.

I might not be easy; there will be stressful days, days of sadness, days of frustration. I’ve had nightmares where I dreamed I was smoking and woke up thinking I’ve failed. Not smoking will play on your mind.

But, you must remember that better days will come. You have the power to  give up and never smoke again.

Today we will not smoke, and tomorrow is a new day.

We not only believe in ourselves, but we also believe in everybody that reaches out to us for help. We are a group. We are a family. We help others who, like us, want to enjoy a life without smoking. We are always there for those who seek us out and ask for help.

We share, we love, and we always believe that we will not smoke today.

It’s been around one month since I quit smoking. There were stressful days, there were days where everything seemed to go wrong. There were moments when it’s hard or even impossible to ignore the urges to smoke. It’s a constant pressure for just a one cigarette, or even just one puff. Some days, I felt like giving in and admitting defeat. There seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. But, I knew these days would come, and I was prepared. I knew my mind would try to trick me during the tough days and convince me that I can smoke one and only one cigarette. My mind is a liar!

On these difficult days, I always believed that better days would come. No matter how hard, how tough, how unfair some moments could be. I knew, better things were coming.  And, as always, better days arrived and I was so happy for not giving up on the previous day.

Suddenly, one day I found myself smoking. I was sat on my couch and smoking. I was so sad that I had failed, and that I had start smoking again. I sat up with a start and it took me a few seconds to realize that it was 4:23 a.m. and that it was only a nightmare.

Good and bad things come and go. Enjoy the good things, don’t give up when things are bad, and you’ll be all right.

Hold tight, don’t give up. After the storm always comes the sun!”

After the storm always comes the sun

Join the community

I’ve created a Facebook group for all of you looking to quit smoking. I’ve called the group, the 7 Step Method to Quit Smoking. Join me, join us and tell us about your struggles, your challenges, your cravings. We will be there to help you and motivate you.

Those who have already quit smoking, join us, so together we can help those who are still trying.

By the time you see this, we might only be a small group but, I believe, the  community will grow. There are a lot of people that want to quit smoking, but have yet to find a method that works. This group could be the difference between failure and success.

Join the Facebook Group here.

Books

Disclosure: While this program is totally free, I do recommend a few books that helped me to change my habits and I believe they’re helpful and powerful tools that will help you better understand human nature and our urges to smoke. I do get a small commission if you click on the links and buy them, but the price of the books is exactly the same for you.

These are the books that helped me to change my habits and served as an inspiration to write this program.

I’ve been greatly inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous’ The Big Book. More about this book at Amazon.com.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg – Available at Amazon.com.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change byStephen R. Covey – Available at Amazon.com.

Inspiring and motivating videos

Charles Duhigg (author of  The Power of Habit) – Ted Talk

A simple way to break a bad habit by Judson Brewer – Ted Talk

Learn how to change your smoking habit and never smoke again. I've made this program to helped me, you and other smokers to quit their smoking habit.

About Author

Diogo has lived and worked in many places around the world including Madrid, Berlin, São Vicente (Cape Verde), Indonesia and Macau. Traveling, he says, is the best way to... click here to continue reading

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