Stage Four: Feeling Good About Not Using Tobacco

You're making progress toward a lifetime of freedom from tobacco. The longer you don't use tobacco, the more your confidence will grow, and the more likely you are to stick with your healthy lifestyle.

Overcoming Obstacles

Now that you've had time to experience life without tobacco, it's important to guard against slipping backward. Common pitfalls include nicotine cravings, environment, and frustration with weight gain. Check out these potential solutions.

When I'm feeling a craving, I will:

  • Call or e-mail a friend
  • Go for a brisk walk
  • Take a hot bath or shower
  • Chew on a carrot or celery stick
  • Drink a glass of water or milk
  • Go to the gym or the pool.
  • Add your own activity...

When I'm in a place where I'm likely to want to smoke, I will:

  • Suggest alternative locations to meet or socialize
  • Avoid certain people for a time
  • Drink plenty of nonalcoholic beverages, but not drinks with caffeine.
  • Add your own way to avoid smoking...

To avoid weight gain, I will:

  • Go for a walk each night after work and/or dinner
  • Prepare healthy meals
  • Drink plenty of water and keep nutritious low-fat/low-calorie snacks handy.
  • Add your own way to avoid gaining weight...

My Solutions for Success

Write down the obstacles to quitting tobacco you've faced in the past as well as solutions to try if they come up again.

Write down your solutions in dealing with these obstacles.

And In This Corner...

Supportive relationships are important in every stage of the behavior change process. Seek someone to be in your corner — a nonjudgmental, positive-minded believer in you. Someone working toward similar goals can provide great support, too. Once you've identified friends or family members to support you, list 2 or more things they can do to help.

SMART Goals to Stay on Course

A map of where you want to go is the only way to ensure you'll get there. Well written goals are your map to success for personal objectives like continuing to stay fit. But a goal is just a wish if it isn't SMART:

Specific. Be precise. Write down exactly what you expect to achieve.

Measurable. Include amounts, times, days, and other milestones for gauging success.

Achievable. Set your sights on an attainable goal, yet one that causes you to stretch, to go beyond what you're doing today.

Relevant. Although it's nice for your spouse, kids, boss, parents, and friends to want you to be successful, your goal should matter to you, first and foremost.

Trackable. Successful behavior change doesn't happen in a fell swoop — it takes time. Record your progress over days or weeks to see how much you've achieved.

Some examples of SMART goals

  • "Beginning Monday, April 6, I will have at least 4 fewer cigarettes each day."
  • "I will go to the gym instead of happy hour 2 times a week."

Take a moment now to write 2-3 SMART goals — your map of success for the next week. Then keep doing this exercise until the activities become a habit.

Just Rewards

You're striving to quit tobacco for good, and that's not easy. Be patient; it will take time before it feels natural. Be your own cheerleader, supportive and encouraging, focusing on your achievements rather than your setbacks, and give yourself the recognition you deserve. Make a list of meaningful rewards that appeal to you, and indulge yourself regularly as you strive for your goals. Rewards should be prompt, realistic, and in line with your healthy lifestyle. Some ideas:

  • Go to a play or sporting event
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers and really enjoy their fragrance
  • Visit a special nonsmoker friend out of town
  • Have dinner at your favorite healthy nonsmoking restaurant
  • Replace your ashtrays with a coffee table book filled with your favorite images.
  • Take a moment to list 2-3 rewards for your successful efforts.

Print out the Take-Action Form Personal Wellness Contract to record your promises to yourself and strategies for keeping them.

When you complete the activities in this stage, continue on to Stage Five: Maintaining a Tobacco-Free Lifestyle.