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Stage Three: Preparing to Be Tobacco-Free

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 not smoke. 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."

Record 2-3 SMART goals — your map to success for the week.

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.

Working Through Withdrawal
For many people, the hardest part of quitting is withdrawal symptoms. Be alert to symptoms and plan ways to manage them.

  • Coughing: Suck on cough drops or sugarless hard candy; try warm herbal tea.
  • Sleep problems: Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation. Avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime.
  • Headaches: Try a warm bath or shower as well as relaxation techniques.
  • Irritability or tenseness: Soak in a hot bath, practice relaxation techniques, and exercise.
  • Hunger: Drink lost of water or low-calorie liquids (but limit caffeinated beverages) and snack on vegetables and fruit.
  • Dry mouth; sore gums, tongue or throat: Sip ice water or cold fruit juice; chew gum.
  • Irregularity: Add fiber to your diet: fruits, vegetables, whole grains; and drink plenty of water (aim for eight glasses a day).