Smoking, as you well know, is a hard habit to break. What makes this seemingly simple behavior so difficult to quit, from a behavioral standpoint, is the sheer amount of conditioning that goes into installing the habit. If you smoke a pack a day, you take an average of 160 puffs per day!
The stupefyingly high frequency of smoking behavior can only compete with breathing, walking, and eating. Indeed, can you think of anything else you tend to do at least 160 times a day, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year?
Furthermore, smoking, as a habit, has a tremendously wide conditioning footprint. Smoking is connected to just about everything: to a whole gamut of emotions; to a variety of places, people, and things; to a range of activities, such as eating, thinking, reading, driving, and having sex. So, if you think of smoking as a kind of psychological cobweb, its strands are everywhere, and its triggers linger in every corner of a smoker’s life.
But here’s the kicker: traditional smoking-cessation programs give you only about two weeks to extricate yourself from this psychologically sticky web. That is, most of these programs recommend that you set a quit date two weeks from the time you start your quit efforts.
For some people, this two week timeline makes sense. Perhaps you’ve had previous quit attempts, you’ve learned some coping strategies, and you are highly motivated to leave cigarettes behind for good.
For many others, however, two weeks to quit constitutes a rush job that ultimately sets you up for failure. Our advice?
Please refer to Chapter 3: Skip the Drive-Through and Sit Down & Chapter 6: Craving-Control Skillpower (of The Smoke-Free Smoke Break: Stop Smoking Now with Mindfulness and Acceptance)
*What is skillpower? Pavel coined this term circa 2001 while working with substance use clients in a correctional setting, to help them shift from relying on willpower to a focus on developing the power of emotional self-regulation and craving control.
Woman smoking photo available from Shutterstock.
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Last reviewed: 13 Apr 2012