Most smokers have been smoking for a long time. Smoking habits are often tied to certain activities, places, or people; such as having a cigarette with your morning coffee, during a break at work, or after a meal. Being in these same situations after you’ve quit can trigger an urge to smoke.
Change the routine to break the habit
As an example, let’s suppose your routine is to have a cigarette with your morning coffee or tea. You could:
- Shift the location
- move inside, but make sure that this is a comfortable place. Ideally, make sure you have another activity to distract you: listen to the radio or read the newspaper.
- Switch to something different
- a different beverage (e.g. coffee to tea) and/or a different brand or mug.
- Change the sequence of your morning (have a shower first-thing).
- Choose new routines that you’ll come to enjoy.
Everyone has different habits and routines. You can apply this idea of routine change to the other triggers you identify in your day. What can you change about after-meal times or about your break at work? The important thing is to plan ahead, and try a few things out before you quit.
Some typical habit-based triggers and some tips for changing the routine include:
|First thing in the morning
||Have a shower first thing
|With coffee (or tea)
||Change to a different drink, brand of coffee or mug; or change the place where you drink it
|At morning tea
||Read a magazine or book; sit in a different place or with different people
|At the computer at home
||Shift your desk around or redecorate it
||Go for a walk
|At afternoon tea
||Try a herbal tea; read the paper
|Straight after work
||Do some exercise or meditation
|Just before your start dinner
||Have dinner earlier or later
||Change to a different drink; hold drink in smoking hand
|As you plan the next task/chore
||Breathe deeply or try a quick relaxation exercise
|As a reward e.g. completing a chore
||Listen to music; have a piece of fruit
|When you're with another smoker
||Chew gum; bring a water bottle
|At night in front of the TV
||Change the furniture around; hold a stress ball; do some stretches
|Just before bed
||Have a warm drink or herbal tea; read a book