Stoptober is upon us and you may be one of many smokers hoping to stop smoking for 28 days - and hopefully to continue stopping smoking beyond that.

I fully support anyone who is trying to stop smoking - it's an unecessary habit that gives you very little in return for the massive price you end up paying with your health.

And although may people quit smoking using will power alone, you may have experiened the 'elastic band' effect in the past. This happens when you force yourself to stop something for a period but like stretching an elastic band, sooner or later it springs back to its starting point.

Because in many ways aiming to quit smoking for just 28 days can be a bit like going on a diet in the few weeks before going on holiday - the longer it goes on the more you start to think about food and want to eat it. Once the holiday is over, the motivation and reasons eavaporate and you find yourself putting all the weight back on.

Help to Stop Smoking 

Recently I was working with a client called Glenn who was smoking 20 a day when he came to see me. Three weeks after his stop smoking hypnotherapy sessions he said: "Despised myself for starting to smoke again after 15 years off it! 2 failed attempts to quit over 5 years. Then a two hour session with hypnotherapy and I am focused and smoke free! Dan really put the backbone in place that has let me achieve this particular goal. Thanks Dan!"

To help you on your journey to be smoke free like Glenn, here are 3 things you can start doing right away:

1) Keep a diary of every cigarette you smoke for a week. When you do something over and over it becomes a habit and you do it on autopilot. To bring it back into mind start consicously paying attention and keeping a record of when you smoke, where you smoke and any other 'triggers' that lead you to light up (e.g. stress, boredom, when having a break, when out socially etc). Be honest with yourself and think before every cigarette. 

2) Keep every stub for a week. You already know smoking isn't that pleasant - people often tell me once they've quit that they can't understand how they put up with smell on their breath, on their clothes and even in their hair. Yet it's pretty easy once you've finished smoking to ditch the stub and forget about it as you get on with something else. Keeping the butts supports becoming conscious of your smoking behaviour so you can change it. It's pretty unpleasant but I suggest that you keep them in a clear container and take a good look at them (and even have a sniff) before deciding to light up. 

3) Start to change your daily patterns. Smoking thrives on routine - you probably smoke at similar times in simialr places most days. For example, if you light up every time you put the kettle on, very soon just the action of putting the kettle on will trigger the desire to smoke. Nearly every smoker I've helped quit has had certain regular patterns - you get in the car and light up, you go and stand in the same place outside and light up and so on. So start making an effort to change your daily routine a bit - in the morning change your routine a bit, drive or walk a different route to work, go outside by a different exit and stand somewhere else. The more you loosen the associations of smoking the easier you will find it to be healthier and healthier.

Now this isn't all there is to smoking - the habit of smoking is made out of the associations, the automatic habit itself, the impact on your body and your belief of being a smoker. However, follow these three steps and you'll kick start the process of taking back some control over when, where and how many you smoke, ready to support your efforts to be smoke free forever.

Best wishes

Dan

www.danreganhypnotherapy.co.uk