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How to motivate yourself to quit smoking

Do you want to quit smoking cigarettes but lack the motivation to ditch them for good? You’re not alone. You may have considered giving up smoking for some time and haven't been able to give yourself that final push to commit to your goal. Breaking your habits can be challenging, which is why we’re here to help you and share some advice on how to motivate yourself to stop smoking (and stay motivated!)

So, how can you motivate yourself to quit smoking?

1. Write down the reasons why you want to quit smoking

You’re probably already aware of the health risks related to smoking, including the increased chance of developing some cancers and artery disease. However, noting down your personal reasons for why you want to quit smoking is a great first step. 

Whether you want to protect your family from secondhand smoke or you’re looking to make some positive changes to your lifestyle to improve your health, your reasons for quitting will be one of your greatest weapons for fighting off cravings. It can also be useful to highlight what you feel is or has been preventing you from quitting thus far and how they weigh up with your reasons for quitting. 

Here are some common motivators for quitting which may help to identify what’s most important to you:

You want to be healthier

Quitting smoking will help to improve your health in so many ways, including: 

  • Making your skin appear healthier
  • Your blood pressure will go down to a normal level
  • You will be able to breathe better
  • You will be less likely to suffer from a stroke or heart attack
  • Decreasing your chances of developing some cancers and artery disease

You want to protect your family

Smoking around children in your household could increase the chances of them taking up smoking in the future. Remember that you can be the change and set a good example for them. Not only will you be able to protect your family from secondhand smoke, but you’ll have more energy to spend quality time with them and they are bound to be proud of your efforts!

You want a better lifestyle

Giving up smoking can improve your quality of life in a number of ways, including: saving you money, freeing up more spare time to spend with your family or on a hobby, you won’t be worrying about when you can smoke next and your sense of taste and smell will improve.

Once you have identified your top reasons for quitting, display them in places that you’ll see regularly. For example, you could write your top three reasons for stopping smoking on post-it notes and stick these on your fridge. Where are your trigger points? Katy would often spark up in her car, so that’s where she placed her post-it note.

2. Make a plan 

Thinking ahead can really pay off. Try and set yourself a date to officially stop smoking so that you feel more ready to break your habits. Try to avoid choosing a date which is too far away as you may change your mind and feel less motivated. Picking a date which is less than a couple of weeks away will give you enough time to prepare yourself without letting you forget why you want to quit. 

You should also aim to think about how you’ll manage situations in which you were used to smoking. For example, if you usually smoke on nights out, you could think about what you will say to a friend if they ask you to join them for a cigarette. Alternatively, you could let any friends you would usually smoke with know that you’re trying to quit so that they don’t tempt you by asking you out to the smoking area. 

Make your plan with the support of our coaches.

3. Make changes to your routine

Making simple changes to your routine can help you avoid triggering situations or slipping into old habits. Hannah’s morning routine was to sit in her favourite chair where she’d roll and smoke a rollie. Now she keeps NRT gum next to her chair and in her car. 

Why not try our Habit Hacker to see which behaviours are preventing you from achieving your smoke-stop goals. 

4. Seek some support

Let your family and friends know that you plan to quit smoking. If they are aware of your goals, they could help you to stay on track. You might consider asking them to keep checking in on you to see how you are progressing or find more time to physically catch up and plan in more time to spend doing activities together. It’s also beneficial for them to know that you want to quit because then they will be less likely to offer you a cigarette or smoke around you. 

You could also download an app such as the Smokefree app which has been developed by the NHS. Apps such as this are designed to keep you motivated and track your progress.

Of course, you can also reach out to a healthcare professional or group who offer help to those looking to make positive changes to their health. Here at LiveWell Dorset, we have a team of advisors and coaches who can talk through your smoke-stop options and give you the support you need to ensure that you reach your goals. If you live in  Dorset and want help to stop smoking talk to us today.

5. Try to exercise more often

There are links between exercise and improvements to your mood. Doing something as simple as a walk could help you to relieve stress and clear your head. Other forms of gentle exercises, such as yoga or pilates, are also great for taking some time to relax and focus on your breathing - learning how to breathe and calm yourself down could be very useful if you find yourself in a stressful situation as a result of cravings. Still go out for a breather, but switch the time you’d be standing in the smoking shelter by going for a short walk around the block.

6. Spend time with non-smoking friends

If you spend a lot of time around other smokers, you may find it difficult to suppress your cravings. This is why it can be a good idea to spend more time with non-smoking friends as you won’t be surrounded by temptation. If you find yourself at a party, make sure that you stay clear of the smoking area so that you don’t put yourself in a challenging position. If you’re hanging out with someone who has also decided they’d like to stop smoking, why not try out a new activity together and focus your attention on learning a new skill. 

Whilst certain people can trigger your nicotine cravings, you should also try to identify any other triggers (these could be places or activities) which make you want to smoke. See if you can stay away from these triggers as best as you can and reflect on any changes you’ve noticed to your smoking habits.

7. Keep reminding yourself why you’re quitting

Getting yourself motivated to quit is one thing, staying motivated is another. Keep referring back to the main reasons which made you want to quit smoking. Here are some things you could try:

  • Make note of how much money you’re saving each week/month (the average smoker could save an incredible £1,800 per year just by giving up cigarettes!)
  • Keep a picture of your family with you so that when you get a craving, you can look at the picture to remind yourself that you’re quitting for them too.
  • Take time to reflect on how you’re feeling - can you notice changes to your breathing or mood?

It can be helpful to log your thoughts and feelings in a diary so that you can express how you are finding each day, noting your mood and any positive changes you notice. This will enable you to refer back to how you were feeling at the very beginning of your smoke-stop journey and compare it with how you are feeling in following weeks. 

8. Share your progress with friends and family

Celebrate each and every success! Lasted two days without smoking? Great! It’s been a whole week since you last smoked a cigarette? Even better! Each day you manage to suppress your cravings is progress and you should be very proud of yourself. You should share your progress with others too so that they know how well you’re doing and you feel motivated to continue all of your hard work!

Now that you know what it takes to get yourself motivated to quit smoking, you are ready to put your knowledge to practice. Find out more tips to help you stop smoking here.

Looking to stop smoking? 

If you live in Dorset and want to stop smoking but you’re struggling to motivate yourself or simply don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help! You can register online or get in touch with our friendly team of professional coaches and advisors who will be happy to help.


"The LiveWell team are amazing. Every time I speak to them, they are so helpful. Having someone on the end of the phone is an amazing boost."

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How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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