Let's Make a Plan

At this point, Quit Day should be very soon. If you are feeling a bit nervous about that, it’s okay. Quit Day is a big day—one of the most important in your life. You’ll be saying goodbye to an old friend. But you’ll be gaining so much more.

Now that you have spent time figuring out what your triggers are using Pack Tracks, you can start to plan how you’ll cope with your urges without smoking. That's what the first part of Session 4 is all about. We'll also do a few more activities and show you a few more tools to make sure you are ready for what's next!

Finding Patterns in Your Pack Tracks

The information you entered in your Pack Tracks will help you pinpoint the smoking triggers you’ll want to focus on in your Quit Plan. One way to find your triggers is by looking for patterns.

When and where did you smoke?

Did you smoke more at a certain time of day? Did you always smoke after a certain meal or while socializing with friends? These times and places may trigger your urge to smoke. You can use this information to plan things to do at those times and places instead of smoking.

How much did you need each cigarette?

The more you needed it, the harder it may be to give up. If you picked mostly a “high” need for the cigarettes you smoked but haven't yet decided to use a quit-smoking medication, you should strongly consider it. Review the information in Session 2 and update your Medication Plan.

What was your most common mood?

If you picked mostly happy faces, you likely smoke to relax and enjoy good times. If you chose mostly blah faces, you likely smoke out of boredom or pattern. You may not even realize you’re smoking. If you picked mostly unhappy faces, you likely smoke when you’re tense or upset. Think about how your mood affects when and why you smoke.

How You'll Use What You've Learned

For some people, looking at the results of the Pack Track activity can make quitting seem overwhelming. Making a Quit Plan will help you see how it is possible.

A Quit Plan provides an organized framework for how you will overcome your triggers. It won’t cover every situation but it will help you plan ahead and get through your most high-risk situations. The next two sections include strategies you can use as you create your plan.

Use the Three A's for Acting Against Triggers

The Three A's can help you plan for situations that might trigger an urge to smoke. Just take one of these actions.

AVOID it.

Avoid the situation if you can. For example, take your coffee break at your desk instead of going out to grab coffee with coworkers who smoke. Leave the table right after dinner instead of lingering for a cigarette. Stay away from bars and social events that allow smoking.

ALTER it.

Change the situation. If coffee is a trigger in the morning, try drinking fruit juice instead. Watch TV in a room where you rarely smoke (such as the bedroom) rather than in your usual spot. Put your cigarettes in the trunk of the car so you can’t reach for them while driving.

Use ALTERNATIVES.

Replace tobacco with a substitute. Chew on sugarless gum or suck on a sugarless lollipop. Snack on raw vegetables, such as a carrot or celery stick. Use one of the relaxation exercises you learn in Freedom From Smoking.

More Ways to Plan for Urges

The things you learned about your mood while smoking can also help you prepare for Quit Day. Select each item to learn more.

If you’re a happy smoker...

Picture yourself enjoying good times without a cigarette in your hand and try these tips:

  • Spend time with people who don’t smoke.
  • If you’re going to be with smokers, plan how you’ll avoid smoking with them.
  • Cut down on alcohol. Many smokers light up when they drink. Have a nonalcoholic drink instead.
  • Do something you enjoy. See a movie, call a friend or work on a hobby.
  • Take a walk or do a relaxation exercise.

If you’re a bored smoker...

Keep busy in ways that make it hard to pick up a cigarette:

  • Get up and get moving.
  • Take a walk.
  • Do a puzzle.
  • Fix yourself a low-calorie snack.
  • Work on a hobby.
  • See a movie.
  • Doodle.
  • Exercise.
  • Play a game on your phone.
  • Get together with a friend.
  • Sort coupons.
  • Do anything to avoid smoking.

If you’re an unhappy smoker...

Try some of these stress reducers to help get you through tough moments:

  • Squeeze a ball.
  • Exercise.
  • Hit a pillow or yell into it.
  • Do a relaxation exercise.
  • Call a friend.
  • Throw darts.
  • Watch funny videos.
  • Weed your garden.
  • Play with your child or pet.
  • Build something.
  • Read a good book.
  • Crumple up or tear paper.

Your Quit Plan

Successful quitters plan ahead. Now that you have an idea of what your triggers really are and have learned some strategies for what you can do instead of smoking, you can start to build your plan.

Now, enter for something you’ll do instead of smoking each of those cigarettes next time:

Use the Three A’s or the More Ways to Plan for Urges if you need help with ideas.

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Quit Day Practice

Pick a few times this week to not smoke the three important cigarettes you identified and do one of the activities on your Quit Plan instead. This will help you try out strategies and make changes if needed before Quit Day.

Your Medication Plan Follow-up

As you stop smoking on Quit Day, you may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms—which we prefer to think of as symptoms of recovery. Medication can help ease these symptoms so you can focus on the social and mental challenges of quitting. If you can’t use a quit-smoking medication or choose not to, you’ll learn some helpful techniques in Session 5 for coping with recovery symptoms.

As part of your Quit Day planning, today is a great time to review your Medication Plan on the Dashboard and update it if needed.

Make sure you allow enough time before Quit Day to get your medication. If you need to adjust your Quit Day to get (or start) your medication, do that today.

It's Time For Another Relaxation Exercise

Making a Quit Plan is a big step. Now is a good time to learn a Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise that can help ease any tension you may be feeling. Listen now, then visit the Resources section to download the MP3 file for use anytime and to find other helpful relaxation exercises.

Ready to relax?

Listen

Making a Smart Plan for Snacking

It can really help to have some easy, healthy snacks on hand for when you have the urge to smoke and need a quick alternative. The key is to make smart choices that won’t add to any weight gain worries or lead you to replace your smoking addiction with bad eating habits.

For something sweet

  • Pears
  • Cantaloupe
  • Fresh or canned pineapple
  • Frozen fruit bar
  • Berries
  • Peaches
  • Plums

For a crunchy treat

  • Apples
  • Fresh vegetables—carrots, celery, broccoli
  • Popcorn (popped without oil)
  • Graham or wheat crackers

For a chewy nibble

  • ½ bagel or a slice of raisin bread
  • Plain raisins
  • Cereal (such as shredded or puffed wheat) without milk
  • Small bran muffin
  • Half a whole wheat English muffin
  • Sugarless gum

More great options

  • Sugarless candy
  • Tomato juice
  • Fruit juice (without added sugar)
  • Seltzer water

Find a few easy recipes for smart snacks in the Resources section.

Eating smarter is also a long-term strategy for staying quit. You’ll learn more in Session 7.

Plan Now to Be Nice to Yourself on Quit Day

As one final step in your planning, decide on a reward for when you successfully reach Quit Day and stop smoking. Rewards don’t have to be big or cost much; they can even be free. But it’s important to reward yourself with something you care about or like. You deserve it!

Your Quit Day Reward

Think of something you'd enjoy as a special reward to mark this very important day.

Fill in a reward you will give yourself on Quit Day.

Here are some ideas:

Stay in bed for an extra hour. Download new music or a new game. Take a long bubble bath. Buy a new outfit. Get something to indulge your hobby. Go out to dinner to celebrate. Call an old friend for a long chat. Start a new book. Buy new walking or running shoes. Eat a favorite food you usually don’t allow yourself. Get a massage. See a movie.

Great job. This activity is now complete.

Sounds like a great way to celebrate! Enjoy it. If you need to do anything to prepare for your Quit Day reward, do it over the next week or so, before Quit Day arrives.

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Quit Day Checklist

Before the next session, aka your Quit Day, make sure you are prepared by completing the items on this list. You can print a version of it below.

Before Quit Day:

Have your quit-smoking medication ready if you are using one. If you need to get a prescription filled, do that now. If you need to adjust your Quit Day to have enough time, do that too. Stock up on alternatives for tobacco (e.g., gum, snacks, straws). Before you go to bed the night before Quit Day, get rid of all the tobacco products, ashtrays, lighters and matches in your home. Look for cigarettes or other tobacco products in clothes pockets, cupboards and the car. Get rid of them. If you need to do anything to have your Quit Day reward ready, do that too. Print PDF

Bringing It All Together

You looked at your roadblocks to quitting and your reasons to keep moving forward, then learned new lifestyle strategies and built your Quit Plan. You have taken the steps you need to prepare for Quit Day. Now you just need to be confident in yourself and do it.

Keep telling yourself, “I can quit smoking.” You really can do this.

Talk to the people in your support network. Remind them your Quit Day is coming up.

Get excited! Quit Day is a big day and you’re doing something fantastic for yourself!

What is the main purpose of your Quit Plan? Choose the best answer. It provides a list of all of your triggers for smoking in one place. It helps you plan for the highest risk times you want to smoke. It helps you learn how to be a happier smoker. A Quit Plan won’t include every situation where you may want to smoke but it will help you plan for the highest risk situations by helping you match your triggers with an appropriate coping technique. The Three A’s for handling your triggers are: Avoid, Alter, Use Alternatives Alter, Avoid, Ask Avoid, Use Alternatives, Allow You can cope with almost any situation where you have the urge to smoke by planning how to Avoid it, Alter it or Use Alternatives. True or False? Snacking is a good alternative to smoking—if you choose smart options. True False It’s true. If you are hit with the urge to smoke and don’t have another plan in place, a healthy snack can be an easy alternative that satisfies the need to do something with your mouth. Just make smart choices, such as a piece of fruit, some carrot sticks or sugarless hard candy, so you don’t end up with a bad eating habit in place of your smoking addiction.

Before returning to the Dashboard, it might be valuable to go back and review this session to make sure you understand the key points.

You have reached the end of Part 1: Getting Ready. Come back and start Part 2: Taking Action on your Quit Day. In the meantime, take this chance to visit the activities on your Dashboard to review all the work you’ve done preparing for Quit Day. See you soon!

Before returning to the Dashboard, it might be valuable to go back and review this session to make sure you understand the key points.

You have reached the end of Part 1: Getting Ready. Come back and start Part 2: Taking Action on your Quit Day. In the meantime, take this chance to visit the activities on your Dashboard to review all the work you’ve done preparing for Quit Day. See you soon!

Great Job! You have reached the end of Part 1: Getting Ready. Come back and start Part 2: Taking Action on your Quit Day. In the meantime, take this chance to visit the activities on your Dashboard to review all the work you’ve done preparing for Quit Day. See you soon!

Great Job! You have reached the end of Part 1: Getting Ready. Come back and start Part 2: Taking Action on your Quit Day. In the meantime, take this chance to visit the activities on your Dashboard to review all the work you’ve done preparing for Quit Day. See you soon!

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