Tips

Quit smoking while working remotely or how to change your habits in 6 steps

Lifestyle changes are good opportunities to change habits. Working remotely is a good example of a lifestyle change because it forces you to rethink the way you organize yourself to work. This is a significant change for a person used to working in an open space, surrounded by people on a daily basis. Their days are full of little rituals that will have to be adapted or reviewed according to this familiar environment: their own home. So why not take the opportunity to quit smoking?

Someone writing on a journal

March 19, 2020

So how do you take advantage of working remotely to quit smoking? Or more generally, how can we take advantage of a change of routine to break a stubborn habit? Kwit gives you some tips in this article, have a good read!

Step 1: Identify your habit

Who knows your needs better than you? Knowing yourself is the most important step in caring for yourself.

Jean de La Fontaine

Each habit follows the same three-step pattern:

  • The signal: a situational trigger based on a reward you're looking for.
  • The reward: the satisfaction you seek by following a routine. (There are two ways to get satisfaction. The first is to add something pleasant, the second is to remove something unpleasant.)
  • The routine: a physical or emotional action you take to get the reward.

The best way to understand this process is to look at each element individually. We are constantly flooded with signals and stimuli that lead us to take action to varying degrees of effectiveness. In order to make permanent change, you must understand when and why these "triggers" occur.

It can be helpful to write down the following information in your Kwit app whenever you feel the need to carry out a bad habit:

  • Location: write down where you are.
  • Time: write down the exact moment when you felt the craving.
  • Mood: record your emotional state, it can give you additional information about what you are trying to achieve by doing the habit.
  • Entourage: who's with you or who's around you?
  • Action: what have you just done? What are you doing now?

Repetition is the key to this exercise. Focus on keeping track of these five points over the next 48 hours. You can also include the previous days. You will notice a number of patterns that give you a clearer understanding of your routine.

For example, here's the information a person who wants to quit smoking might have written down:

  • Location: in front of the company I work for.
  • Time: 10:47 a.m. at break time
  • Mood: stressed out, want to relax.
  • Entourage: my colleagues who also smoke
  • Action: I talk about our respective tasks with my colleagues.

Now you know that your smoking is caused by a desire to relax and reduce stress. More importantly, it's an activity you prefer to share with others. Luckily, the location where you used to smoke with your co-workers is no longer part of your routine since you are now working remotely. This is a fantastic opportunity to help you quit smoking!

Step 2: Replace your habit

You can't extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it.

Charles Duhigg

Now that you have identified why and when you smoked, it is time to change your smoking habits. You'll notice that we're not talking about stopping a habit, but rather replacing it with another activity.

The best way to permanently break a habit is to slowly replace it with a healthier one. Instead of focusing on what you are missing, you will stick to new routines that give you the same reward.

For example, you are now working from home and your urge to smoke still comes at about 10:45 a.m, the same time you used to take a break at work. A craving only lasts for about 4 minutes, keep yourself busy during this time: eat some fruit, drink a glass of water, read a few pages, write and enjoy the therapeutic virtues of writing, pick up a motivational card on the Kwit app … etc. Try to replace every craving identified as a habit.

Even if you replace a "bad" habit by a better one, it can happen that the initial habit has a stronger biological "reward" than the one replacing it. For example, your brain knows that a glass of water does not contain nicotine and won't feel the same as if you were smoking a cigarette. Inner motivation comes into play here.

Intellectually, we all know that quitting smoking is good for our health and that limiting the number of hamburgers we eat can help us lose weight.There are specific and personal reasons for changing habits — quitting smoking for good can mean spending more years with your family, participating in the environmental effort, being in better shape. All these reasons provide greater motivation.

Step 3: Keep a journal

Track your efforts to quit smoking and change your habit on a daily basis: every statistic, every measurement matter: how many cigarettes have you not smoked? Since when? The more information you include, the easier it is to understand what affects your mood or impulses.

Here are some things you can include in your journal as examples:

  • Your feelings, emotions and impulses
  • The challenges you are currently facing
  • The reasons why you want to take advantage of working from home to quit smoking

Being completely honest with yourself is very important to keep a journal. You have to write everything down.

Step 4 : Reward yourself

Changing habits can be an exhausting experience, quitting smoking even more. However, you can make it more enjoyable by rewarding yourself for reaching specific milestones. The main point is to avoid incentives that are directly related to the activity you are trying to eliminate.

Reward yourself after quitting for 3 days, then a week, then a week and a half, then two weeks etc. Create rewards for the 1st day, 1st week, 2nd week, 1st month, 3rd month, 6th month and year. The more goals you create, the more you will stay focused on changing your habit.

Step 5: Be positive and kind

We're all tempted to pick up a bad habit we used to have. It's a natural part of the process, so don't let those feelings get you down. The best thing is to know what to do when you have an impulse. As soon as you feel the urge to smoke, reaffirm your commitment to stick to the new plan.

You can even repeat a simple mantra every time you feel weak. It can be a simple sentence that you repeat regularly. Say it over and over again whenever you feel the need to smoke a cigarette. One of the main reasons people give up on changing their habit is because they don't know what to do after they've slipped. You smoked a cigarette? Forgive yourself, we all make mistakes. Self-loathing over a slip is counterproductive to your long-term goals.

Step 6: Become a Kwitter

The Kwit App has everything you need to change your habit and stop smoking. You will be able to keep a record of each of your cravings in order to better understand and analyze them. You will have access to a dashboard where you can see all the benefits of quitting. This is a valuable source of motivation in your daily life! Do you feel like smoking? Shake your phone and a motivational card will appear as an extra support to keep on track! The app also allows you to add personal notes. Just like in a diary, this feature, which further customizes your quitting experience, allows you to record your journey towards a smoke-free life.

If you need support about your smoking cessation, feel free to join our support group.

A tracking notebook for habits