What the heck is a Mini-Quit? It’s not a “practice” quit but it sure can help you begin a quit if you are having trouble launching one for yourself. It helped me.
A Mini-Quit is changing up WHEN, WHERE, and WHY you normally smoke. It’s purpose is to give you a head start on breaking some of the smoking behaviors, habits and associated cues you made for yourself. As smokers we all had our rituals, patterns, and pacifier moments when we used smoking to soothe & calm ourselves.
Although not the purpose of a mini-quit, a normal consequence is usually less smoking because it does not feel normal or as satisfying. Smoke as much as you want just not in the normal places and at the normal times.
Change the When.
If you smoke right after a meal for example, or first thing when you wake up … don’t. Wait 30 mins instead. Do something else first to distract & delay smoking to change up your normal routine. Do the dishes, brush your teeth, take a shower, exercise, meditate, whatever you choose.
Change the Where.
Smoke in different places. If you have a specific place you smoke at home outside, don’t go there. Smoke somewhere else. Don’t get comfortable either. Don’t listen to music, read, text, or talk on the phone. In other words, don’t multi-task; just smoke. Keep your sole focus on smoking. Observe what it looks like & notice how you feel when the smoke swirls around you. (Personally, I felt an overwhelming sense of all the time I was wasting just smoking.)
I’m assuming you already don’t smoke in your home or in your vehicle. With all the known health hazards nobody should be exposing their spouse, children, pets, loved ones, or friends who visit you in your home or ride in your vehicle to second & third hand smoke. If you do smoke in your home or vehicle, stop it! Make those places off limit now for smoking.
Change the Why.
Change your smoking patterns/behaviors. If you are used to smoking when angry or upset, to concentrate or think, while stressed or talking on the phone, etc., (and who of us as smokers didn’t) … don’t. Wait 30 mins. Do something else to distract yourself & delay smoking. Walk around & breathe to give yourself time to let the “go to” ingrained smoking behavior pass. The only way to change is to make/do the changes. Don’t focus on wanting to smoke either during the wait. Kick the thought(s) to the curb.
Try changing up 3 or 4 of your cues/smoking association behaviors for a few days or a week. Then add 3 or 4 more change-ups. It takes 3 weeks to change a “habit” or before we become comfortable or “normalized” with it so I don’t recommend using the Mini-Quit process for more than a week or two (but whatever, it’s your quit; do you!). The ultimate purpose is to launch your quit with fewer cues/smoking associations.
It IS important & necessary to replace the old cues/smoking association behaviors with something else to fill the void. Strictly speaking, we don’t eliminate our “habits” … we change them into something else. Make sure what you choose to replace them with is positive and can be sustained for the long term regardless of mental & physical status.
As far as being “ready” to quit smoking goes many of us weren’t ready or even wanted to but we chose to quit anyway and made the commitment not to smoke. It’s not about will power either. It’s WILLINGNESS, CHOICE & COMMITMENT. If you can quit for one day, you can quit for two days, and so on. One day at a time in the beginning.
Again, the purpose of Mini-Quits is not smoking reduction although as you learn about yourself & change it up it is a wonderful side effect. Be aware that If you intentionally focus on just reducing the number of cigarettes “way down from normal” (especially if it is 5 or less cigs/day) you may be putting yourself into constant nicotine withdrawal or you may be treating cigarettes as a reward which is the last thing you want to do. You do not want to make a cigarette a “precious” commodity to yourself.
Remember you are a nicotine addict; it’s not just a bad habit.
You might want to consider doing Mini-Quits and then “just” jump off the scary cliff whether you feel ready or not & build your wings on the way down. That IS how it’s done.