Smoking does not have to define who you are. If you start thinking about yourself as a non-smoker, it can help you stay smokefree.
Your identity is how you think about yourself. Your style, likes, personality, culture, or social groups can all be part of how you see yourself. Part of it can also include being a smoker. Many women who smoke say that being a smoker is an important part of their identity.
Picture a Smokefree You
How you think about yourself can affect the choices you make, like the car you drive or the clothes you buy. It can also affect your smokefree success.
- Keeping your smoker identity (for example: I am a smoker or I like being a smoker) can make it hard to become, and stay, smokefree.
- Thinking of yourself as a non-smoker (for example: I want to live healthier without cigarettes or Being a non-smoker makes me feel free) can increase your chance of smokefree success.
The good news is that you can change the way you think about yourself. Beginning to think about why you smoke and what you will gain by not smoking will help get your mind ready to try quitting.
Making the Shift
It’s helpful to know why being a smoker is important to many women. If some of these examples are familiar, there are ways to start thinking about yourself as a non-smoker. It will help you stay quit for good.
"Smoking makes me, me."
Many women are scared that they will lose a piece of who they are when they quit. Try to focus on the things that will get better when you quit. Remember that there are so many other things that make you, you. Quitting will make these things shine brighter.
- Make a list of all the positive things about yourself. Hang it somewhere you can see, like your refrigerator or mirror. It will remind you that smoking does not define who you are.
- Think about who you want to be in the future. Compare your future self to who you are now. How are they different? This can keep you motivated to stay smokefree.
"Smoking is social."
You might be worried that quitting will change your relationships or social life—especially if you are a social smoker. Here are some things that will help you and your loved ones think of you as a non-smoker.
- Tell your friends. Getting support from people who are positive about your quit will help increase your chances of becoming smokefree.
- Find other things that you have in common. You can be a non-smoker and still keep your relationships by bonding over other things.
- Suggest non-smoking activities or hang out with non-smoker friends. There are lots of smokefree places you and your friends can go, like the movies, shops, or restaurants.
- Develop a plan for being around smokers. Ask them not to smoke around you or remind them not to offer you a cigarette.
- Get a partner. When you quit with a friend, they can give you extra support and will know what you are going through.
- Join the Smokefree Women community on Facebook! Connect with women who are finding their new smokefree identity and learn from others who have successfully become smokefree.
"Smoking is me time."
A smoke break can be an escape from life’s stresses. But taking time for yourself doesn’t have to involve cigarettes.
- Practice mindfulness. Try slowing down, being present in the moment, and focusing on your breathing. It can help you work through moments of stress and cope with withdrawal.
- Find new activities. Try new things that you have always wanted to do, like hiking or journal writing. Or, join a new community or group, like a book club or workout group.
- Get active. Go for a five-minute walk. Do some yoga or light stretching. Get your body moving.
"Smoking is a part of my life."
You might be worried that it will be hard to change your routines, or you might be overwhelmed when you think about the things that remind you of smoking. Take back the control cigarettes have over your life.
- Learn your triggers and how to avoid them. This will give you the skills to manage the things in your life that remind you of smoking.
- Practice quitting for one, three, or five days. The Practice Quit text message program will help you see what life will be like as a non-smoker. It might even give you the confidence to quit for good! Sign up online or text GO to 47848.
Are you ready to become smokefree? Find out how to prepare to quit.