19 Ways to Prepare to Stop Smoking

Steph McGee

I’m a Trauma Informed Clinical Hypnotherapist on a mission to help. Hypnosis feels like a magic wand. But in truth? The real magic is you.

Are you ready to Stop?

Of course you are…or at least you’re starting to think about it.

So whenever you decide to make the change? Consider this is your go-to list of ways to prepare yourself to stop smoking. Choose what you like, ditch what you don’t and let me know what other genius things work for you!

19 Ways to Prepare to Stop Smoking

It’s a lot to take on isn’t it. Not smoking? Thinking way off into the great abyss imagining your entire life without another single cigarette in your hand.

But the thing I’ve noticed since I stopped smoking (AND I LOVE SMOKING) is that all the best moments in my life? The good the bad & the ugly. None of them happened with a cigarette in my mouth.

The cigarettes were for the everyday. For the before and the after. Never the event.

Think about it. I bet you didn’t start your first day in secondary school with a cigarette in your hand. Or that very moment you started your first job. Not when you gave your best job interview ever. There was definitely not a cigarette in your mouth during your first kiss (that would be impressive!). Not your first erm, love making session. And probably none of the other BIG events in your life.

In fact, I don’t think I can fully remember any of the cigarettes I’ve smoked.

Except one

I was sitting in the front seat of my dads car, parked outside what used to be Homebase in Cowley. And he asked me if he could have a cigarette?


Yes! I thought he’d quit years ago. “Just a cheeky one” he said. So we both sat there. Enjoying a smoke, laughing and putting the world to rights in the way only we knew how.

The next day I got a call. He’d been rushed to hospital by ambulance. And soon after I got there he died. It wasn’t the cigarette I gave him. I’m sure of that. But that cigarette got emblazoned on my mind. Not in a bad way. In the last moment I had with my Dad way.

And I didn’t stop. I kept smoking. I kept going with the thick morning cough and the yellow fingers. The merry hell it played with my asthma and the stress of not being able to get pregnant.

I had a few quit attempts. Some half hearted. Some because my husband nagged me. But the common triggers kept dragging me back. The habit. The stress. And the social circle. Plus wine, of course. I tried the gradual approach too. But it wasn’t for me.


Now please know. I’m not saying the successful quitting process I used is for everyone. And I’m not saying you have to stop smoking naturally like I did. I’m not even suggesting that you need hypnotherapy to stop smoking.

But hypnotherapy can be useful. And I recommend everyone speaks to their GP before stopping smoking. And contact them if you’re worried about any emotional or physical symptoms you get when you do quit.


My Quit Smoking Plan

I decided on a quit day. New years day. A nice big day that only gave me one chance that year. And I didn’t tell my husband.

I didn’t tell him because he’s a fierce non-smoker and I really didn’t need ‘the commentary’. Then I identified my triggers for smoking to improve my chance of success. Ultimately, this is how I prepared to stop smoking:

I stopped going to the pub and I paused my social life. It would all survive without me. I curbed my evening glass of wine. And I told my office smoking buddy I was leaving her. Sad? Yes. But she understood. I smoked every single cigarette I owned on New Years Eve. And I didn’t drink TOO much. I didn’t need to be battling a hangover on my first smoke free day.

And off I went. Not talking about smokes. Not thinking about fags. Just keeping my mind off smoking as best I could. Telling my smoking saboteur (the part of my mind that loves fags) to shut it & leave me alone while I managed all the difficult feelings it threw at me.

The saboteur is the part of the brain that tells us we need to smoke, tells us we are useless, tells us we can’t.



And I stopped. And the reason it worked. I think? Is because I decided to do it. No one else.

And when I really decide to do something? I bloody well do it…eventually.

Because I was tired of the breathing problems. I was bored of the asthma. Sick of the morning cough. And tired of my GP telling me off. So I turned my smoking habit off.

And below is a list of the stop smoking hacks I used & some of things my stop smoking with hypnosis clients used as well.


19 ways to prepare yourself to stop smoking

Start your quit plan here. Take what you like, leave what you don’t. And add your own ideas to it. My hypnotherapy clients are resourceful. They know what lights them up & what drags them down. So take a look. And let me know if you’ve got anything to add to the list?

And if hypnosis for smoking is in your plan? You know where I am.

1. Find your Smoking Why

Why do you smoke? Be honest (it’s not easy). Because the truth is it’s just a habit. And no matter how much you hate your smoking habit? It probably feels like a safety net. And your internal saboteur will be giving you a whole bunch of reasons why you DO want to smoke. Here are some of the most convincing lies it tells us:

  • Life is better because of cigarettes
  • Cigarettes help you relax
  • Your mates won’t like you as much if you stop smoking
  • Nights out won’t be as much fine
  • Wine or beer won’t taste so good
  • Cigarettes are your only reward


But the internal saboteur is full of BS (sorry if that phrase offends you!).

So make a list of all the justifications & blackmail it throws at you. Anything that tells you smoking is good?  That’s your saboteur talking – so write it down.

Seeing it all in writing will help you see where the BS is and help you CALL IT OUT!

2. Find your Stop Smoking Why!

Health. Happiness. And freedom. List all the benefits you’re looking forward to, from easier breathing, to more energy and more taste. Staying nice and warm inside and leaving others to suffer the cold to get their fix. Write it all down. Because this is the real YOU talking and not the saboteur.

3. Look at your Smoking History

What’s worked before? What helped last time you quit? And you guessed!  Write it all down. This is quit smoking gold dust. Everything that worked, even if only for a day. If anything negative crops up (any emotional blackmail) add it to list 1 because it’s just your pesky saboteur again!

4. Make your Choice

Is this really the end? This ain’t no time for maybes or mights. Sure you might have doubts, but it’s just your internal saboteur feeling the squeeze. So are you really ready to stop or are you just messing? I’ll explain why this is so important another time. And we can talk through all your ‘what ifs’ if you’d like a stop smoking hypnotherapy session

5. Choose your Weapon

What’s the plan of attack? How are going to do this? Straight in with cold turkey or start with an NHS chat? There are complementary therapies like acupuncture. Or Stop Smoking Hypnosis (with me). Counselling. The National Stop Smoking Centre with their telephone support. Or do you want dial down that nicotine addiction down? You could consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy like prescription medications. Nicotine patches. Or a combo with hypnotherapy? The choice is yours.

Image of a new brown fabric with one yellow cushion and one green cushion sofa as an example of what an ex smoker bought with her savings when she stopped smoking

6. Treat yourself

Consider this your carrot. Think of the wealth. How much will you save? And make a plan to treat yourself. An expensive shampoo when your hair is smoke free, a meal out (or in), or will you hold out for something much bigger? My second ever stop smoking client? She had smoked 40 a day for 40 years and told me 3 months after her session she’d saved enough to buy herself a three piece suit with her savings!

7. Bin your cigarettes

Seriously. Bin them or smoke them through. Because if you are giving up for good, why have a ‘just incase’ stash? Don’t keep a single one. It’s just setting yourself up for failure & your internal saboteur asking for a safety net. And WOW will it nag nag nag you to smoke that secret stash.

9. Cut back on alcohol

Relax. It’s temporary. Just until you’re a fully fledged, super confident ex-smoker. Why? 2 glasses of wine (or one big one) and the internal saboteur takes control. And that bully will take full advantage, telling you NEED a cigarette and your will power will be at it’s weakest.

10. Speak to your GP

Only you know how big your problem is and if there’s more to it. If you think it’s more complex than a simple ‘stop smoking session‘ see your GP first. In fact I recommend contacting your GP anyway. And always before using complementary therapies like hypnotherapy.

11. Leave your Smoking Tribe

Tell your smoking buddies you love them and if they love you too they’ll understand. Being around them now is a recipe for disaster. And when you return as a bullet proof ex-smoker, you can be their cheerleading team when they quit. After all, you’ve made it look so easy!

12. Find your Non-Smoking Tribe

With your smoking buddies gone, who’s going to encourage you & offer a listening ear? Tell them your plan (if you want to) and tell them what they can do to help. Everyone deserves a cheerleader.

13. Identify your smoking triggers

Find your smoking triggers and interrupt them. Change your routine and switch up all the things you associate with cigarettes. You want to break that smoking link. Do you have a cigarette after food? Go for a walk or read a magazine instead. Do you have your cigarettes with a cup of coffee? Drink tea for a while.

14. Find your relaxation and make more

Think of all the things you do to relax and revisit them without cigarettes. The fresh air. A quiet moment to yourself. It was them helping you all along remember? Not the nicotine. So notice them. Be mindful if you like. And give them the credit they deserve. Then treat yourself to more. This is the perfect excuse for a treat.

15. Get out doors

I know. It sounds like a pain. But when you stop smoking? There’s nothing like fresh air to fill your lungs instead of smoke. A bit of exercise to fill you with endorphins. When you quit you’ll feel the difference super fast. This is a reoccurring theme with my smoking hypnosis clients who can’t wait to get outdoors.

Cleaning fluid, blue scrubbing pads and a hand doing the OK sign in a blue marigold glove and all on a solid blue background.

17. Clean your house

As soon as you stop. Or straight after your stop smoking hypnosis. Clean your car, your home, wherever you used to smoke. Get the vacuum sucking and the room sprays spraying. And rid yourself of those stale cigarette smells & nicotine reminders and be proud of  your new fresh & gorgeous smelling world.

18. Be kind to yourself

From mood swings to frustrations. Take it easy. You can do this. You are doing this. And I promise you. If you keep this up? There will come a day when a cigarette doesn’t cross your mind. Just don’t then decide to become a stop smoking hypnotist because you’ll have to think about cigarettes all the time. Sure you’ll be good at it. Ex-smokers always are. No judgement. And all the love. But this needs to be a total stop.

That said? Quitting is quitting however long it lasts. Every time you quit smoking it’s a success. It’s like a yeast cake, you know? And a cigarette or two is not failure – it’s slip and a test – but avoid if you can. 

19. Take one day at a time

When you decide to stop it can feel like an eternity stretching out in front of you. So just focus on today. Then the next day. Then the one after that. You got this.

If you want to stop smoking and you’d like hypnosis to help? Drop me a message here.


The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. I disclaim all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.