Thinking about quitting smoking? Not quite sure where to begin? This idea always helps, whether you’re a heavy smoker, light smoker, or social smoker. Four quick questions and a pencil will not only bring you some important information to help you quit, but the collection of data will actually move you closer to your freedom. So what are we waiting for?
Download your own set of instructions and a sheet of TAMI cards below:
NOTE: These instructions are written using quitting smoking as an example. But the same process works if we’re trying to stop snacking between meals, stop drinking, stop swearing, or stop gossiping. Raising awareness is always a key to behavioral change. Do the work – collect the data – see where it leads you.
Four simple questions – Just answer the four questions in the four columns before you light up.
Time – What time is it? Jot it down and indicate am or pm.
Activity – What are you doing as while you want this cigarette? Coffee? Driving? Telephone? Whatever it is, write it up, and yes – you’ll need to write small or abbreviate.
Mood – Now some moods are easier to identify than others. Anger and anxious are usually pretty easy, but if you can’t figure out your mood, it’s probably bored.
Intensity – On a scale of 1-5, how badly do you want this particular cigarette? An example of a 1 would be the cigarette we would smoke automatically – perhaps whenever we get in the car. A 5 would be a cigarette when we’re extremely agitated and we think smoking will calm us down.
Please collect this data for 3 days and try to include both weekdays and weekend days, since our schedules and routines can vary. If you miss a few cigarettes, try to fill in the information as best you can. And having the pencil right inside the pack makes remembering pretty easy.
Here’s what happens when we use TAMI cards:
1.) When we use TAMI cards we’ll see a drop in their number of cigarettes per day because thinking about each one helps us see that we don’t need some of them. Smoking fewer cigarettes per day moves us closer to our goal. These quickly identified low-intensity cigarettes are easy to skip.
2.) When we use TAMI cards we’ll gain insight to the habits and feelings that are associated with smoking. This will be extremely helpful as we try to develop a quit plan.
3.) And we’ll probably sputter and complain at least a little when we grab our pack and see the card which reminds us that we need to write up before we light up. TAMI cards are effective because they disrupt and interrupt our routines. So go ahead and grumble, but smile because you’re on your way to a life without tobacco!