Behaviour Change

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Behaviour Change

Behaviour Change


Behaviour change is one of the most challenging aspects of life, particularly when the specific behaviour has been part of someone’s life for a long period. This becomes even harder when the behaviour is addictive, and more effort is needed to overcome the addiction (Larkin, 2014). This paper focuses on discussing the journey of two nicotine addicts as they engage on a personal journey to quite tobacco smoking all by themselves; without the help of a professional. This discussion is based on an interview that was previously conducted on two individuals with previous smoking habit, with one of them being successful in quitting the behaviour, while the other one being unsuccessful. The paper discusses the success and failures experienced and what attribute to them in this transformational journey. The paper employs transtheoretical model of change in the discussion. Processes and stages of change are also reviewed in the paper.

The two interviewed individuals will be referred as Lady X and Man Y (pseudo names). Lady X is a woman aged 38 years old and has been smoking cigarettes since she was a teenager. She was introduced to the behaviour by her peers in high schools. She initially did it to fit in the group, but later developed an addiction that increased her urge to smoke even without peer pressure. She kept on increasing the number of smoked cigarettes sticks per day, year after year, and before she considered quitting, she was taking an average of 13 cigarettes per day. Her journey to change has not been easy; it has taken her an average of 9 months to completely overcome the habit.

Man Y is a man aged 43 years old. He started smoking cigarettes at the age of 21 after getting his first job. He was working in a company where one had to smoke something to cope, and he opted for tobacco. Man Y was initially smoking only two sticks during break time in the factory with other workers. However, the need to smoke started to arise in his life every time he was distressed. This grew to an everyday habit and he later realized he could not live without smoking at least 15 sticks of cigarettes per day. He would even wake up at night to smoke. Man Y has been trying to quit smoking for quite a while. The first thought of quitting came after marriage at the age of 35. However, 8 years later, he is still unsuccessful in fighting the habit completely.

Process of Change

Precontemplation Stage

Smoking is an addictive habit that is highly associated with various health issues in the world. It has been named as one of the major causes of preventable deaths, with annual tobacco caused deaths being estimated to be 5 million individuals (Koyun & Eroglu, 2016). Thus, it is a dangerous habit to both direct users and those that lives in their surroundings. Despite of this, most people find it hard to accept that tobacco kills and they always dismiss such talks or teachings, just to eliminate the thought of fighting their bad habit (Campbell et al., 2013). This happened to Lady X for a period of around 19 years and Man X for a period of around 13years. Although they both had information on tobacco use is harmful to their health, this was just but a simple warning that had no any significance to their life. Lady X did not believe that life could be healthier without smoking, while Man X never even thought of the health issues related with smoking before he considered quitting. Thus, the two remained in the precontemplation stage for over a decade, where they did not know that one could enjoy life without having to smoke (Daoud et al., 2015).

Contemplation Stage

The need for change came to Lady X at the age of 33, when she first received the news that she was going to be a mother. The news made Lady X think of the responsibilities that come with being a mother. The doctor who gave her the news also hinted that she had to take care of herself to ensure healthy development of the baby. Without knowing her smoking history, the doctor directed her on good diet, and the activities she should avoid. This made Lady X to consider researching more on whether her smoking behaviour would harm the baby in any way. She did an extensive online research on effect of tobacco use on unborn child and also on children and the results was not pleasing (Banderali et al., 2015). She developed the fear of destroying the life of her own child due her smoking habit. This pushed Lady X in contemplation stage of change where by, she was now aware of the consequences of smoking and she started thinking about the change of behaviour and its benefit (Dawood et al., 2016). The health warning aspect became important to her, and she was worried of the damage smoking could have caused to her body and whether it was reversible. The need for change was urgent to Lady X, since there was a child at stake (Lurie et al., 2014).

The thought for change came to Man X at the age of 35, when his smoking habit was condemned by his wife. The wife felt that his smoking habit would eventually shorten his life span and leave the burden of raising their kids all to the wife (Girma et al., 2010). This made Man X to feel guilty of his behaviour. He started asking around on any known case of premature death caused by excessive use of tobacco. He got a number of cases where tobacco was cited as the main cause of the health condition that resulted to death, but most of these cases involved individuals aged above 60, apart from three cases that involve individuals aged below 35 (Ruge wt al., 2008). This was a bit alarming though, he still considered he had a chance of living longer. Nevertheless, the thought of change to please his wife and eliminate her fear became part of him. This thought kept on clinging into Man X’s mind for a period of about 2 year.

Preparation and Determination

Feeling the urgency for the change, Lady X started preparing for change. In this case, Lady X reviewed her main reasons for quitting and still found them varied. However, she still doubted her ability to manage quitting for she was sure that she was an addicted and there would be challenges involved. Lady X has witnessed her friends attempt to quit and the difficulties involved in the past (Flemming et al., 2015). Nevertheless, she managed to put the idea of defeat aside, since to her, the child’s health was more important than anything else. Thus, Lady X was able to resolve her doubts and decided to take all it takes to win. In this regard, Lady X decided to develop a strategy to guide her in her quitting process. She performed an extensive online research on strategies one can employ to quit long-term smoking with addiction effect (). She also took an initiative of calling some of her friends who had previously attempted to quit smoking to find out more on measures they employed and their level of success. Although counselling interventions were among the strategies that she came across, she decided to go through her quitting process alone; without the help of a counsellor or any other professional. However, she accepted social support from her friends (Ochsner et al., 2014). Lady X has never tried to quit smoking in the first and, thus, it was her first time to face the challenge. She decided to start her quitting mission in three weeks’ time. To manage this, she tried getting something very annoying about smoking. This was her own way to convince her mind that tobacco was so disgusting to continue using. In her evaluation, she established that most people looked at her suspiciously while smoking in a public place such as restaurant. She also remembered that she could not date a certain kind of men, since they could not take such behaviours from a woman. This convinced her that something must be very wrong about smoking, even if she could not point it out at once (Dickens et al., 2014). Lady X decided to talk to one of her old friends who managed to overcome smoking after their marriage. They met and discussed more about smoking and the joy of living without depending on it. They also offered their commitment to assist her in the quitting process (Cornacchione & Smith, 2012). They decided to be sending encouragement messages to Lady X, tips to overcome different challenges along the way, and activities to be engaged in to overcome the urge to smoke (Flemming et al., 2015). Lady X on the other hand was supposed to report on her progress, challenges, and to ask for any kid of advice she needed. They therefore opened a Whatsup chat group purposed to assist Lady X quit smoking.

Man Y was highly experiencing pressure from her wife to change his behaviour. This made him to make a decision to quit smoking. However, he never knew on the best way to do it. He shared his decision with his wife who offered to support him in all possible ways. Nevertheless, he still did not have solid reasons for change. He kept telling his wife that he was doing it for her and thus, she should put more effort to change. Nevertheless, Man Y got very severe lungs infection during this stage, which lasted for about two months. He was advised against smoking by his doctor and thus, he had no option than to focus on change. Together with his wife, Man X developed a plan to quit smoking, where based on the plan, he was not supposed to smoke anymore. Thus, the plan was focusing more on coping mechanisms (Bethea et al., 2015).

Action Stage

After setting three weeks as the ideal time to start implementing her change process, Lady X set a reminder and informed her friends to wish her well on that day. This was to ensure that nothing would interfere with her quitting plan. When the reminder alarm rung on her phone, Lady X reflected back on her plan and realized that since she started her quitting plan, she has actually reduced her daily number of sticks to nine. This motivated her and affirmed her decision. It was like a confirmation that she was going to make it. She realized that the reduction of the amount taken did not have major effect on her and thus, she established that this was the best way to go (Danielle et al., 2015). She decided to keep on reducing her daily intake week after week. To enhance this, she took one of her friend’s suggestions of watching various videos on effect of smoking and second-hand smoke on children any time she felt a great urge of breaking the rules (Gantiva et al., 2015). Lady X also developed a habit of reading any material she could get on the effect of smoking and second-hand smoking on human health. All this assisted in motivating her and inspiring her to keep on fighting, not just for herself but for her child and other children in her surroundings. During this time, Lady X encountered a number of challenges and obstacles (Lenio, 2006). However, with her friends’ advises, she used to document all these challenges and find a way to overcome them. This includes determining obstacles that would make her fall back into smoking or give up her mission and identifying various ways to overcome them (Sarband et al., 2013). According to her, her smoking crew was one of greatest obstacle. She had to stop going out with them, by giving one excuse or another to avoid their company. This ensured that she was not influenced to go against her desires. Regular chat and visits to her friends who were supporting her gave her strength to continue (Kleinjan et al., 2007). This went on for about six months before she decided to completely stop using tobacco.

Man X’s wife eliminated all that could make her husband consider smoking in the house. Man X had no option than to follow the new medical instructions and stick to his wife’s strict rules. In this regard, he together with his wife inquired on the measures to be taken to fight craving for tobacco and to handle withdrawal symptoms. His wife encouraged him to avoid peers who could influence him back to smoking with and focus on his health (Ochsner, et al., 2014). Nevertheless, he always felt that he loved smoking and his health was the only major cause of his quitting. He remained without using cigarette for three months, wresting with withdrawal symptoms and other challenges such as strong monitoring from his wife .


After six month, Lady X was able completely survive without taking any cigarette. She felt a great sense of self-fulfilment and joy. Although she felt guilt for the damage she had caused to others through second-hand smoke, she was happy that she could not do it anymore. Her child’s growth in her womb and his later birth gave her the power to reaffirm her commitment to do away with smoking completely. She knew that quitting smoking gave assurance of her health and that of her child. Thus, she continued employing different efforts to ensure that she did not go back to smoking. It is now 4 years since she stopped smoking and she can gracefully confirm that she quitted smoking (Prochaska et al., 1997).

The main reason for abstinence ended when Man X was confirmed well by his doctors. His lungs infection was completely cured. This reported acted as a go ahead for him. Though he had managed to live without tobacco for three months, the urge to smoke anytime he found people smoking was growing. He could deliberately do passive smoking by standing near a smoking person and one day, he could not resist the urge to ask for a puff. To him, it was only a single puff to fight the cravenness. However, this marked the beginning of his relapse, he could smoke while hiding from his wife, and with time he was able to admit to his wife that he could not live without smoking (Mallin, 2002).


Smoking is one of negative behaviours that an individual can adopt either on his or her own or by the influence of the environment. Changing individual smoking behaviour without professional’s help can be quite challenging since it is always easy to divert from the set individual goals. In the reviewed cases, Lady X was successful in her quitting plan since she had a strong motivating factor. In addition, she had a strong support from her friends who were happy in her decision. The urge to offer her child a better and healthy life increased her effort to overcome the need to smoke. Man Y on the other hand was not convinced that he needed to smoke. The pressure always originated from others and thus, he could not stick to his decision for long.


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