Psychology Paper |

Psychology Paper

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Student’s Name
Professor’s Name
Psychology Paper
1. Goal Setting
Smoking is one of the most significant causes of lung cancer which is acknowledged as
the leading cause of cancer-related deaths resulting in over 150,000 deaths annually in the United
States (Armitage and Arden, 789). For that reason, as a habitual smoker, I recognized that I had
the responsibility to quit smoking considering the benefits of smoking cessation are endless, with
good health being among the notable rewards. By stopping smoking, I reduced the risk of a heart
attack as well as those associated with high levels of carbon monoxide in my blood and
improved my sense of smell and lung capacity. Besides, by quitting smoking, I rewired my brain
subsequently breaking the addiction cycle, prevented the development of emphysema, and
helped in the return of cilia in my lungs. However, "the process of quitting smoking is easier said
than done" (Aveyard et al.). Having tried to quit smoking, I understand how it is complicated.
2. Monitoring
After implementing my behavioral change strategies, I decided to develop a smoking
behavior cigarette tally sheet, so that to successfully track my progress and establish a ‘baseline'.
According to, Aveyard et al. smoking is psychological, behaviourally and physically addictive.
Hence, it was important that I understood my smoking behavior as a way of quitting the habit.
The tally sheet came in handy as it helped me establish various factors concerning my smoking
behavior, I was able to notice certain patterns for example, when, where, why and with whom I
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smoked with at different times. To break these patterns, it was vital that I deeply understand my
smoking behavior on my way to full recovery. Below is my final tally sheet indicating every
time I did light up a cigarette.
7:00 AM
7:00 AM
7:00 AM
1:00 PM
1:00 PM
4:00 PM
4:00 PM
9:00 PM
9:00 PM
9:00 PM
3. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
To quit smoking most of the smokers have a mixture of motivations such as extrinsic and
intrinsic (Armitage and Arden, 789). An intrinsic motivation describes the change in behavior
that is driven by internal rewards. Intrinsic motivators include knowledge, accomplishment, and
stimulation. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is defined as the change of behavior that is
inspired by praise, grades, fame, and money as external rewards. Intrinsic motivation has its
origin from inside a person; however, extrinsic motivation has its source outside of an individual.
There are different rewards of extrinsic motivation, for example, unexpected rewards,
performance-contingent rewards, and completion contingent rewards. To increase the smoking
cessation rates the knowledge about extrinsic and intrinsic motivators is very significant to the
problematic process (Treasure & Treasure, 223).
During my smoking behavior change, I derived my best driving forces from intrinsic
motivators most especially because they are intrinsically rewarding. It is important that I
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acknowledge the “process of withdrawing from smoking proves to be challenging and difficult”
(Aveyard et al.). In consequence, intrinsic motivators stayed with me through the most
demanding phase of cessation, termed as withdrawal symptoms. By a smoker being intrinsically
motivated they increase the chances of successfully quitting that those individuals motivated
extrinsically. Due to the result being temporary extrinsic motivators do not adequately help a
person to quit smoking. For example, regarding women smokers, pregnancy cannot be termed as
a lasting solution for one to quit smoking. Hence it is essential for one to find a long-lasting
4. Maslow and Motivation
McLeod explains that in "psychology the Maslow's hierarchy of needs can be termed as a
motivational theory that is made up of five-tier model human needs. This model is described as
the hierarchical levels within a pyramid." The Maslow (1943, 1954) explains that in most cases
individuals are motivated to attain specific needs, where some needs are prioritized as opposed to
others. The most primary need is survival, for that reason, the need for a better and healthy life
acted as a motivator towards me quitting smoking. For that reason, after a full behavioral change,
the next level in life is what motivated me to keep going on.
Figure 1: Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (McLeod).
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As depicted in Figure 1 the pyramid is a five-tier model namely; psychological, safety,
love, esteem and self-actualization. The top level represents the being needs while the remaining
four levels represent the deficiency needs. My smoking cessation lies within the deficiency needs
as they arise from deprivation and such due to being unmet I was motivated even more. The
challenges I encountered, most especially the withdrawal symptoms led to my motivation
growing stronger for as long as I felt I was being denied the chance to overcome my addiction.
For instance, the more I stayed without smoking, the healthier I became. Smoking cessation
signified a step of growth, thus by beating off my addiction I increased my chances of
experiencing the highest level of the hierarchy of needs. However, the various challenges during
the withdrawal phase risked derailing my progress.
5. Counter motives
According to Treasure and Treasure (223) quitting smoking is partly dependent on the
level of motivation, for that reason, it is assumed that those people who successfully stop
smoking are characterized with high levels of motivation. The outcome of smoke cessation is
often affected by various "counter-motives." I recognized that my several attempts to quit
smoking failed not because I was less motivated than someone who successfully went through
the exercise. It meant that I had a higher level of nicotine dependence and as such, this gave me
the responsibility to try again and again. Nonetheless, it is significant that I recognize the initial
decision to quit depending on the level of motivation I possessed.
Besides, I did find it quite impossible to define what motivated me to stop smoking and
subsequently maintain cessation. The motivation to quit smoking varies between people, for
instance, my goal was to improve and maintain better physical health this is contrary to an
individual who was motivated by the need to save money. Before I stopped smoking, I did
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believe that I was far capable of doing so. To overcome the ‘counter-motives' I adopted the
concept of self-efficacy which aided my resolve to quit smoking.
6. Learning strategies
To support my smoking cessation, I adopted various psychological Behavior Change
strategies. These strategies involved specific actions that helped me to achieve and maintain
freedom from smoking. Before quitting I did consider the different strategies that would
effectively help me conquer my addiction, this helped me to determine the specific trigger targets
and routines or situations that led me to smoke. Adopting these strategies helped me understand
as a patient that craving to smoke is something that I could deal with and eventually become a
non-smoker. I was able to work with several people who have stopped smoking, and they helped
me develop and practice coping and behavior strategies helpful towards managing my cravings,
moods, coping with stress and so on. As well as being able to remain motivated to quit smoking.
I adopted various change strategies, for example, self-liberation which enabled me to
remain committed to achieving smoking cessation by developing a quit plan as well as
encouraging positive self-talk. Secondly, I adopted stimuli control, as a behavioral change I was
able to plan and avoid stimuli that elicited and supported smoking habits. For that reason, on my
final day, I made the initiative of throwing away all cigarette paraphernalia. Finally, I backed my
behavior change with counter conditioning strategies where I substituted my smoking behavior
with alternatives. Armitage and Arden (781) argue that distractive thinking, relaxation
techniques, abstinence from alcohol and other drugs, oral substitutes, exercise, and so on,
represent effective behavior change strategies towards the maintenance of smoking cessation.
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7. Emotional Barriers
Different emotional factors affected my ability to efficiently implement the behavior
change strategies that would help me quit smoking. These emotional factors included moods and
feelings, sensitivity to others, self-consciousness, decision making, among other issues (Treasure
& Treasure, 223). To deal with moods and feelings, I tried to control and express my emotions
the right way during the withdrawal phase; this helped me avoid the risk of getting into conflict
with others. Besides, I noticed that the more I stayed without smoking, the more my sensitivity to
others increased. As a result, I tried as much as I could to better understand the emotions of other
peoples so that to avoid misreading their intentions. Due to the withdrawal challenges, I was
faced with the challenge of self-consciousness where I compared my progress to that of other
individuals who had successfully gone through the process. Finally, my decision making failed
me at times, as I did find myself in situations that supported smoking. For that reason to avoid
such instances, I always reminded myself the consequences of my actions.
8. Outcomes
I feel proud of my behavior change as I have been able to quit smoking and maintain
cessation. I recognize that by stopping smoking, I reduced the risk of a heart attack as well as the
levels of carbon monoxide in my blood and improved my sense of smell and lung capacity.
Before quitting I did consider the various strategies that would effectively help me conquer my
addiction, this helped me to determine the specific trigger targets and routines or situations that
led me to smoke. However, to be more successful in future to support my behavior change I will
work on improving my decision making, as this will help me to avoid significant lapses. I will
support myself through engaging in “distractive thinking, relaxation techniques, abstinence from
alcohol and other drugs, oral substitutes, exercise, and so on” (Aveyard et al.)
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9. Summary
Through my experiment leading to the achievement of smoking cessation, I have learned
various valuable lessons. For example, quitting smoking has multiple advantages such as by I
rewired my brain subsequently breaking the addiction cycle, prevented the development of
emphysema, and helped in the return of cilia in my lungs. Besides, to stop smoking an individual
should adopt psychological Behavior Change strategies (Armitage & Arden, 798). These
strategies involve specific actions that helped one to achieve and maintain freedom from
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Work Cited
Armitage, Christopher, and Arden, Madalyne. “How useful are the stages of change for targeting
interventions? A randomized test of a brief intervention to reduce smoking." Health
Psychology, vol. 27, no. 6, 2008, pp. 789-798 doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.27.6.789
Aveyard, P, et al. "The effect of Trans-theoretical Model-based interventions on smoking
cessation" Social Science & Medicine, 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.10.036
McLeod, S. “Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.” Simply Psychology. 2017. Available at
Treasure, Tom, and Janet Treasure. “Smoking Cessation.” BMJ: British Medical Journal, vol. 340,
no. 7740, 2010, pp. 223224. JSTOR, JSTOR,

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