Preparing yourself for change – Part 2

In these 3 short videos, behavioural expert Sonia Friedrich talks about preparing yourself for the big change of becoming an ex-smoker. She takes you through 3 steps to help improve your chances of success:

  1. Understanding your behaviour
  2. Overcoming the fear of loss
  3. Breaking the habit 

Step 2: Overcoming the fear of loss 

Many smokers are worried that their lives will be empty when they stop smoking. Sonia explains that as human beings, we actually fear loss twice as much as we value gaining something.1

 She suggests that one way of coping is to take your fear away from one area and put it somewhere else. You can do this using 'penalties', where you trick your brain into worrying about something else more than you worry about the loss of smoking. 

Sonia suggests having some fun with this: 

  • Think about someone you absolutely would not want to give money to: a certain football team, perhaps? 
  • Write down your commitment: "I will give $XX to YYYY if I have a cigarette". Then give the contract to someone who will hold you accountable. 
  • Doing this, shifts your brain from worrying about not having a cigarette to worrying about giving $500 for example, to that football team you may not support.  
  • You've tricked your brain into fearing something other than not smoking. 

To become an ex-smoker, you'll also need to break the habit. Sonia gives you some practical pointers next.

©Pfizer 2020. Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800 675 229. Sydney, Australia. PP-CHM-AUS-1105, 05/2020


1. Interaction Design Foundation. Loss Aversion Theory - The Economics of Design. Accessed 14 May 2020