Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quit Smoking In 6 Months: part 2

When I decided that I had smoked long enough and it was time to quit, I set my long-term intention (see the first article in the series) as well as daily short-term goals.

If you have been using tobacco products for some time, you know how hard it is to quit. You throw away your cigarettes or other tobacco product, and start out determined to change your life. Not too far into the process, you find the desire to indulge increasing. You tell yourself, “no, I’m not going to smoke”. You try hard to keep your will power strong, but usually, in the end, you give in. It’s just too challenging and the rewards too nebulous for your will power to be successful.

I want to congratulate you for quitting for however short a time you were successful! And you were successful! Even if only for an hour, or for a day or even years. When you succumbed and picked the habit back up, it’s not because you failed. You picked it up again because you were trying to get your needs met. The trick here is to change the response to certain triggers in your environment or your mind that bring you back to smoking (or any other habit).

Following is the process I used to quit smoking. You can use this process for just about any habit you want to change, or any change you want to bring into your life. My long-term intention was to be smoke free.

Step 1: Set your intention.

The first thing I did was focus on all the things about smoking I didn’t like. I was tired of spending so much money on something that was smelly, dirty and unhealthy; I didn’t like smelling like an ashtray; my health was beginning to suffer; I was short of breath; and it was getting more expensive every day. Writing these down and getting really focused on what I didn’t want helped me shift into what I did want.
Connecting to what I did want and setting the timeframe to accomplish it was the next step. I firmly put in mind the results I wanted to achieve and set my intention to be tobacco free within 6 months.

Next I set daily goals. I took it in small steps.  I wrote down daily my intentions and goals in the form of affirmation and repeated them throughout the day.

There is something about putting pen to paper and getting our thoughts and feelings out that works deep down in our subconscious. It almost seems, at times, that the act of working things through in writing allows us to reprogram our subconscious, especially if we are doing it over and over. So, to set an intention, write out what the overall goal is you want to achieve, then look at how you can accomplish this goal on a daily basis.

Step 2: Affirm your intention at least twice a day.

I decided that there were three basic things I would do every day to make myself more conscious of smoking. First, I wouldn’t smoke in my car. Second, I wouldn’t smoke in my house. And third, whenever I thought I wanted a cigarette, I would put it off for at least 10 minutes, then half an hour, then an hour, and so on, while getting involved in something I enjoyed. Whenever we shift our focus of attention, our mind has to follow along. It can’t focus on more than one or two things at a time. By shifting from smoking to something I liked, I was able to put off smoking eventually for long periods of time. I just forgot to have that cigarette 10 minutes later.

As I became more consciously aware of my habit, I quit the automatic lighting up. The more clear I became about my goals, the longer I was able to go without smoking.

Every morning, I wrote out my affirmations and set my intentions for the day. I said them aloud several times to allow my mind to hear and see them.  I used as many of my senses as I could. Soon I was comfortable not smoking in my car or my house.  And there were times it was just too inconvenient to get up and go outside.

I had reminders on my fridge, bathroom mirror, the dashboard of my car. A reminder might be one of your intentions, or the final goal. Mine was, “I am smoke free.

Look for Part 3 of the series, How To Quit Smoking In Six Months.
Copyright 2010

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