I used to smoke cigarettes. Not like a pack a day but at least a few sticks, on average, for about 15 years. I never felt like I liked them, I did NOT like smelling like them, and it was a pain trying to cover up the smell going into professional settings. But in a weird way, they made me feel like I was doing something productive while I was taking a break.
How to Quit Smoking with A Busy Lifestyle
What I realize now, looking back on that time, is that I was very “busy” and the cigarettes allowed me to keep “busy” which does not equal PRODUCTIVE.
Breaking the Habit
I recruited an accountability partner. While I was smoking a cigarette at a dinner party I met someone who had smoked for a long time, is now having health complications (and recently several near death experiences) at a mature but still young age. In talking with him, I realized I didn’t want that for myself. I adopted this person as my accountability partner.
I told my accountability partner he inspired me to quit smoking and any time I had the urge to smoke I would message him that I held strong and didn’t smoke. There was no use in being dishonest because that wouldn’t serve either of us. Instead, it was motivation to keep myself honest and accountable to what I had set out to do and he was happy to be a part of changing my life for the better!
Replace Bad Habits with New Good Ones
I had patterns of smoking that I replaced with healthy habits. For example:
|BAD SMOKING HABIT||GOOD HEALTHY HABIT|
|Upon waking up||Adopt a Morning Ab Exercise Routine|
|Before I went into work||Make a list of non-work items I could accomplish that day|
|When things got stressful at work – smoke break||Take a 5 – 10 minute walk around the building to “cool off”|
|After meals||Eat a fruit|
|At social parties going outside to smoke and mingle||Stay inside to mingle and meet people I didn’t know when the smokers go outside|
I found that it was easier for me to replace a habit with something else than to just stop doing an activity during these times completely. This way, I could still get my “busy” fix but ACTUALLY be PRODUCTIVE.
Saying “No” Gave Me Confidence
I gained confidence in myself to say “no” to something so simple which translated into other areas of my life. Cigarettes are like bullies, so when I said “no” to cigarettes and realized I was better off without them, it became easier saying “no” to other things that were keeping me “busy” and tied up from things I’d rather be doing.
For example, I said “No” to…
- following the crowd to places I didn’t care for or thought were dangerous.
- Hanging out with people who were negative or mentally draining.
- Doing things for others that didn’t care to help me when I was in need.
Crazy enough, because I wasn’t doing all the things that were keeping me unnecessarily “busy”, I started finding new, interesting, motivating people, places, and things.
I changed my mindset from believing “I’m addicted” to asking, “is this serving me?” Is this a part of who I am? Quitting smoking cigarettes created the space for me to introduce a lot of other positive changes in the rest of my life.
Enjoy the Results
I like experiencing the results of quitting cigarettes.
- Spending money on trips, beach supplies, camping stuff, or my boo, etc.
- I can breathe better
- I sleep better
- My breath doesn’t stink
- I don’t have to worry about being stinky around my friends, coworkers, or meeting new people.
- I don’t worry about whether or not this habit is going to turn into a disease down the road.
Falling off the Wagon
It took me several tries to quit for longer than a few months because I’d always have some kind of “trigger” or “moment of weakness” usually instigated by alcohol while being social. I thought to myself “oh why not? One won’t hurt.” And then found myself buying a pack the next day.
Then I’d reach out to my accountability partner, when I realized I fell off the wagon and confess I messed up. But it was okay! And I just decided to quit. AGAIN!
Like anything in life, we have to fail forward to make progress. Failure is only the beginning. Here are a few examples of things MOST of us fail at during some point in our lives.
- Relationships: A lot of us have to date around and have bad relationships before we find the perfect match. And sometimes that perfect match doesn’t turn out to be so perfect but we change directions and try again. Some people find love again when they’re in a nursing home! It could be relationships with family members and friends too.
- Jobs: Most of us don’t end up working in a career in the same industry where we started because it didn’t work out for one reason or another. Successful people keep going, even when the shit hits the fan and crap sprays everywhere (figuratively). They clean it up, dust themselves off, and keep going.
- Health: A lot of us make plans to get on a vigorous wellness routine, then have an injury, or a vacation, or a birthday that turns into an extended break from the program. Healthy people still “drop the ball” too. They recognize where they dropped it (often after they’ve taken a breather) and pick it back up and start running again.
Practice Makes Permanent
I don’t get so down on myself anymore for messing up. When I was “busy” beating myself up about screwing up, I was missing out on other opportunities that served me better.
Now I focus more on practicing the good habits and if I slip up, recognize where I went wrong, move on, and try not to do it again.
Things don’t have to be PERFECT to reap the benefits. The key for me has been to be honest with myself and be as consistent with my thoughts about who I am, what I want to achieve, and what I want to experience out of life while I’m here.
You Can Do It!
So, the next time you think about picking up a cigarette, think to yourself:
- Is this serving me?
- Do I want this to be part of who I am?
- Do I want this to influence my life and my family down the road?
If NO, this is a great time to think about replacing your smoking habit with some better habits that will allow you to continue to be “busy” but a lot more “productive” in a way that serves you.
Be Bold! Go Beyond!
If you are looking at kick starting a health fitness plan and new healthy habits, check out this free On Demand Video Training that will help you!
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