Thursday, January 21, 2010

How I gave up smoking for FREE

Are they sexy now?

How I gave up smoking - a little at first, delaying the first cigarette of each day but this eventually lead to a great end result. I now haven't smoked a cigarette for over 10 years.

What brought this memory back was reading
'The Power of Less: Changing Behavior with Leo Babauta on the 'Four Hour Working Week' blog.
This suggests concentrating on changing one habit at a time, over a period of a month. The article says changing more than one habit at a time is counter productive. It also said that starting small and gradually make the challenge bigger leads to more success as you get many more successes behind you this way.

This rang true with how I quit smoking

I was in Thailand, with about a month's money left before I needed to returned to the UK. I was smoking between 10 and 15 cigarettes a day, more if I went out drinking. It was my first time to spend many months travelling and I loved it very much. Which got me thinking, how can I save the money to go traveling again? Quitting was a good option as cigarettes were about 5 pounds a packet back at home, ten times the price they were in Thailand. This made me feel that smoking was daylight robbery in the UK.
I guess that how I started, with a strong vision.... I'll go travelling again, something which I really wanted to do. I also felt passionate about it as I didn't want to give my money away to the UK government.
But despite this strong vision I didn't stop straight away
Here's how I did it;
  • I created a powerful reason for giving up. Also that reason was an award.
  • I smoked my first cigarette of the day at a later time each day. If I did this then the day was a success. The amount of time didn't matter, so as long as it was later.
  • I also couldn't smoke any more cigarettes then the day before. Even if I smoked the same number of cigarettes as the day before but smoked the first cigarette later; the day was still a success.
  • I did this over a period of about two to three weeks until I run out of time and 'number' of cigarettes to smoke.
I haven't smoked since.

War on Smoking
I think the good thing about this approach is that I won in my battle against smoking everyday for 2-3 weeks before I actually stopped smoking. With this success behind me, I was able to continue despite being in a country where cigarettes were cheap and there were plenty of opportunities to go out and party. And I did.
By the time I got back to the UK, I had already stopped for more than 7 days and was able to resist starting again.

If you really want to change a bad habit, I strongly recommend that you read Leo's approach. I'll be using his method to adopt good habits and change bad habits.
I would love to hear from you.
How did you give up? Or are you giving up or want to give up smoking?

The images are ones I took, if you're interested in using them, please leave a comment and a contact email.

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