My goodness, we are creatures of habit, aren’t we?! Every morning I ritualistically line up 4 glasses of water on the worktop and chuckle to myself. I picture the creation of habits of like a lawn mower cutting grass. Neural path ways in the brain take time to create and it’s easy to keep on mowing the same route until the grass doesn’t grow so much and there’s a path that you go down, always going the same way. It takes conscious effort and persistence to change a habit. I moved the location of the bin in my kitchen and was intrigued to see that it does, as the experts say, take about 28 days to establish a new habit and break an old one. Had to get a new kitchen floor as well due to wear and tear.
What habit would you like to change? I used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day and I gave up about 7 years ago. Cigarettes were like punctuation in my day and there were lots of full stops, commas and dashes. I’d tried everything; hypnosis, collecting old butts in jam jars and keeping them on my desk in water, buying smaller packets, patches. You name it, I tried it. Do you know how I cracked it? It was three things; 1) I kept a diary of how I felt before, during and after a cigarette which gave me insights about the triggers, 2) I thought about how to deal with the triggers and ‘fill the gap’, e.g. playing a song which gave me a ‘feel good time out break’ without the smoke and 3) I realised that smoking was stopping me from getting what I want.
At that time, I especially wanted to be more creative, and sitting on the sofa one day, with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other, I observed myself, I was inhaling in the gap between my thoughts. This is the space where insights emerge and creativity happens. I was stopping myself from being more creative. The light came on – an ‘aha moment’ as we call it in coaching. Armed with this insight, which ironically having a fag break and time to think had given me, I stubbed out the cigarette and haven’t touched one since. Don’t worry you smokers out there, I haven’t become all evangelical and anti smoking, in fact I think that non-smokers would benefit from time out 5 minutes breaks too – time to think. But that topic is one for another blog.
Sometimes smoking is a displacement activity, in other words you are doing it to avoid looking at what really needs looking at, like changing your job or career. For the FREE 30 page “Pain free career change” report, click on this link: