In my last post I talked about the idea that quitting will become easier if you can wrap your brain around the idea that quitting is not actually about “giving up” something.
It’s normal to feel that quitting IS about giving something up – most people do. But when you start from that viewpoint you’re halfway down the path of failure, because no matter how much you want to quit, you’re just not fully committed.
It’s not win-win.
It’s not all good.
There’s this dark side to quitting for you that sounds like, “I’m losing my best friend.” “I won’t be able to enjoy my coffee any more.” “I can’t relax without a cigarette.” “I can’t de-stress without a cigarette.” “I can’t have any fun without a cigarette, and I’m gonna end up fat and cranky and miserable, and maybe even divorced and unemployed, and it’s just not worth it.”
At least some of those are there for you, right? So take a minute to re-read those, and figure out which ones are resonating inside your head. Acknowledge them. They’re there, and that’s OK – for now.
The thing about it is, whatever is resonating for you feels really, really true, doesn’t it? You probably even experienced some of them when you tried to quit last time, right? So I get it – it’s really hard to buy the idea that quitting isn’t about giving something up. That’s not what your experience is telling you.
The point I’m trying to make here is this: It feels true to you that quitting means giving something up. So to seriously consider the opposite requires that you develop the ability to question your own beliefs.
It doesn’t mean you have to immediately buy into someone else’s belief, including mine – I’m not asking you to become a mindless follower and not think for yourself. I’m just asking whether you’re willing to consider the possibility that something that really feels true for you just might not be true.
So… are you? If you are, read on.
The first exercise is to simply spend a few moments considering what an optimal outcome for you would be with regard to quitting. That is, what would it be like if the “downsides” you’re imagining turned out differently than what you’ve experienced so far? What would that look like in your life?
For instance, if you feel that you wouldn’t know how to relax, what would it look like if you DID know how to relax without smoking? Take a few moments and think about what that would look like for you. Be specific, and feel free to “make up” whatever feels right to you about how that might look in your life.
I invite you to share in the comments below what you imagined as an optimal outcome for one or more of your dark-side areas. In my next few posts I’ll help you debunk some of the specific losses that you may be worried about.