If you had asked me before, if I was a fearful person – I would probably have laughed at you.
Me? Scared? Absolutely not. Do you know who I am? The stuff I have been through? Please. I don’t trust people, but that’s about as close to fear as I get. I would have gotten very ‘holier than thou’ about the question.
But recently I have been making some changes, as well as trying to take a deeper look at myself. I realized that fear has been a big part of my life – I was just in denial.
See, I have wanted to quit smoking for probably 5 years now, but something always stops me – I get this overwhelming feeling and thoughts start racing through my mind. Thoughts like “How am I going to live life without smoking?” cigarettes were such a big part of my life, so intertwined into my daily routine that I didn’t know if I could go about my day without them. Literally, it felt like ending my relationship with my best friend – cigarettes were always there for me.
I know it sounds crazy – but if you have ever been a smoker (or had an addiction) you probably understand.
I remembered having this feeling before, on a much more intense level – the first time I tried to quit using drugs. They had become so intertwined into my life, every moment of every day revolved around drugs. Every thought, every move, everything had something to do with getting or using or finding money to get more. They were my god, my dearest friend, my top priority.
I still vividly remember that night, the first time I tried to quit using. I literally cried myself to sleep not knowing how I was going to live without drugs. No idea how a life without drugs would even look. How do normal people live? Unfortunately, I only made it a few months that time – however, it was long enough to show me that it was at least possible to live without drugs.
Now, here I am 5 years later – feeling some of those same feelings again only this time it is about cigarettes. Fear. Action conquers fear, and I know this – from experience even. I have proven this to be true in my own life in several areas – but I just couldn’t seem to implement it with cigarettes.
Then I am sitting in a Leadership Convention in Des Moines and I hear this quote:
“Make a decision, then work to make the decision right” -Chris Brady (Bestselling Author, CEO of LIFE Leadership, Inc. Magazine’s Top 50 Leaders)
I’ve heard this quote so many times. For me, it was one of those things that I heard over and over and would occasionally quote to someone else in passing or while giving advice. But the depth of it never really hit me. Not until I heard it again at that convention. (Maybe I am just hardheaded and learn best by repetition?)
I was sitting there in my thoughts, thinking (yet again) about quitting smoking… Not out of the ordinary. Since, as I said – it crossed my mind regularly.
The thought process always goes like this:
I really would like to stop smoking.
Yes, I should stop. Okay, I am going to stop. Yeah! This is it. No more smoking.
Okay, but maybe I should get through (insert life event here) first.
Yeah, but after that I will definitely stop. I will set a date to stop, that’s a good idea.
(Sets date) (Set date passes, still smoking. Justifying why I am still smoking)
And so on…
So that was what was going through my mind. Feeling annoyed with myself, knowing that this is how it was going to go, I hear the speaker quote that familiar quote. “Make the decision, then work to make the decision right.” I’m not sure why, but it hit me totally different this time.
What I heard was – Jorjia, just make the decision and then follow through on it. Regardless of the life events, what emotions you are feeling, what people around you are doing. Just decide that none of that matters – because the decision has been made. As Nike says, “Just do it.” Period.
I felt energized. I felt like maybe I really could do this. Maybe it really was that simple, just make the decision. Something inside of me shifted.
I took advantage of that feeling and I wrote a letter to myself – stating all the reasons why I was stopping and how I was feeling at that moment. The confidence and the fact that all I had to do was not smoke today. Just focus on today. Or this minute. Just follow through on the decision.
Now, I am not going to lie. It hasn’t been easy. I have wanted to smoke a cigarette every single day.
But I am happy to say that today I have been over a month without a cigarette.
Things I have implemented are:
- Drinking way more water (When I have a really bad craving, I have started chugging a glass of water. I have no idea if there is science behind this but I think it’s a healthy alternative and it gets my mind off the craving)
- Filling my time with more productive things (Smoking took up a lot more of my time than I realized. So now I am filling this free time with things like reading, writing and exercise so that I am not bored, since boredom is a big trigger for me to want to smoke)
- For the first week or so, I got myself something small (Like a coffee, or .99 cent pair of flip flops or whatever, something small and cheap) every day that I didn’t smoke so that I had something to look forward to so long as I didn’t smoke.
- Journaling and talking to others about where I am at and how I am feeling. Honesty and ‘telling on myself’ has been huge for me.
Hopefully if there is anyone reading this who is struggling with smoking, or making some other decision that is weighing on them -this will help.
“Just make the decision, then work to make the decision right.”