Category Archives: Quit Smoking

Blogging 101: Dream Reader

Life is a crooked and varied path.  Get on it.  That is what I want to tell people.

I’m not kidding when I say that a funny thing happened on the way to quitting smoking; I got a life. I’m dead serious.  Before I quit smoking I was on a constant run of being half-assed and not quite right.

Oh, I did a lot.  The more time got short the more often I had to just make do.  By the time I could catch my breath I was off planning the next birthday, the next holiday, the next girl scout meeting, the next trip.  I was always running from one job to the next trying to please multiple leaders with my work ethic.  I usually held two or three jobs in trying to manipulate my schedule.  First to avoid paying for day care then later to be everywhere the kids were.

I’m a B personality who worked in highly competitive atmospheres.  I lived for years on the edge of yelling, “sit down and shut up!” But I couldn’t put my finger on what was really going on and instead I whined, “That’s not fair.”  I knew those co-worker were alike and I was different so I had to fix me to keep up.  And I tried, because I wasn’t going to let them stop me.  The more I tried, the more I felt like they shoved me aside, or at least held back.

My generation was to take the baton of feminism and be a success with it because all the generations before me had fought hard and won equality.  Somewhere along the line I realized I had become this anti-feminist, feminist.  I did what I was told and I didn’t know why it wasn’t working!  I was supposed to be happy and all I could see was that I was half-assed and not quite right.

Well as the way change usually happens, it all came to a screeching halt and I was the one who sat down and shut up.  “young and twenty” recently posted an axiom “you’ll never understand the way things pass until you step aside.”  That is exactly what I did.  I gave myself several quiet days and went about my day as I watched and learned.  There were two experiments that I did.

To quit smoking I started off with False Quit Dates.  I’d set a quit date which would bring up an excuse to quit quitting and start smoking again.  So I’d work on that excuse and then set another false quit date.  I kept setting them until there was nothing left but the real quit date. And I made it.  I quit smoking.

In the middle of all that I stopped and worked on my fruity experiment.  As a kid I got mad at my Grandma for trying to teach me the Fruit of the Spirit Bible verse as I was having trouble memorizing it.  Well because of that I recognized it when I saw it as an adult, and made a note of the verse and where I could find it.

One Christmas I saw Love, Joy, Peace everywhere, when it struck me … What if, you can’t get to the love, joy, peace until you enact the Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control?  ???

I stopped the False Quit Dates and I took one virtue a day and used it against anything that came up in my day.  I started with Patience.  Turned out I learned some things and I wanted another day.  Then I took another day and did it with kindness.  Turns out kindness only works when you are kind to yourself too, this was no Random acts of kindness exercise.  The difference was, I wasn’t putting things out there.  I was responding to events that came my way and not all those events were kind.

These two experiences gave way to other epiphanies such as:

  • You can care without worry.
  • I am not naughty, naughty, naughty.  I am an adult.
  • Be responsible without being held accountable.
  • Life is not fair.  Quit trying to make it fair.
  • Control yourself; Not others.
  • Be honest.
  • Don’t rely on motivation.  I work on my non-motivation skills.
  • Don’t make douche bag choices.

I am sharing information and I am a writer marketing my books about my experience.  My Dream Reader is someone who also has an interest in these topics.

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Day 28 NaBloPoMo; Motivation 3rd post of 3 part series.

In the first parts I talk about how fleeting motivation is and I talk about how I had to work on non-motivational skills to carry out some of my goals.  That leaves, what to do when motivation strikes?

Go for it!  Like I said motivation is fleeting, capture it when you can.

Just remember to keep things balanced.  Shower, cook and eat your meals, get enough sleep, and spend time with loved ones.

This is where the work in my non-motivational skills hit home.  If I went to bed which can halt my motivation I can keep up the task even though my motivation waned.

For instance this month.  I was able to meet multiple goals.  My personal NaMo project was to create a timeline for a fiction series that I might get to someday.  Once I found out about the blog posting challenge, I thought that was a great way to build a new blog.  I was highly motivated. But, since I did some work to not rely on motivation, I still was able to get some work done on my timeline and I kept at it for most of the month.

Then my editor returned my manuscript for my next book and I was highly motivated to get it published. After that, it was a daily fight between a daily blog post and to format daily until published, until I got it done.

Not to mention my hours increased at work; cutting into my writing time and my cleaning time.

Now that I mention it, I was also not as motivated to clean my floors or my oven, instead I kept choosing to work on my blog and formatting my book.  Since I wasn’t waiting around for motivation to strike, I found pockets of time to clean and I finished a day a head of time.

I did short myself of some sleep, but the culmination of everything is winding down.  Thanksgiving is over.  I published my book and I’m having a free giveaway day tomorrow, (Saturday) and another one on Cyber Monday.  I have a new project simmering and NaBloPoMo is ending this weekend.

The only thing that took a real backseat this month is my exercising and running.  Earlier this year, my running friend wanted us to join in on the jingle run we have right before our Christmas light parade.  Umm,   I guess that was tonight.  Like right now.  Well motivated or not I blew that goal.

Humph.  Maybe there is a New Years Day run….

Is it hard to quit smoking? Is quitting easy?

When it’s all said and done, quitting smoking wasn’t the hardest thing I ever did.

Well, it wasn’t easy either.

It sure was one of the longest … at least until I started writing books.

Quitting smoking was probably the most aggravating thing I had ever done.

I know I always figured I could try again later.

I just love how “they” tell us that quitting smoking is more addictive than heroin, yet “they” tell us to quit, without going into treatment … they say to keep on working, keep on parenting, keep your routine and just make people understand that you are trying to quit.

Anything that has to do with quitting smoking is a bunch of double speak.  You need to shut that out and listen to yourself.  Eventually you will even shut me out because you will have narrowed down your focus to just you and your goal.

That nic fit eventually subsides.  The trick is to put up with the aggravation until it doesn’t become an aggravation any more.  It was easier to handle when I quit having expectations and I rode it out.  My goal was to outlast the withdrawal and I had to prepare for it.  The only way I could do that was to shut everything out and listen to myself.

Before my Real Quit Date, I took a look at how I approach things in the frame of “hard or easy”.  I didn’t do anything new, I went through my day and was aware of how I approached any given situation.

I discovered:

  • if I expected easy, I may have procrastinated, because it was easy.
  • if I went into a project and it was harder than expected, I would get upset.
  • if I went into something thinking it was hard, I did it, but I dragged my feet with the extra burden.  I actually made it harder than it was.

After that I tried to quit judging things as hard or easy.  Although, I didn’t give it up entirely.  I do like to do all the easy stuff first, so I can take time on the hard stuff without thinking I still need to allow time for 10 other things.  After all, that is how I approached smoking.  Challenge all the easy aggravations first and there is no choice but to reveal the hard ones and face them.

But mostly, I just had to allow the time to heal.  I smoked for over 25 years.  There is a lot of healing going on.  I had to submit and just let it happen because I didn’t have control over my body healing.  I didn’t know how long it was going to take.  I just had to abstain from smoking long enough to trust myself not to pick up a cigarette on a whim … or at least the first excuse I could find.  I had to quit quitting” only for the reason that I wanted to move on to something else.  I had to view looking forward to quitting more than I viewed it as a pesky problem that was impossible to do.

I’m willing to bet that right-now your view-point of quitting as pesky and problematic is greater than your desire to quit.

Your successful quit date will come once you turn that around.

Day 14 NaBloPoMo; Drop the Competition

Take one day and count how many times you felt the pang of competition.   All of it; from you and against you.  No one has to know what you are doing, just go through your day being aware.

There are so many different kinds:

Racing against time

  • be on time
  • to get it all done on time.
  • besting your former time

Competition between people

  • one on one
  • team competitions
  • someone trying to win you over
  • someone trying to be better than you
  • to be better than others
  • proving intelligence

Competition with self

  • improve performance
  • perfectionism
  • do more

The challenge is to take a couple of days and drop all competition.  I’m not talking about making any life changing changes from now on.  All I am saying is to take one day and get curious.  What would a whole day without being competitive be like?  Now, I didn’t have as huge of a shift as I did from You Can Care Without Worry, but it was big enough.  Well, from that, I didn’t worry about not being competitive.

This has been a huge relief, because I am not a competitive person, although I acted like it because that’s what I was taught, or I felt that everyone was competing with me whether I wanted to or not.

As I look back on my life some of my worst, uncharacteristic moments had come out of a sense that everything was a competition and everyone was involved, so I am glad it is over.

It felt like I erased competition, then rebooted it and found my good sportsmanship.  I’ve been able to take part in some good-natured teasing.  I’ve been able to support opposing players.  I’ve been able to stay on task and not worry about everyone else.  Having fun is fun again.

After the fact I still have problems when people try to compete with me, so I rely on the fact that I can only control myself and not others.  Although I find it humorous that people compete in a noncompetitive situation.

Day 11 NaBloPoMo; You Can Care Without Worry

quote: Corrie Ten Boom

quote: Corrie Ten Boom

If I could eliminate one thing to worry about? It would be worry.

One of the most powerful epiphanies I ever had, one where I literally felt my universe shift, was that I can care without worry.

They are two different things!   Worry is worry and caring is caring.  I don’t have to demonstrate worry to show that I care.

I actually had to take a couple of days to work on this one.   I had to catch myself when I felt I had to demonstrate worry, and think quickly, okay I’m not worried, don’t be worried: just care …  how do I care? … why do I care?  … what do I do because I care?   And the biggie, if worried is not involved; what is caring?

Most of the time the “shift” was about taking my focus of me and what I do and say and place my focus on listening to the other person or pay attention to the situation.

  • Simply put, I shut up and nod when other people talk.
  • I quit trying to prove that I understand by telling my story when they are telling theirs.
  • I quit trying to cover all bases and answer questions before they were asked.
  • I quit trying to prove my intelligence, in the face of whatever is a concern to them.

The result is they feel cared for.

If it is a situation, plans formulate to take action, but only after a complete understanding of the situation. No wasted time.  No wasted effort.  No explanations of, “I thought.”  No embarrassment.

I do dishes and clean the floors because I care about my house, not because I am worried about what other people think.  Or worry that things are getting out of control.  The surprising thing, is this comes in really handy when I don’t have time to get it done.  Since I know I care, I just find a time to do it when I can and get it done then.  No regrets about what I did instead.

Furthermore, now when I care, I actually care.  I am more formidable because I have passion instead of worry.  I can act swiftly because I don’t have the weight of the world on me.  I don’t worry about being wrong.  If I truly care, I am staying on topic and moving forward.

*****

In the spirit of Veteran’s Day, if we could eliminate one worry?  That would be to resolve the conflicts and bring our troops home.

Day 9 NaBloPoMo; My Work in Non-motivation pt. 2 of 3

I spent some time working on “non” motivational skills before I quit smoking.  I was looking for something to sustain myself through the withdrawal.  In the past when my motivation had waned, I’d quit quitting, and would decide to try again later when my willpower was stronger.

With the False Quit Dates, I was getting tired of relying on motivation.  It was a frustrating lesson because motivation is so fleeting.  Motivation has peaks and valleys of energy flow.  If my to-do list consists of exercising and cleaning house, motivation may have me expending my energy to one so I can avoid the other.  Sometimes, when I was sitting around waiting for motivation to manifest itself, I could have done the chore.  There were times where motivation had never come.

Instead of waiting for motivation, I was training myself to just get it done.  I’ve never been in a job that I particularly loved nor was a natural extension of myself.  I’ve never been motivated to go to work.  Except I do, everyday, rarely call in sick, and do my best while I am there. I also may whine all the way through it, but! I show up, do my job, get paid and pay my bills.

Why am I doing this?  Honor.  Integrity.  Money.  Fear of being lazy.  I want to succeed. (Although success has more to do with my back up plans.) But seriously? Because when hired, I said I would show up and do the work.  I made an agreement with my employer, I’m told what time to show up and I show up.

Overlay this onto cleaning house. A lot of my lessons in motivation centered around household chores and adjusting my attitude towards them. First I had to ignore the urge to look inward for that quickening that brings energy and excitement to mundane things.  You know, when all done to go, “Wow, that was fast!  And so easy!” — Don’t search for it.  Don’t wait for it. — I say I’m going to do the chore.  I allow enough time for the chore. (It’s not race nor competition to best any times set in the past.)  I do the chore, because I said I would and it is time.

I did keep it kind of loose, like…  I need 20 minutes before work, after work, before bed, but, I had to get it done that day.

Again, overlay this lesson on to quitting smoking.  I continued with the False Quit Dates because I knew being ready wasn’t just going to come from nowhere.  I learned how to be ready and be ready without a doubt in my mind.  I was making some big moves, such as putting money down on a cabin.  I was going to leave my family for two weeks.  I was to be by myself with no distractions and no excuses.  Most of all, no cigarettes. I was also giving myself every opportunity to quit without those big moves.  If I didn’t quit at the end of this, I was never going to quit.   But I did.  Because I was ready and because I didn’t rely on motivation or will power.  I quit because I wanted to quit and I said I was going to quit and I allowed enough time to finish the quit.  (the withdrawal)

These days, I overlay this lesson on exercising.  Even though I have all this knowledge, it is hard keep it routine.  I haven’t done any real exercising for over two weeks now, but in the meantime, I got a lot of other stuff done.  Does that make it right?  Does that make it okay?  I can say that it’s different from exercising a few years ago, I’m not so negative about downtime.  I know I will pick it up again.  I also believe the downtime is shorter in duration.  I don’t wait for motivation to schedule a time to exercise.

Working on my “non-motivational skills” has been one of my best time savers.

My Work in Non-motivation pt. 1 of 3

Hating It Is Not Relevant

Nebraska storm by Anne Goforth

Nebraska storm by Anne Goforth

Today, I’m cleaning cupboards, doing laundry, dishes and cooking, all while still feeling the effects of the time change.  I’ve spent most of the day alone and winter is threatening to appear on Monday.  Now I am feeling the pressure of completing my November goals of NaBloPoMo and doing something on my timeline before midnight. All in all I have to say I’m having a pretty good day. It has been four years since I’ve done the work to quit smoking and back then I wouldn’t have said that about today.  I’d be in a panic, spurring to get everything done and would stay up until 4:00 am if I had to.  If I went to bed without finishing my projects, something might have come up and I might start another project before finishing the first one.

Today I’m more trusting that I am going to finish a project after getting some sleep, but the biggest impact I had for a day like today is, hating it is not relevant, because you have to do it anyway.

How often do you hear someone say, I can’t stand doing dishes.  I hate dusting.  I will not do windows. All I get in the mail are bills, I hate bills.  How often in a day do you say and hear someone say I hate ___.  Just take one day to listen for it.  You don’t have to do anything about it, just listen for it.  Then take into consideration does it make a difference if you hate it or not?  You still don’t need to do anything about it, just be aware.

For instance, I hated doing dishes, so I never wanted to do them.  I’d put them off, but then there would be more.  Soon, I would run out of dishes and if I wanted a dish I would need to wash it.  There were always other things that I needed to do, but I always had to stop and wash dishes.  The solution? Quit hating it.  Most people think that they can’t help if they hate it or not.  I found that wasn’t true. The trick was that I wasn’t forcing myself to like it. It is not a one or the other deal.  All I had to do was to quit hating it. If dishes need to be done everyday, why put in the time to hate it everyday.

There was a transition period where I had to give myself constant reminders to not hate it, but eventually the not-hating won out.  I found rhythm and routine and now I can get it done without getting all bent out of shape.  It’s been nice.

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