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Those who do not find time for health will sooner or later have to find time for illness.
Being healthy for me has become a much higher priority than before (here’s a post about it). I’m feeling better than ever, and I don’t get sick anymore. Do you know how much energy that saves me? I see no reason to spend money on medicine and doctors when you can just avoid it in the first place.
Over the last years I have ended a lot of bad addictions, and I have become really good at letting go of things that doesn’t serve me in the long run. No regrets. Of course you can always avoid getting addicted in the first place, but then you’ll miss the pleasure out of quitting!
My strength comes from pure will, but there are tricks and techniques you can use to make it easier. Let me share some of my thoughts about it.
First of all, do you really wanna be a quitter?
Not all addictions are that bad. Don’t even try to quit something unless you have good reasons for it. Drinking that morning coffee might just be beneficial, who knows? Science isn’t explicit. I eat chocolate (dark) every day, and I love it. Not going to stop, ever.
But when you have an addiction and bad habits that you know for sure that’s not going to benefit you and holding you back in life, then you need to start doing something about it. Rather sooner than later, because the deeper in, the harder to get out. Addictions only exists if you let them.
1. Decide when you’re at your weakest
It’s not that hard deciding that you want to quit eating junk food after just finishing eating a pizza, chocolate cakes and drinking soda as your blood sugar is peaking. You just feel sick from even thinking about eating anything else with sugar in it ever again. It won’t last.
Be sure that you want to quit the addiction, even at the same moment that you’re longing for a fix. That is a way to be sure that you have enough willpower. If you don’t have the will, there’s no reason to even try. Instead, focus on finding the reasons.
2. Be mentally prepared for it by setting a quitting date in the future
Never quit in the moment just because you feel like it. The key is to not act with emotions, but with rationality. Plan the whole thing, preferably up to 6 months ahead! Once that date is reached, there’s no turning back. Unless you really want to disappoint yourself.
Continue using, and feel bad about it. Yes, build up negative feelings towards your addiction. It takes out the fun out of using, and makes it easier to quit once your date has arrived.
3. Intend to quit for a fixed period of time, not forever
It’s hard to say forever goodbye to something. Starting small is easier. Promise yourself that you won’t smoke a single cigarette for 3 months, after that you can do as you like, and smoke without guilt if you feel like it. You will pass the 3 months without smoking, and feel really proud.
Now, don’t worry, you can start smoking again, because you were good enough to reach the goal. The secret is, the desire to smoke has vanished, and the struggle you’ve been through would be all for nothing if you start again. Now you’re strong enough to hold back.
4. Realize you’re not missing the addiction itself, but the feeling that comes from it
The hardest part for me has never been the physical. That’s gone after a few weeks. The hardest part is to deal with the feelings that’s experienced while using.
Smoking a cigarette makes you feel nice and relaxed. But remind yourself that this feeling can be created in other ways, and be sure to get those feelings from other sources as often. You won’t feel the need to replace them with your old habits.
5. Transform a bad habit into a good one, and focus on the new one
Biting your nail? Make a pushup. Smoking a cigarette? Drink a glass of water. Eating unhealthy? Have some spinach and a carrot. Sounds lame, but it works. When the choice stands between good and bad, we’ll choose the good. But if we only think about our old habits, it’s easy to get stuck.
It’s important to focus on your new habit. The easiest way to stay on track is to always focus on your new habit, not on your old ones. Instead of saying “I want to stop drinking Coke”, say “I love drinking water”. The trick is to just get the old addiction out of your mind, don’t let it occupy one more second of your time. The less you think about it, the less it controls you.