Why do people smoke in the first place? Everyone has their own reason they tell themselves of why they smoke. At the end of the day, everyone who smokes does so because it feels good to them. Period. Nicotine is the chemical that brings about excessive over-stimulation to dopaminergic neurons in our brain. As you may know, dopamine is the bodies pleasure hormone and so when released into our synaptic clefts it causes a numbing effect, explaining why smoking ‘feels good’.
How can I quit smoking?
Neuro-associative conditioning puts focus abandoning your current habit, and replace it with a new habit. A better habit. A common method to replace the habit of smoking with is to start doing some exercise.
To get rid of your current habit, you need to start associating pain with it. This is done through ‘building leverage’. The great thing behind leverage is that it creates a sense of urgency inside of you that you are compelled to follow through. Once you have made the decision to truly commit yourself to stop smoking, or any change, and accepted this decision you have automatically set a new, better and higher standard for yourself. Once you get the urge or temptation to try smoking again you know that you have failed to live up to that standard, which creates ultimate pain.
5 Question Exercise – How can I build leverage?
Your neuro-synaptic connections are so used to the current pattern that the brain is conditioned to become hardwired for it. The aim of this exercise is to help you push against these connections and stimulate or ‘provoke’ an alternative route for your brain to become wired. Ask yourself some thought-provoking questions…
1. Why do I want to quit smoking in the first place?
2. If I don’t quit, what financial, emotional, physical or mental implications will that have for me?
3. In the long-term, would I feel better about myself if I would quit right now?
4. Would I feel proud of myself and boost my self-confidence and self-worth by destroying my current habit and build a better one instead?
5. How would it make me feel I know I would have a healthier, cleaner and body full of vitality?
“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Replacing the current pattern
To take our lives to the next level replacing the current habit through something that is a lot better and goes towards the other end of the spectrum is inevitable if you want to be a better version of yourself.Simply quitting smoking won’t make you a healthy person. It is the establishment of healthy and vital habits that make a healthy person. A classical habit is a sport. Sport lowers your blood pressure, reduces the risk of myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, helps prevent blood clotting from nicotine and through the release of endorphins you will ultimately have more self-confidence.
Once our current habit is replaced, pleasure needs to be associated with the new habit. This creates an internal or ‘intrinsic’ urge to follow through.
Reverse the above exercise that it is in favor of the new habit. Key is to build momentum. Momentum is something that when doing a habit long enough, you’ll feel motivated to continue with it and push through every time your motivation goes out the window. Click here for more information.
Conditioning the new pattern until consistent
The human brain can only become hardwired for something in response to a reward it receives after completing a task. Reinforcing the new habit by giving ourselves a reward is crucial for rewording your brain.
More precisely, breaking down the long-term goal into smaller short-term goals can help seek more clarity on when our brain should be rewarded in response to a certain behavior (Rewarding yourself by smoking a cigarette doesn’t count!!)
Take-home message. You can’t quit smoking if you are not truly committed to making a change. You have to be willing to change and get yourself out of your comfort zone. Only then, you will be able to achieve a solid result. If you’re not sure if you’re actually committed to making a change, try this anyway… you only have something to gain. Remember to reward yourself on a regular basis as this will help you associate pleasure with your new habit more quickly. Good luck, you can do it! 🙂