I’d like to invite you to join me on a journey of changing a habit that has been plaguing you for some time, but has stubbornly resisted all of your efforts to change. This could be anything from giving up caffeine or developing a daily practice of walking or writing your book.
Personally, I’ve decided to quit smoking, and am committed to making the process fun. One of the things I believe is “the way you do anything is the way you do everything.” Meaning, each action you choose is reflective of your belief system and self-image, and anything you do reflects these underlying, unconscious patterns. It might be easier to see with an example from my own life.
I smoked from the time I was 14 to 24, nearly two packs a day, and quit when my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2000. That year remains one of the most hideous in my memory, with all types of life ugliness going on, and quitting smoking on top of it was pure agony. I quit by shame and brute force, quitting over and over again until it ‘stuck’, and suffering the whole way. I gave myself no type of leeway to quit slowly, to recognize that my world was in upheaval (recently in a devastating car accident, reeling from the revelation that the man I loved was gay, my dad’s life-threatening illness), to find alternative habits to assist with all of the anxiety and emotion I was trying to repress via smoking. That was a perfect reflection of how I did everything at the time – with force, by pure endurance, with heavy doses of shame and zero kindness.
Eleven years later, I found myself flirting with smoking again… then doing a bit more than flirting… then having an outright affair. And I hate it. It’s been nine months now, and I’ve quit three times already, but have picked it right back up again. I’ve been a lot kinder this time around, and far more accepting of where I am. Recently, it occurred to me that the whole process of quitting could actually be fun, not some dreadful, endurance-based slogging to an eventual goal. I could use this situation as a sandbox where I get to play with my own coaching tools. Yes!
So please join me – the requirements to do so are pretty limited:
- A willingness to go way, way slower than you think you should
- A commitment to being kind to yourself, even in the face of (inevitable) setbacks and “failures”
- An agreement to focus on making the process itself fun & joyful
- An excellent sense of humor, and a view of the process as an unending source of material
Your first assignment is easy – pick a habit that you want to change, and post it here in the comments if you are comfortable doing so. This might seem like nothing, but a public commitment to change something is actually a big step. If you’re not ready to do it, no problem, lurkers are welcome too!