This post was inspired by the following Daily Prompt:
According to Stephen Covey a habit is the ‘intersection of knowledge, skill and desire’. Knowledge is what you know and why, skill is how to do and desire is the want to do. You must have all of these three things in order to form a habit. It is also necessary to have these same things to break a habit. Habits are extremely difficult to break and often people need to make major changes in order to do so.
I started smoking when I was seventeen. I had quite a difficult home life (both of my parents went through periods of depression and they had a volatile relationship), so I used it as a way to de-stress. I can’t even blame it on peer pressure as I was at college training to be a nursery nurse so smoking was frowned upon! Later on at 18, I started going out with a guy that smoked and most of my friends in my local pub smoked too (back when you could smoke in a pub). So at this point I was hooked. I never worried too much about it and always thought that I would be able to give up whenever I wanted.
Of course, as time goes by this statement becomes less true. So fast forward a few bad relationships, and finally getting to a point where I could be happy to be single, I decided it was time to try… and failed miserably, several times over the next few years actually.
Eventually I’m with my current partner (which regular readers will know came with a whole new set of problems and stresses). We talked about trying to get pregnant. So again I didn’t worry and felt absolutely sure that I would be able to give up if I became pregnant. How wrong could I have been? I cut down hugely but I could not give up. It’s still to this day the one thing I will never forgive myself for. In fact it took until my youngest was two and a half before I gave up completely. It was thanks to Stephen Covey actually.
I started by looking at the knowledge:
- Smoking was starting to effect my health.
- I wanted to stop before the children noticed.
- I wanted to be around to see my children get married and have children of their own.
- I didn’t want to effect the children’s health.
- I didn’t want to pass the habit on to them.
- I didn’t want to go through smoking-related diseases.
- I didn’t want to die.
- I could spend the money on something worthwhile.
I then looked at the skill:
- Look for information online about quitting. NHS Choices website. Look into ‘Stoptober’.
- Read books on the subject.
- Speak to friends and family who had quit.
- Gather as much support as possible. Make myself accountable.
- Speak to Gp about quitting options, patches, gum etc.
I looked over my desires:
- To be healthier.
- To have healthy children.
- To be a part of their lives as long as possible.
- To save money.
I then came up with an action plan. I used patches, initially these were brilliant and completely stopped my cravings, after a while they brought me out in big red welts on my body (an allergic reaction). It was very painful but because they stopped the cravings so well I continued with them until it was unbearable. Then I went cold turkey. The welts took months to disappear! So ‘Stoptober’ 2013 I gave up smoking for good. A few months later my partner gave up too.