Some of the groups I facilitate each week are Tobacco Cessation groups. Recently, as I’ve listened to the voices in the meeting, I’ve been surprised by the amount of laughter in our soundtrack. Bear in mind that as I report this, the world is gripped by a global pandemic. My country is facing some unsettling social and political unrest. Quit smoking in the middle of all this? You MUST be joking!
Well, no. I’m not. I have been deeply impressed by the courage and hope of these folks who are committed to making this important change in their lives. But not only are they here – week after week – but they’re hopeful, positive, and even laughing in the midst of what’s probably the toughest journey of their lives! Yes, LAUGHING!
Disrupt and Interrupt
One recent meeting we were talking about making small steps in the right direction. This seems like a particularly wise way to approach quitting smoking (or other big behavioral changes.) I was extolling the virtues of trying to disrupt or interrupt just a few cigs during a day. As we practice we gain competence and confidence. Rather than set ourselves up for a jarring and uncomfortable change, why not take a gradual approach. A transition towards abstinence sounds a little more reasonable for most of us (especially now!)
(Read this post about Mohamed Ali, the Champion of Disruption!)
A favorite researcher, author, and behavioral change expert – B J Fogg – knows the power even a tiny celebration. He teaches folks that when it comes to building sustainable habits, start small. In fact he says start tiny! I’m a big fan of his approach to building habits. According to B J Fogg, a key to habituating a behavior is to celebrate immediately after the we perform the new habit. The tiny exclamation of joy or pride as we celebrate successfully performing the desired habit is really effective at reinforcing the new behavior. He’s a big proponent of a high five and he knows the celebration provides the emotional glue that makes new behaviors stick.
So if you’re on a journey that’s anything like quitting smoking, maybe taking it slow makes sense. And throwing your old habit a few curve balls may really help to disrupt and interrupt that old habit. And if every time you disrupt or interrupt that old habit, you laugh maniacally and rub your hands together…
… you may find yourself kicking some serious butt in the behavior change game! Even something as tough as quitting smoking can be fun!
QuittersWin continues to meet virtually in these challenging times. Brave folks continue to change their lives and reclaim their freedom from the hellish grip of tobacco and other substances. QuittersWin provides services without cost to participants. Come join a group! Just be careful or you may have fun!