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How to Change a Habit

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Do you want to quit smoking? Do you want to change a habit? Want to quit eating those damn candy bars every goddamn day? You’ve tried before and not only did it not work but the frequency and quantity increased? You even consulted an “expert” in a field you found on the Internet. He sounded very persuasive.

So why did he fail to help you?

Your habit is a chemical thing. You’ve created a chemical neurological loop called the loop of habit inside your brain. Once upon a time, for a reason now unknown or forgotten you developed a smoking habit.

Something triggers you, you smoke a cigarette and everything is fine again. Half an hour later, here it comes again. You’re smoking that lovely and fine cigarette thanking Lord Almighty that you’re not on something even stronger.

So how do you quit with it?

It’s about WHY and not about how. Whatever you are trying to accomplish you have to define it clearly. That means that your agenda or a goal has to be visualized on a piece of paper.

Now you may laugh at this and say it’s yet another piece of crap but ask yourself this: why the fuck are you still smoking if you are so freakin’ wise?

You are smoking — and get this in your head — because you didn’t find a reason why you should quit with it. You don’t know WHY. That’s the bottom line.

Lung cancer? Low stamina? Images of those dead lungs they place on a box? That shit won’t do any good to anyone, because if we would be so fucking concerned about our health to that degree we wouldn’t drink sugary beverages in the first place.

OK, why do you smoke NOW? Why does it feel so goddamn good now?

You are yearning for the high. The most powerful high known to man is the serotonin and dopamine high. Without trying to break your spirit, it is impossible to refrain yourself from this high because serotonin and dopamine are two of fouf main chemicals responsible for feelings of fulfillment and happiness.

You cannot live without them.

Thus, you have to work around it. You must keep the high but use a different tool to get it. That’s why most of folks who quit smoking start to eat a shit load of food and gain weight in no time. They have a habit of bringing something to their mouth after which comes the pleasure.

Like thin chicks better than fatties? Ask yourself this: which group is more likely to put something in their mouth and enjoy it?

Again, it’s caused by the loop of habit. SIGN -> ROUTINE ACTION -> REWARD.

The problem is after a while the brain can anticipate the reward after the sign. So as long as you are repeating the ROUTINE ACTION (in case of smokers, bringing a cigarette to the mouth), the brain will release the high. Food will do it.

How to change the loop of habit

You have to find out what triggers the sign and activates your routine action. It sounds simple enough but it’s not. There is no easy way around it. That’s the beauty of our brain. Once we teach it something good, it will reluctantly stop using it.

A notebook and a pen is something you need to have on you at all times for a following month.

Each time you feel the urge to do your routine action, write down the very last thing you did, when and where it happened and any other significant event or feeling you had at the moment.

You will be doing this for a month without exception. You will continue with your habit though. It is important to find the SIGN(s).

This shit demands two things: decisiveness and discipline. Luckily for you, both are simple enough to implement in your daily routine.

Now, pick a good habit.

For example, buy yourself an indoor cycling bike (stationary bike) and each day, at the same time, do exactly eight miles on 50 percent resistance. Plug in earphones and blast your brain with some blood pumping music.

After you are done, get down and spend the next 10 minutes doing crunches. That’s 30 minutes in total for beginners.

After a month, check your notebook and see if you can find a pattern in it. There will be more than one if you’re smoker, trust me. The trick is to change the routine action so next time something triggers it; you will start pumping abs and improving time on 8 miles.

Why?

You cannot live without this high. And pumping abs or competing against yourself will trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine. In addition, it took you only one month to develop a new good habit.

This is a proven method to stop smoking after 25 years of practice.

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