Thursday, October 11, 2007

Change & 2000 Parts

Loretta writes on BlogFabulous: My main complaints are a short fuse and absent mindedness. I had to drive back home this morning because I left my work cell phone at home charging. I seem to sleep very well every other night. I am having strange and fun dreams on the sleeping nights. On the restless night, I swear I check the clock every hour.

People are creatures of habit. We live a great deal of our lives on auto-pilot. When we change something, anything, it throws us off. One change makes everything we do feel awkward.

Try this to gain a little perspective: next time you shower do things opposite of how you normally do them. If you're a top to bottom bather, wash your hair last not first. If you usually shave your face before showering, try do it after your shower. Notice how strange and awkward doing it in the wrong order makes you feel.

A shower is something we usually perform on auto-pilot. It's not even an addictive behavior, it's just something we do so efficiently that we don't have to think about it. We don't have to wash our hair before we shave our legs - we just always do it that way. When we switch it up there aren't negative or permanent consequences, but it does make it harder to make sure everything gets completed on time.

Some things you might notice by switching up your routine:
* Forgot to perform a task, like conditioning your hair or shaving your armpits. You don't normally forget, but not doing your routine threw you off and you had to reorient yourself.
* Forgot to switch up the routine. It might take you several times to conscientiously change your habits. You might do one thing different, but find half way through the shower you've gone back to auto-pilot and started doing things in order again.
* Felt "off", disoriented or distracted by the change in routine. Maybe you don't even feel "clean enough" even though you washed all 2000 parts.
* Ran late. Maybe it took you an extra 5 or 10 minutes to shower since you messed with your auto-pilot.

For many smokers, smoking was something that touched everything in your life. It's way bigger than a shower. You did it on auto-pilot and it was such a regular part of your life that you didn't conscientiously try to smoke 20 cigs a day, you just did it.

Habits are sneaky little creatures. They get under your skin and become part of you. Not doing something like smoking makes you feel off-kilter for a while. That's okay. Cut yourself some slack. Most of the things you might forget - like forgetting your phone or not locking the car doors or not packing your kids lunch - won't have long term negative consequences. Some things - like forgetting the actual kid - will have long term permanent consequences so be extra vigilant about those. But, let all the rest go for a while.

You can quit smoking. You just won't feel quite like yourself for a bit. That's okay.


MamaFlo said...

That's exactly what quitting smoking is and that is the exact part that is most difficult - changing a habit that is ingrained into your adult personality. I'm slowing trying to reintroduce some things I used to do when I smoked and stopped doing for the first few weeks of my quit. I just need to be able to go outside and enjoy my garden, and driving in my car, and going out to eat, etc without a cigarette. I'm determined not to take everything away that I enjoyed.
Today is day 16 for me and I have a long way to go but I feel so empowered to continue now that I have passed the two week mark. And I could not have done this without the encouragement of the friends I have made blogging.
I enjoy your blog, keep it up and stay Quit.

MsTekLady said...

Yep! Just think, we smoked for YEARS and that was "normal" for us and our bodies. When we quit, we took away something that was physically, mentally, and emotionally a part of only makes sense that we don't feel like ourself anymore, because we aren't ourself! We are no longer THAT person...that old, smoking person no longer exists! We just have to get used to our new, better selves! And yes, that is OK!!! Change is GOOD!

Continued success to all us quitters!