Let’s be honest: if smoking and eating junk food wasn’t pleasurable, people wouldn’t do it. You know smoking is bad for you, just like you know that pint of ice cream isn’t going to solve your problems. But most of us grew up being given rewards like fast food or ice cream for good behavior. So when we’ve had a rough go of it, we reward ourselves by indulging in a “treat.”
More: 9 Things Your Food Cravings Are Telling You
Many smokers find that a cigarette gives them that much-needed break during their day. It quiets their mind and becomes almost a form of meditation. Ever notice how people often zone out while smoking, or don’t even remember what the reward food tasted like?
December is typically a month where we permit ourselves to indulge in our bad behaviors followed by a highly restrictive “beat yourself up” fresh start to the year. Why not start breaking those habits now?
To start, I suggest you look at your triggers. What makes you want to smoke or eat that food that you’ll regret later? Make it your goal to create awareness around your triggers for 30 days before you attempt to curb your habits.
More: How to Break the Cycle of Overeating
How do you create that mindfulness? The easiest way that I advise is to change how you approach your habits. If you have a crummy day and really want that ice cream reward, don’t eat it like you normally would, such as straight out of the carton while vegging in front of the TV. Instead, put a small serving in a bowl. Sit quietly and focus on every bite—on the enjoyment of it.
Do the same with smoking. Don’t talk on the phone, drink coffee, or do anything else you normally would while smoking. Don’t mindlessly light up right after a meal. Instead, smoke your cigarette and do nothing else but focus on it and enjoy it.
More: The 3 S’s of Happiness
Separate your bad habits from ways you typically enjoy them. Then it will be a lot easier when you decide to quit them for good. Doing this work will set a foundation for success when using treatment modalities like acupuncture to help you further achieve your goals.