I had a bad habit and it went against everything I believed in and what I was preaching to anyone who would listen. I love exercise, working out, the feeling you get from a good workout and reading about health and nutrition. With all that said, I was addicted to tobacco and never wanted to admit it.
I can remember when I started, I invited an old friend from out of town to play golf and on the 4th or 5th hole he lights up a cigar. The smell of that cigar reminded me of my Granddad who smoked cigars and it brought back good memories. My friend then said, “there is nothing like a Friday afternoon playing golf, with a good friend and enjoying a great Cuban Cigar, you gotta try one!” And that is exactly what I did…..I lit up! After we were finished with golf we sat down for a beer and the same routine, “What a great afternoon, relaxing and sharing old stories, lot’s of laughs, great week of work, let’s have another one of those Cuban Cigars, I lit up again!“
Fast-forward a year; I now have an expensive cigar cutter, a humidor and a great relationship with the owner of my local Cigar Shop. I had great clients who also smoked cigars and they were very generous with their best cigars. YES, I had totally bought into this Cigar Culture………you work hard and you deserve a little down time, a little reward and just enjoying a great Cigar. At least that was the Bull-Shit Story I was telling myself! I made the decision to start this habit and now I was trying to turn off an addiction. I would stop for a while, maybe a year or more and then start back up.
Let’s fast-forward again, about 15 years. I get a note from my friend with a picture and a small note. The note simply read, “Tobacco is lethal, quit while you can.” The picture he sent was sad and gruesome, Oral Cancer is never pretty. At that point I realized one thing, I might as well go out and wrap my mouth around the tale pipe of my car and inhale deeply, that would be real relaxing for me, just a little faster than one of those great cigars I had been smoking.
It was at that point I realized how I created this crazy Identity in my head surrounding cigars and this whole dumbass routine, buying expensive cigars, relaxing, rewarding your hard work and enjoying down time with some like minded guy’s. It was time to rid myself of this tobacco addiction and I knew where to start, my own Identity.
What was real is the fact I have been an athlete my whole life and someone who knows the value of regular exercise, nutrition and maintaining good health. My World View was also clear on this point, God gave me this one body and it’s my responsibility to care for it. With that said, a pretty funny thing happened one Saturday afternoon in early Fall. Chet had put together a fall ride that would be 100 miles and kind of a wrap up to the longer rides before winter. I had finished the ride, exhausted, icing my tired knees, still in my cycling clothes and relaxing in my back yard with a beer and you guessed it…a big fat expensive cigar! My neighbor leans over the fence and asked me how many miles did I ride? I answer, 100 miles, He simply said, “you know I get you riding a 100 miles………what I don’t get is that cigar, it just doesn’t fit the picture!” AND, I could not have agreed more! I had allowed my Identity to become wrapped up in some purportedly Cool Social Cigar Smoking Craze and for me it had become a real addiction and Integrity Gap that I was determined to end. I had read enough, studied enough and coached others in how to develop good habits and I knew what to do. I did not need some Grandiose Goal or some promise to myself that if I quit I would reward myself with something I didn’t need!……… my process was simple and you read about it almost everyday on this blog site, I started with one small baby step.
- Show up day one and see myself (my Identity) enjoying good health, remind myself throughout the day how lucky I am to be enjoying good health and ask God to bless my efforts.
- At the end of the day walk over to my wall calendar (I am a visual learner) and put a big X through the day. I now have one win, day one, then it was three days and then a week, I had started to build momentum! Seeing those days with an x through it inspired me to continue showing up each day, following the process, (Baby Steps, one day at a time and gratitude for my good health, ask God to Bless my efforts.) No big grandiose goals, just show up, live tobacco free for one day.
Let me be clear, I judge know one for being a tobacco user, we all have our habits, I just knew this habit I had was destructive for me and it had to stop…my decision to start and now my decision to quit!
I honestly can’t remember the last time I used tobacco; it’s been that long. If you’re struggling with bad habits or developing new habits, here are some additional resources you might want to draw on:
- Read the BTL Blog daily, you will definitely learn a lot about the development of new habits, resistance and how to build long term sustainable habits.
- Read The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
- James Clear, great Blog on habits