Experiment: Allan Carr’s Quit Smoking

Allan Carr claims that, despite what most smokers believe, quitting smoking is EASY

smoking in the country

Allan’s book challenged and changed a lot of my perceptions around cigarette smoking. It re-established the hope I had lost at ever being free of the destructive addiction of nicotine slavery.

Your Fears are founded on a myth

He instructs you to continue smoking while reading the book and that you must not stop until you have completed the book in its entirety. Before I was even nearly finished, my fear of quitting had turned to excitement, a massive achievement all in itself right?

feeling sad in the countryside without a cigarette

The sad reality for me though — is the excitement didn’t last.

The fist 24-48 hours were easy, it did feel like a miracle. But once the first craving came, there were more. I could feel the precise moment that the ease of not smoking gave way to the mental struggle of will power against will power.

The excitement turned to a feeling of deprivation followed by extreme emotional crashing and burning.

removal of that black shadow

Allan Carr himself mentioned that as soon as quitting  becomes about willpower, you face certain  torture and your chances of success rapidly plummet.

smoking hurts and allans book

I re-read the book three times, each time following the pattern of  excitement, hope, deprivation, crash and burn. Each attempt ending in the buying of a desperate pack of cigarettes and chain smoking them all night.

 Am I free?

… not really.

Despite the eye opening points of view that Allen expressed in his book, I could not remove the core beliefs that kept me coming back to the ranks of the ash zombies.
Happy Endings

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Experiment: Not Snacking

no-snacking-experiement-weight-managment_b&wI used to wonder why it was that whenever I went away on holiday, I lost weight and noticeably looked and felt healthier.

So much so as to have people comment on how much healthier I looked. God only knows what I must look like on the regular!

I gave it some thought and eventually narrowed the suspects down to:

  • The removal of work & home-life stresses
  • Walking considerately more
  • Not snacking (even if eating out often)

This experiment wasn’t for weight loss but rather digestion, energy, weight management and lets be honest – vanity.

Result

I didn’t do my usual December blimp transformation, e.g No weight gain over the festive season! This is a first…and not only that, but I actually lost a few pounds without any conscious attempts at exercise.

Note

Definitely make sure that when you eat, you eat until you are completely full! Under eating will leave you exhausted and desiring (and no doubt in dire need of) something to snack on.

Temporary Social Media Break

mobilephoneblackandwhite

It had only been 2 minutes since I had last checked the inbox, and I was back again. I knew it was time to find another focus…

The decision to stay away from social media and mindless internet browsing in general for a week was easy enough. It just seemed like a good idea, and it was a good idea, but easy?

This experiment  brought to light just how much I use social media to distract myself from any thing even slightly difficult.

I even used it to distract from things that weren’t difficult! If I sat down to my desk to work on any personal project or even just to check my bank account, the first thing I found myself doing was clicking onto social media, it took a couple of days to get used to working on the computer without having a social media tab open.

As I use social media these days as a primary communication tool, I allowed myself a midweek check in so as not to appear rude to anybody (that is how I justified it anyway).

Having not logged in for a while and knowing I wouldn’t be logging back on for another few days, it was a really nice thing to look forward to. I took more time to read through the messages and  was also more thoughtful and focused on what I sent back.

The other primary benefit?

My stress levels were thoroughly reduced. There was no underlying urgency during my free time and I wasn’t constantly being overwhelmed with all kinds of imagery and over zealous opinions. I hadn’t been aware of how much that had been effecting my ability to relax.

 
Life After Blogs

Experiment: Sleeping at night!

a_benjamin_franklin_sleep_quote

The Motivation

I avoid sleep unless exhaustion allows it. When not exhausted, I struggle to calm down and drift off.

Being somebody who is always tired and feeling (in general) crummy most of the time, I was interested to see just how much getting a decent nights sleep would help!

Start with some retail therapy

To get motivated, I made sure I had some brand new cosy pajamas!

sleep experient new pajamasThe Rules:

  1. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages after 4 p.m. (avoid all stimulants if possible)
  2. Don’t look at screens after 9 p.m. – e.g TV/ Cell Phones/ Computer
  3. Start the routine of getting ready for bed at 10 p.m.
  4. Read something chillaxing for 15 minutes before turning out the light and hitting the hay
  5. Adhere to the above for 14 days and see what results from the effort!

The Obstacles

I put this  experiment off  for  weeks because I “didn’t have time for sleep”.

Being too absorbed in everything else was my biggest adversary to attempting this experiment, but a lot of people struggle with this one…

“I don’t even like to sleep – I feel as if there’s too much to do.”  – James Franco

Sticking to the rules wasn’t easy and the first few nights I dreaded the 10 p.m. curfew. I would descend into a semi panic as the impending deadline drew near. Half a week in, however, I found myself looking forward to it.

 The Results

morning time

I was expecting results on the first night, which didn’t happen. The third night was when the magic kicked in! I woke up before the alarm. And better still, my first thought wasn’t “Jesus no!” instead, dare I say it? I felt AWAKE (for somebody who doesn’t usually invest a lot of time in sleeping, this feeling was somewhat new and exciting).

I  became something of a morning person though  unfortunately, my energy levels didn’t last all  day.

In Conclusion

The experiment didn’t change my life. What it did do was make getting up for work in the morning painless.

I found the rule about staying away from TV/computer for an hour before bed to be very valid! On the nights I neglected to do this, I found it difficult to get to sleep where as the other nights getting to sleep was  instantaneous with turning off the light.

In conclusion, sleep may not be the complete answer, but in just three days, my mornings changed dramatically for the better, and falling asleep came easily at night.

I feel that I will defiantly be keeping sleep as a priority going forward, although I doubt that I will be sticking to the rules so religiously…