“Practice makes perfect.” This powerful, three word phrase has been shared countless times to inspire commitment, dedication, and hard work for achieving personal goals. Such goals can be as diverse as increasing a step each day, creating a space to practice self-care daily, or like all of you at BecomeAnEX to quit smoking, vaping, dipping or chewing tobacco. This simple three word phrase provides the encouragement for you to focus your effort, to take steps toward a positive outcome. So how does this apply to quitting?
One of the biggest things that will help after deciding to quit is replacing old habits with new ones. Research has shown that we do not get rid of our old ways of thinking very quickly. We have old neural pathways or habits that will remain ready to be reactivated if we do not provide our brain with an alternative. To quit, it is beneficial to experiment with new routines and discover alternatives for coping with emotions without smoking, vaping, dipping or chewing. Each time you respond differently (such as drinking an iced tea instead of having coffee with a cigarette, or listening to music instead of vaping) to a familiar situation, a new neural pathway is created and it replaces the old one. The more you practice your alternative behaviors, the stronger the new pathways get, and the weaker the old ones become. The more you practice a new behavior, the more natural it will become, until you find a new perfect (and tobacco-free) version of you!