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How fast can you ignore a trigger?

Question asked by pongaselo on May 8, 2017
Latest reply on May 9, 2017 by Mark

Once you have stopped smoking, the biggest fight seems to be ignoring those behavioral triggers. I have spent a little time looking at this business of working past the triggers. It feels like the more time spent with the desire working at your willpower, the more the behavior is reinforced. What I mean is this:

  1. Triggers or learned behaviors require reinforcement to persist. When we smoked, it was a combination of the nicotine and repetitive activity that strengthened the behaviors. 
  2. When you quit, you wean yourself off the nicotine in whichever manner works best for you. You are then confronted with the behavioral triggers and working your way through trigger events.
  3. The biggest hazard that I see is spending time with the triggers. 
  4. Long term success hinges on weakening and eventually pushing the behavioral triggers so far back in your consciousness that they are not part of what you deal with on a daily basis at all.  
  5. Engaging the yearning generated by a trigger is very dangerous to all my hard work so it is best to dismiss the the entire thought pattern as quickly as possible. 
  6. By abbreviating the thought pattern, it is weakened.  No chemical reinforcement and no mental reminders means more or less forgotten. 
  7. My favorite tool is the 10 minute rule. The ten minute rule goes like this; The average attention span of even a very bright person is only about 10 minutes. 
  8. What I do is dismiss the trigger as best I can promising myself that I will get back to the thought or yearning in 15 minutes or so if I really must. As long as you really do dismiss it somehow, this works very well. Trick is you have to work out the process of dismissing the trigger.  That's the key.  
  9. I think of how much it pisses me off that I allowed myself to fall into this disgusting habit and how much better I feel about myself now that I don't do it anymore. 
  10. That path gets me right out. Then the 10 minutes rule does the rest and I get on with my day.  IT works.

  The other thing that I have to do is write these little notes to myself. It reinforces the structure of my game plan.  We all needed a game plan of one sort or another. I am a logical guy and this is mine.