I used to smoke cigarettes. A lot of cigarettes.
More than once, I’d plowed through five+ packs of cigarettes in a night. For a while, I smoked ~40 (the equivalent of two packs) unfiltered, hand-rolled cigarettes a day. (I also hocked up tar throughout the day.)
I tried quitting several times. It never worked.
When I finally quit, I’d been a pack-and-a-half a day smoker of Marlboro Reds…one of the harshest/heaviest filtered cigarettes you can buy.
And when I finally quit: It was easy. I had only one craving the next day and it was both minimal and short-lived. (April, 2007.)
I discovered something about behavior change with that experience of quitting smoking. What I discovered is that quitting anything requires some sort of replacement. You can’t just take something out, it must be replaced.
What I “replaced” my smoking with was the pursuit of good health. I changed the way I ate, exercised more and made the choice to commit to a new way of living in which smoking wasn’t a part.
I find myself recurrently reminding myself of this. I leave a town and must make new friends. I quit a hobby and replace it with another. A relationship ends and I learn to give and receive love in a new way. I end a job and find a new direction for my career. I let go of a lifestyle decision and choose to replace it with something else.
In a sense, there’s a seeking of physical+physiological+psychological equilibrium.
For as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve changed any unwanted behavior by choosing to commit to the new behavior. And when I do that, it’s easy and there’s no looking back.
Over time, this is how I’ve evolved, consciously or not.