me kay cooke

Time to break free?

Do you smoke? I used to. In truth, over the 3 decades since I stopped having a relationship with the habit of smoking, I have still been known to enjoy the odd sneaky puff when the moment has felt right. But I am not a smoker, do not believe smoking is healthy, do not value the habit and do not engage in that ritual of comfort or conformity. Well, maybe once a year at the Christmas party …

I have no issue with people choosing to smoke – so long as they perceive they have a choice. Certainly, I am convinced by scientific fact that smoking is brutal, yet an even stronger behavioural driver wins hands-down. Smoking tastes and smells disgusting to me.

Smell is personal. The olfactory nerve is our only sensory input channel feeding directly into the limbic system, a part of the brain involved in activating fight or flight reactions.

Many primitive tribes people hunt, hide, mate, and heal by trusting their olfactory sense, literally led by their noses. We, on the other hand, have a lesser faith in sensory-based information, firmly favouring top down rational ‘thinking’.

NLP is a great toolkit to use to explore processes of choosing to continue, or stop, a behaviour, and helps to unearth key factors involved in our ability to make such decisions. For example, taking one feeling and using it as leverage towards or away from said behaviour; a fortuitous discovery for me 30 years ago when, inadvertently, I stopped the smoking habit of my mother.

There I was, pregnant with my parents’ first grandchild and sanctimonious about having given up the habit myself ‘for the good of my unborn’.

“Do you want your grandchild to know you through the smell of fags?” I naively asked my mum. And that was it. Her (until then) life-long dependency on a habit dispersed, into a puff of smoke (excuse the pun). Little did any of us know then, what we know now, that I had simply attached something of high value to my mum (relationship with grandchild) to smelling bad. The swish was made, and as her habit hit a new threshold, it simply imploded.

Change can happen in an instant when you know how.

Are you ready to make a change?

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