Ten years ago this month, I quit smoking.
It was February 11, 2008 to be exact. I had been a pack-a-day smoker for close to 15 years. Of course, I smoked the "good for you” cigarettes — American Spirit Lights or “Yellows” as I used to call them at the 7-Eleven counter. But regardless of what I told myself about how relatively healthy they were, a pack’s worth of smoke was still going into my lungs every day.
Unexpectedly, acupuncture was what helped me quit.
Earlier that winter, on a freezing cold day with about a foot of snow on the ground, I was standing outside smoking. It was so cold that my fingers began to hurt, and I had to keep switching which hand held the cigarette and which got the benefit of a glove.
Fed up with the cold, I remember saying aloud, “This is stupid!” and tossing the half-smoked cigarette in the gutter. When I looked up, I saw a sign in a the window of a clinic across the street: “Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation.”
I took that as divine providence and immediately walked across the street. Standing at the receptionist’s desk inside the clinic, I pointed at the sign in the window and blurted out, “I want that.”
Seven acupuncture treatments later, I had stopped smoking for good. I felt better almost immediately, and soon after it dawned on me how cost effective my experience had also been. After 44 days of not buying cigarettes, I had broken even. The savings from not smoking had reached the cost of the acupuncture sessions. On that 45th day, I remember thinking, “I’m now saving anywhere from $6 to $9 a day.” And that was at 2008 prices.
Equally important, this experience put the power of acupuncture on my radar. The treatments that got me to quit smoking were the first acupuncture I had ever received, my first exposure to the art of Chinese medicine, and from there I came to discover many other benefits it could provide. Ten years later, here I am — grateful every day for my decision and for the opportunity to help others improve their health with acupuncture.
If you’d like to discuss the benefit of using acupuncture to quit smoking and you are, like I was, unable to quit on your own, please reach out. From both the patient’s point of view and the practitioner’s, I know exactly what it takes for people to quit smoking with acupuncture and Traditional Asian Medicine.
I have been where you are, and I’m here to help.
My wife and I started a Jar of Awesome last January. (Happy New Year everyone, by the way). I was first exposed to the idea by a podcast from Tim Ferriss I listened to, but I’m not sure the actual origin of the idea.
What is a Jar of Awesome? It’s just a jar that you keep in plain sight, and as awesome things happen, you quickly jot them down and drop them in the jar. When New Year’s Eve comes around, you take them all out and read them, reminding yourself of all the awesomeness in your life. If you’d like to learn more, a quick search online pulls up tons of resources.
Over coffee this morning, we dumped the scraps of paper and took turns reading every single one of them aloud. The whole thing took about 5 minutes.
Here are the three things I took away from the exercise:
The slips of paper from 2017 have found their way to the recycling, and the Jar is set up for the coming year.
There is one slip already in there: “Completing the Jar of Awesome for 2017.”
Years ago, I was moving into my new apartment. I had a 14-foot truck I had rented to get my stuff in, having been told that I could just pull up to the back when I arrived, through the back gate.
As soon as I got there, it was obvious to me there was no way it was going to fit underneath the top of the gate – the clearance was too low. I mean, like, by two feet. Any reasonable person would agree, just by looking.
As I was backing away to figure out Plan B, a guy in a BMW started to come out of that same parking lot, and he decided to stop and give me some advice. He asked me if I was moving in. “Yes,” I said. He said. “why don’t you just pull the truck into the parking lot?” I responded curtly, “The truck won’t fit.”
He paused. He looked at the height of the truck. He looked at the gate.
He looked me straight in the eye and with a slight shrug of his shoulder a hitch of his head said, “Give it a shot.”
I smiled. He’s serious – that much I could tell. I said okay.
I tried. Of course it didn’t fit. I had to park in the alley as my Plan B.
But the significance of that frame of mind wasn’t lost on me. I knew it wasn’t going to work. So did he, after he looked at it for a second.
My attitude was to give up. His was to give it a shot anyway.
I will remember that lesson for the rest of my life. I never saw him again. Heck, he might have just been visiting someone there.
But I have subsequently been giving things a shot, even if at first glance, it seems impossible.
Now, I’m not delusional – I know trying to fit that truck under that clearance wasn’t going to work, and no matter how much I wished, or pretended, or wanted the truck to fit, it wasn’t.
That’s not the point. Because I realized upon reflection later that I often didn’t try – didn’t give it a shot – on things I was much less certain would fail. Giving up without even trying was something I was doing often.
As we begin the new year, no matter where you are on the spectrum, I challenge you to increase your willingness to find ways to implement this.
Give it a shot.
"The brain cannot ignore a question."
I listened a podcast about The Kaizen Method on the Art of Manliness website.
Since my first listening, I have re-listened three times.
A laypersons definition of Kaizen is a making consistent, very small improvements. Not a new concept for me, but this particular conversation about it is really powerful, and really practical - two of my favorite criteria for things that make me better.
If you are a patient of mine, be ready...I will be implementing this with you immediately. I have noticed over the years that the higher the number of suggestions I give to patients, the less they seem to do. I notice that in myself as well.
When only one small change is given, it is much easier for people to accept and implement into their lives. Given enough time, this then becomes a habit - which is the goal.
Often, this can take the form of a small question you ask yourself. Your brain can reject, experience fear, or otherwise ignore a grandiose one: "How can I fit in 10 minutes a day, three times a day, every day, of self-care on my shoulder?"
Better to ask yourself: "Where can I find 45 seconds each day to treat my shoulder?"
The brain cannot ignore a question. If its small enough, the brain can find an answer.
Give the Kaizen podcast a listen.