As part of our exploration of how the principle of Personal Vision (our outlook and beliefs) is the single most fundamental influencing factor on our health and fitness we have a great story to share today.
For most of us, when we approach changes in our lives we tend to focus on changing habits and techniques. We don’t often think about changing our beliefs and the way we perceive ourselves. Today I have a story that powerfully demonstrates this from Asif Valiji, someone who’s been part of the community for the last 4 years. He shares how, with the right support and people around him, he was able to change a deeply entrenched habit by changing his beliefs about himself and his future.
Kicking the Old Me and Then Kicking the Habit
“Over the last 4 years of being involved with Lighthouse International I’ve seen massive change in myself and others. Some of these changes have been subtle and beneath the surface while others have been far more evident.
One of these changes is that 3 years ago I quit smoking, for good.
At the time, I was working in a stressful job (which I managed poorly) in a position that I just didn’t appreciate.
Smoking was an escape for me. It was a chance to get away from the stresses, strains and overwhelm of my life. I smoked because it was the one sure thing I felt I needed to maintain my sanity – and I completely bought into this.
Not Just a Habit
You see, it wasn’t just the habit and the addiction to smoking that was limiting me but also the beliefs and perception of myself I had back then. As strange as it sounds, coming from a family where many of us smoked, it was a big part of being accepted. That’s how it was for mum when she started. It was personal time and therefore deeply entrenched into me as a habit.
At the same time I wanted to change who I was for the better. To let go of my old negative belief system and habits. I wanted to meet these changes with courage and appreciation. I didn’t want to use the excuse of a cigarette to run away from the hard times and avoid what was tough to face. I didn’t want to dash out for a quick fag because I couldn’t manage the stress of work and life anymore.
Changing My Personal Vision of Myself
Just over 3 years ago I was having lunch with a friend who I met through Lighthouse and we spent the time talking about our families, our responsibility to others and how we could help each other more through our friendship. As we finished lunch and went out onto the street I went to put a cigarette in my mouth and lit it. She saw me do this and asked, with genuine concern, “Asif, after everything that we just talked about – how can you put that into your mouth?”
That question just threw me and helped me see how absolutely essential it was to get real and challenge my habits and beliefs. That was the last cigarette I smoked as a smoker. I accepted that I wanted to let go of that part of my life, that I was no longer a smoker who was trying to quit, but rather a healthy father letting go of an old habit he no longer needed.
I worked hard at changing my beliefs and what I was doing each day in line with my outlook on life. That included my perception of myself, the way that I managed stress, the people that I surrounded myself with, the way I managed my work situation and many more things.
So 3 years on and I have never looked back on my choice to stop. That’s not to say I don’t have my days when I want to slip back…I even enjoy a cigar on special occasions, but it’s a wonderful deposit in my own sense of self-value and confidence to be free of that addiction.
The biggest lesson for me through all of this is how I achieved dramatic changes in my life, not through forcing myself to quit or wearing a million nicotine patches. It was through changing my underlying core beliefs about myself and giving myself compelling reasons to stop smoking. It was a shift in my self-perception to one of a responsible caring father and human being that truly lead me to realise I could not carry on smoking. That for me is why Personal Vision as a principle is so fundamental and what it is all about.
It’s been a pleasure sharing this with you and if you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line here, I’d love to hear from you.”