How I quit smoking?

quit-smoking-illustration-man-speech-bubble-telling-angry-cigarette-character-cartoon-41247975.jpgOn July of 2015 I decided I was going to quit smoking. After more than a decade into smoking I was finally ready to call it the quits. However, this by no means was my first attempt. There had been numerous failed attempts in the past. This time, I felt more ready than ever, and was more determined to do it. Now, more than a year later I can safely say I am no longer a smoker, and that smoking and cigarettes don’t entice me either.

As a former smoker myself, I am aware that many smokers want to call it the quits. However, I also know from my past experience that it is a tough ask, and I also know from experience that it is not impossible.

I want to share my experience so as to encourage myself never to smoke again, and also hope that my experience can be helpful to anyone who is looking to quit smoking.

So how did I really quit smoking –

  1.       Deciding to quit

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First and foremost, I just decided that I had had enough of it. I wanted to smoke no more. I wanted to be able to run and play without running out of breath 30 seconds into starting those activities. I wanted to get rid of that constant smoker’s cough (many smokers will be denial regarding the smoker’s cough, but get real).

Like many smokers out there I too have had experiences of deciding to quit many times prior to this. I, however, wanted to really do it this time around.

  1.       Research and a perspective change

After deciding to quit, I jumped into researching all the benefits of not smoking. The findings were very uplifting and I wanted to experience the benefits of not smoking.

060412_1252_ChangeYourP2.jpgUpon my research I also stumbled upon a perspective. This perspective suggested that instead of seeing my past failed attempts of trying to quit smoking as failure, I should rather see them as gained experience. This new found perspective encouraged me, and I felt confident enough that I would be able to quit this time.

  1.       Getting hold of the mind

“Mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master” says Robin Sharma, and this quote holds true when you are trying to quit smoking. Smoking, like any other habit, is hardwired to your system because you have done it for so long and quitting will test you physically and mentally. Research shows that it takes around three days for your body to throw out the nicotine present in your system. After which you are no longer physically attracted to nicotine present in the cigarette, and then starts the nicotine withdrawal effect. This withdrawal effect is made worse by the ongoing mental challenge. The mind is a tricky little bugger and it’ll say things to you to get you back to smoking (it did for me). “Just one cigarette,” it’ll say; other times it’ll be like, “you’ve gone clean for a week. That’s something – just one cigarette now. It’ll do you no harm.”  The key is to stay strong-willed and to not let the mind overpower you. Slowly, the voices will die down. The physical as well as the mental addiction will eventually subside.

This is not by any means an action that happens overnight, and as with any other practice, quitting smoking also takes time. But if you stick to your guns, the urge to smoke will eventually disappear.

  1.       Putting them running shoes on (being a freak)

As I quit smoking, I wanted to give myself more reasons ( as if I did not already have many)  to not take up smoking ever again. So, I put my running shoes, on and started to run every day. With no deliberate smoke ingestion, I was able to run without getting the wind knocked out of me in thirty seconds.  Running brought a breath of fresh air into my life (literally). I began enjoying pushing my body to run 3 miles at first, eventually followed by 5 miles, and even 10 miles

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Finally,

  1.     Started reading

Also, as a smoker, I know one of the times when people smoke a lot is whilst waiting for someone/something. I used to do it too, but then I found a better thing to do- i started reading instead. I started carrying a book with me everywhere I went, sometimes even in my mobile device. So, in order to curb that urge of smoking, I dove into the books. Eventually, the urge always died down minutes later.

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When I started running…

The many health benefits of running are known to both runners and non-runners. However, there are certain experiences that can be only noticed only when one starts to run. I have been running every morning for about six months now (barring the time when I have been injured), and it has benefited me in numerous ways. In addition to the obvious health benefits, running has introduced me to new perspectives. These are the perspectives I want to share –

  1. The world don’t matter

When I first started to run, I was very self-conscious about it. I would get the sense that people who were watching would judge me if i didn’t run in a certain acceptable way. But soon I began to enjoy running, and I loved doing my weekly 5 miles. On other days, a 3 mile run would suffice my appetite for running.  The more I ran, the more I loved it, and soon I was not self-conscious about whether people were looking or not. Nor did I feel obliged to run in certain style. I would sometimes take huge strides while running;other times, I would run just on my toes. Most importantly, I did not feel the need to run in the conventional style as long as I was running sincerely and honestly and doing my allocated miles for the day. At the end of the 5 mile run, I punched the air and then punched my chest (Djokovic style) in delight. It did not matter who was looking – I was having fun the right way, and that was what mattered.

This perspective was an eye opener and it brought about this mindful awareness. The important thing was to be sincere, have fun, and the rest didn’t matter. It also occurred to me then that:

  1.  People don’t have the time to sit there and watch what you’re doing. Everyone’s is just as busy in their own lives.
  2.  If people do make comments, feel privileged that they have time to look at you in their busy lives. You don’t need to oblige, or listen to every comment.

 

2. Every run is different from the previous

When I first started running back in November 2015, I could barely run 3 miles. I would be out of breath, and catching my breath would take time. The more I ran, the better my stamina became, and I was able to run 3 miles with ease. I soon started doing five miles every weekend, and again, to begin running five miles was tough. I was able to complete my first five mile on the first try, and since then have completed many more five miles. There was one stark discovery though – Every day, when I set off to run the five miles, I would have doubts.  I eventually have always finished the five miles I have started, but during every start, my mind has had doubts. I have come to know that every day is going to be different, and just because I have done the five miles previously, I can’t take it for granted. I have to motivate, re-motivate, and re-re-motivate myself during the runs. A small variable change – the wind, the temperature, the sleep I had, the shoe, the feel in the legs could very well change the entire pattern of the run. Every run, thus, becomes different from the previous.

The idea is to stay vigilant, to keep myself motivated, and just like the run, everything that you start is achievable.

  1. Life is a marathon, not a sprint

I know this is a cliché, “Life is marathon, not a sprint,” but it does hold true. When I first started running, my objective was to run a full marathon. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do that. I might have at least participated in at least one, but well, that number never ran. But as I do my five miles and sometimes close to six miles, it dawns to me how tough a full marathon would be.  The distance of an official full marathon is 26 miles which is at least four times more than I normally run. It takes me roughly around 50 to 55 minutes to do five miles, and if I ran at the same average pace, it would take me nearly 3.5 hours to complete a full marathon. This is if I can maintain the average pace, and we know the body tires, so taking that into account, it would take me around 4 hours or more of running to do a full marathon.  That just puts everything in perspective – running a marathon does not happen overnight. When I first started out saying I am going to run the marathon, I had no idea what I was talking about. But now that I run, and have experienced the effort that goes into running, I can understand the effort it takes to run a marathon.

A humongous task like running a marathon cannot be achieved overnight; it takes time. It takes training, eating right, and mental strength to achieve the distance. I have not run a marathon, but even with all the training that goes into it, when it comes to the real deal, many falter. Running a marathon in many ways does sound like what life is. You can be prepared for it, but yet, life brings about subtle variable change to always challenge you.

At the end of the day,this is the beauty of both life and a marathon – to be able to overcome and complete challenges one after another.

 

What next for Nepali Cricket?

18 years since becoming the associate member of the ICC and four T20 world cups later (which Nepal did not participate), Nepal has taken a significant step in World Cricket. Qualifying for the first time in any world team event, Nepali Cricket team created a sporting history. With memorable wins against the likes of Kenya and UAE, who have been a force to reckon with in associate cricketing world. Nepal confirmed their place for the T20 World cup scheduled to be held in Bangladesh on March 2014. Here they will be competing for the coveted T20 World Cup, with the eyes of the world on them. Whilst doing so Nepal also secured a 3rd place finish in the tournament only behind Afghanistan and Ireland – who both are powerhouses of associate cricket.
In a country amidst turmoil and political uncertainty, Nepali Cricket brought about immense joy and excitement to the public. And with that it brings about more public expectations for Nepalese cricket to shine again and again. This bunch of 20 players, the coaching staff and everybody involved in it have been able to unite the nation in the past few days where everything else seems to have failed. And now, the public expectation is for Nepali Cricket to do well and keep on bringing moments such as this. Also, the common voiced opinion of the entire nation is for the politicians and law makers to come together and emulate what the cricketing fraternity has achieved- “bring peace, prosperity and joy to the nation and work as team.”

As the joy and excitement settles down and the dust clears, the challenges in store for Nepali Cricket surfaces. The challenges are both on and off field. Just the other day I was reading an article where our national players are committed to various off-field duties in the armed police force and other governmental organizations. And how their pay is minimal, despite which they still continue to work and play cricket. Cricket alone has been unable to provide a salary fitted enough for the players for a decent livelihood so they have to indulge in other works. The article also mentioned how these players were unable to attend a job promotion training session because they had cricketing duties. And so they were denied of promotion in their respective jobs. And these very players would later go on to represent Nepali Cricket in the UAE where they would go on to make history- by qualifying for the T20 world cup. You have to credit the sheer determination and dedication these boys have for Nepali Cricket. One of the legends of World Cricket in his retirement speech quoted “I believe we have been the lucky ones to be chosen by the Almighty to serve this sport. Each generation gets this opportunity to take care of this sport and serve it to the best of our ability. I have full faith in you to continue to serve the nation in the right spirit and to the best of your ability, to bring all the laurels to the country. All the very best.” Yes, this message was passed by Sachin Tendulkar to the Indian camp but this is an inspiration for every sportsperson. And our boys have been serving the game and nation and hopefully will bring many more laurels to the nation. Our captain shedding tears in a public function was no premeditated effort to cry, it was a spontaneous oozing out of feelings. Those choking words of our captain spoke volumes not just of the cricket fraternity but the entire nation- “Enough of the naming and blaming, let work as a team and serve the nation”

Cricket Association of Nepal also has a humongous task ahead of promoting, developing the game and the players. Qualifying for the world cup of the shorter format of the game is a step forward. The expectation of the Nepali public is now for Nepali cricket to step forward – into ODI World cup and even Test Cricket. This task is by no means easy but our cricketing fraternity is hungry for success, hungry to represent the nation and bring joyous moments to the nation. CAN and the Sporting Council should be able to facilitate the game for the dreams to materialize into reality. As, of where we stand now I personally cannot see our players getting complacent. The coaching staffs deserve a huge round acclamation for bringing the best out of the players with the limited resources. For installing belief like our captain said “that it is possible to achieve anything.” In all of this one cannot overlook the contribution set by the predecessors of Nepali Cricket, those who set a foundation for Nepali cricket to reach where we are today. The former players and staffs can be proud that they represented “The Rhinos

The world cup in Bangladesh is a start beyond this there is qualifying for the ODI world cup in New Zealand. And who knows what will happen then. For now the Nepali team has deserved their share of accolades but as an adherent cricket fan I and the entire nation would love to see the Nepali team do well in New Zealand. Irrespective of what the team does there, The Rhinos have earned a place in our hearts.

Nepali Cricket team in all whites stroll out to a packed stadium in TU cricket ground, the atmosphere is buzzing, the sound is deafening – Test Cricket has arrived in Nepal” – Next for Nepali Cricket? WE CAN.