We prepare ourselves for a making a change by creating a plan of action that we believe will work. We have created our reasons for making the change; either in the case of smoking, to avoid some kind of pain (cancer) or to obtain some kind of pleasure (spend money on a trip) that make sense to us.
We feel absolutely ready for a difficult change to a habit we know and need to change. We have psyched ourselves up and feel we are confident in that we can and will achieve the change.
We start and 3 days later we are back smoking.
What happened? We have done our homework and this was not our first time trying. We had really felt ready this time. What happened was our hidden triggers kicked in and we were not prepared to handle them.
A hidden trigger is usually an emotional state that we have over the years used our habit (smoking) to change our body state. That is to change how we feel in a certain set of circumstances. The longer the habit has existed then the more we have used the habit to change how we feel in different situations.
When making a change to a long term habit we need to recognize that we will have unexpected urges to return to our old habit long after we have stopped.
When they occur we need to recognize what is happening and adapt our coping strategy to include the newly discovered trigger. If we are prepared to handle the unexpected the better are our chances to master the change.
How do you handle your hidden triggers?