None of the time limit numbers are set in stone so we need to individualise our own time limits and we need to pace our progress. We don’t want to move too slowly and we don’t want to move too quickly. Perhaps we can wait an hour with ease before smoking in the morning, and then find that two hours are absolute hell, we can then stick with one hour for a few days until it feels more comfortable. We can start adding five minutes for everyday day and build up towards the two hour mark over a longer period of time. It is perfectly acceptable to slip and smoke before the time limit is up as long as slipping up does not become the routine that transforms back into the smoking habit. We want to allow ourselves to occasionally slip up because that reminds us that total control over life is an illusion. Slipping up reminds us of our human nature, lest we think ourselves more, or worse less than that. When we stop making mistakes, we stop growing and when we stop growing we stop being human. It is important to not beat ourselves up when we slip up. It is important to not allow the guilt to engulf us and force us back into the habit of smoking where we might end up smoking more than we did before the slip up. We don’t want to reinforce the habit of failure, because it feeds the habit of smoking by causing feelings that need to be repressed. We need to fail sometimes and forgive ourselves in order for us to cultivate the habit of forgiveness. How can we forgive others if we don’t make mistakes?
If the time limit we set is causing too much discomfort then we can lower it. If the time limit is too easy, then we can gradually raise it. When we abstain from smoking we will feel great and full of energy, we will feel we can conquer the world and we can. It is important not get carried away and start setting overly enthusiastic time limits and goals. We don’t to go from one hour of not smoking to 18 years of not smoking in the course of one day, this is as counterproductive as quitting cold turkey with NRP, because we haven’t had the time to cultivate the habit of non-smoking, the habit of freedom. We want to ease ourselves into our new smoke-free selves while we are building our new smoke-free selves. We want to slowly replace the habit of smoking with the habit of non-smoking over a longer period of time in order for it to stick in the subconscious mind, just like we did cultivating the smoking habit in the past.
Some days one hour will feel like an eternity, other days the same hour will feel like a summer breeze. This is caused by emotional currents moving through the subconscious mind. Sometimes they rise into the conscious mind like ocean waves hitting the beach. Some days are better than others and we need to set time limits that are realistic for our best selves and for our less motivated selves. We need to adapt our limits to our innate humanity. This is not a race, it is progress, and we are not competing with anyone. No one can judge us, only we can judge ourselves, and we need to have mercy on ourselves. The beauty of the time limit method, is the lack of “hate propaganda” or “set in stone do or you’re a failure forever” timelines. We each pick our own pace because we are all unique individuals and there is no one size fits all time limit. We need to have good days and we need to have bad days with the same time limit in order for the monkey to properly adapt to the changes that are taking place. The monkey needs to be gradually exposed to craving episodes on the best days and on the worst days in order for the non-smoking habit to properly take root.