Let's talk about how long it takes to change a habit?

I had a company ask me for details on my smoking cessation program; and whether you smoke or not, my response turned into something that will be helpful to anyone looking to change a habit. There are a lot of misconceptions out there.

How long does it take for people to stop smoking with your program?

There is one thing that holds true for anyone who wants to make a change using hypnosis or not… It takes 21 days to change a habit, right?


Yet, this is what you will hear from most people, even “experts”.

In the 1950s, Dr. Maxwell Maltz noticed a pattern among his plastic surgery patients. He noticed that it would take his patients a minimum of 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. With an arm or leg amputee patient, Maltz noticed that his patient would sense a phantom limb for a minimum of 21 days before adjusting to the new situation. Maltz wrote, “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”

Most people forget or never knew that Maltz said “a minimum of about 21 days.” Current studies concur that it does take a minimum of 21 days to change a habit. In a study from 2009, it was shown to take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.

Hypnosis does not make you stop smoking. Hypnosis does, however, greatly speed up your learning curve. In my initial session with my clients, I explain that I could move in with them and stop them from putting a cigarette in their mouth every time they reach for one; and I can encourage them to replace that craving with a more pleasurable and healthy alternative. Over a 2 to 8 month period, they would be a nonsmoker. — OR — They can commit to 4 to 8 weeks of using hypnosis, and they can achieve what they want in 75% less time and without a new house guest.

Over the past 27 years, I have had a handful of smoking cessation clients who stopped after our first session together, and they never went back. This is not the norm. Most people have a good 30 to 60 days of committed listening before being a nonsmoker becomes who they are deep down.

Can smoking cessation be accomplished with only hypnosis audio programs?

It depends. Specifically, it depends on the client. This is not a limitation of smoking cessation programs or hypnosis. The success of making a change is dependent on the level of motivation and commitment of the client.

If you want to lose weight and get in shape, I can get you the most expensive exercise equipment and the best personal coach that money can buy; but if you do not use the equipment and meet with your coach, you will never reach your goals. The same is true with smoking cessation. I can give you all the tools you need to learn how to never put another cigarette in you mouth; but if you do not listen to the hypnosis audio programs as advised, you will continue to puff away.

I have had countless clients permanently become nonsmokers using only my hypnosis audio program. These people had leverage on themselves. They were told by their cardiologist that they had to stop smoking or their 5-year-old daughter began to mimic smoking with her crayons or their brother died of lung cancer. Others, however, needed to be accountable to someone. These are the people who I see in regular sessions for a period of time. In person or online, I ask the person how many times they listened to their audio recordings over the past week, what results they are seeing, what their biggest challenge is, and how close they are to their goal. Some people need this, because they are unable to hold themselves accountable.

When someone falls short of their goal using a hypnosis audio program, many times it is like a patient who does not take their prescribed medication. It is not the medication… it is their noncompliance.

What does your smoking cessation program entail?

My hypnosis audio program has been developed through 27 years of finding out out what works and what does not. These are the critical areas and challenges that are addressed in my program.

  • You must have the motivation, commitment, and leverage to change any behavior. With a written plan developed by you and the hypnosis audio series, you will develop a conviction to become a nonsmoker and stay that way.
  • This program is not aversion therapy. When you make the experience and feelings associated to choosing not to smoke much more pleasurable than taking a drag off of a cigarette, you do not need aversion therapy.
  • Longtime smokers typically end up with a lit cigarette between their fingers before they consciously are aware of it. It is an unconscious activity for them. A crucial step is to make them consciously aware every time they think about or touch a cigarette, and interrupt that behavior.
  • For some, smoking is a form of self-punishment or crutch. It is something that they can blame for their behavior in other areas of their lives with out taking personal responsibility. It is important to eliminate this thinking if it is an issue for you.
  • Fear of turning to a new vice stops many people from giving up smoking. Many people believe that they will gain weight if they stop smoking. Without the proper guidance, this can surely happen. When you learn to replace smoking with a positive habit that is much more pleasurable and healthy for you, you will minimize the possibility of turning to a different negative habit.
  • It is okay to be stubborn as long as you focus that stubbornness in the right direction. You will learn how to be so stubborn that nothing could ever get you to put another cigarette in your mouth.
  • Many smokers link smoking to other activities. For example, some people smoke on the golf course or on the drive to work or after a great meal. These links must be broken and replaced with new empowering alternatives, and your mind will be programmed to make new beneficial connections.