Back in April of 2013, I met a client called John who had an interesting back story. A smoker since the age of 15, he had fought an on and off battle with cigarettes through the years. Then aged 42, he was convinced to give hypnotherapy a try after a successful session I had conducted with his wife. John was somewhat sceptical of hypnotherapy, but spurred on by his wife’s success, he came to see me.
As usual, we talked for a period before the hypnotherapy session about his reasons for wanting to stop smoking and what he had tried in the past. We talked about his life and his achievements, and one of the things which emerged was that in his early 30s he had run two marathons, one in Stockholm in 2003 and then one in Rome the following year. And all while smoking. I told him at the time that if he had been able to put himself through all the commitment and determination needed to train for a marathon, then he should find stopping smoking easy!
I think that this must have sparked some kind of ambition within him because as we were settling down for the hypnotherapy session, John suddenly vowed that following the therapy he would run another two marathons in the next 12 months. I told him that this wasn’t specifically part of the treatment, and that he should be fine with the hypnotherapy alone! However after the session he was still determined and we parted with him in an incredibly positive frame of mind.
A few weeks later, by chance, we happened to meet in a local supermarket and he confirmed that he had dug out his trainers and already started to pound the pavement, and that he indeed had signed up for two races in the coming year.
I sent him the following message: “Really nice bumping into you this morning. I am thrilled all is going well and that you kept to your word and booked yourself onto a marathon. But two ….?! Fantastic. Good luck with your training and I look forward to hearing how you got on.”
To which he replied: “An update for you. Four weeks today no cigarettes. Even went to Paris and had a boozy night with the French team who all smoke like chimneys and I thought they all looked ridiculous puffing away. Even held a lit cigarette for a colleague looking for their car keys and not so much as a puff.”
By chance one of the marathons that John signed up for was the Bournemouth Marathon in October 2013, where a friend of mine was also competing, so I was aware of the date when it was taking place, and sure enough, the week afterwards I received the following message.
“Just a short note to let you know that I’m coming up to half a year without the cigarettes and still going strong. More importantly I achieved phase one of the promise I made to you back in April, completing the Bournemouth Marathon on Sunday in a leg-busting five hours and seventeen minutes (very slow time)…
“And phase two is on track. I’ve got a place running in the London Marathon for the British Heart Foundation, but need to raise some sponsorship money to confirm it. Plenty of time to do that though as it is not until April.”
After promising John that Meadows Therapy would of course help with his sponsorship efforts, I looked forward to seeing what would arrive in my inbox after the London Marathon in April.
But I actually got my next update at the end of the year: “Hi Jula, as we come to the end of the year I’ve been looking back at all of the running I have done since that day in April when you helped me stop smoking and with my current training plan for the Christmas break I will have racked up 486 miles in total come December 31st, which is the equivalent of 18 full marathons. Needless to say that those few hours at the Innovation Centre have completely changed my life, thank you, John.”
And instead of an email in April, through the post came a picture postcard of John in full flow running down Birdcage Walk with the following on the back: “Hi Jula, Just a quick note to update you on my progress. Over a year smoke-free and I completed the London Marathon (as promised!) in a personal best time of 4hrs 24mins 28secs – 53 mins faster than Bournemouth last October and two and a half minutes faster than me in 2003! Thank you for everything, you have changed my life. John”
I was delighted to hear this, and of course pointed out to him that he was the one who had changed his life. By making that decision to quit, and by being completely sure that he wanted to stop, hypnotherapy was the conduit that could make that happen. Of course I can’t claim any responsibility for the personal best, but it is always amazing to hear stories from my clients which reaffirm my beliefs that when you have reached the decision to quit smoking, hypnotherapy is a powerful method of therapy that can help you enter a new, better and healthier chapter of your life. And on a side note, he raised a total of £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation. Fantastic. Well done John!