Three Minute Refutations (TMR) involve a powerful exercise for changing your addictive thinking.
While the Three Minute Exercise (Three Minute Therapy, see pp. 9,18, 32, 40, 46, 55, 64, and more) helps you dispute your demands–your “musts” and “shoulds”–Three Minute Refutations targets your rationalizations or excuses, which arise from your demands. (Also available at ThreeMinuteTherapy.com.)
For example, if you have a quit date and find it uncomfortable to follow through, you may tell yourself you “must” avoid that discomfort and smoke anyway. Or if you have the urge to light up when smoking is prohibited on the premises, you may think you “must” satisfy this urge and step outside. These “musts” lead to self-defeating behaviors. The Three Minute Exercise (TME) is ideal for targeting the “musts.”
However, your “musts” may encourage you to make excuses for not quitting on the appointed date or not abstaining from a cigarette during work hours, excuses such as, “I have much stress today, I’ll quit tomorrow” or “I’ll have only one drag, then I’ll stop.”
Irrational Belief: “I absolutely MUST satisfy my urge for a smoke right now. I can’t stand feeling frustrated.”
Excuse or Rationalization: “I’ll have one last cigarette, then I’ll quit.
This is where TMRs comes in. They target these excuses and rationalizations. Along with the TMEs, it mounts a two-pronged attack on your smoking addiction. The TMEs target your demands, while the TMRs target your excuses.
TMRs also prove effective for other behavioral difficulties including procrastination, and alcohol, drug, and food addictions. They consist of two elements: excuses and refuting the excuses. Let’s begin with excuses.
Excuses are statements we make to ourselves which make procrastinating, overeating, overdrinking, or smoking seem reasonable, when in reality they’re destructive because they block, interfere with, or sabotage your long-term goals.
Here’s an example of a completed TMR:
Excuse: “It’s ok to smoke right now because it’ll be the last time.”
Refutations: 1. I’ve used this excuse hundreds of times. It hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. It always has led to the next time.
- This “last time” could mean losing my job and ruining marriage.
- How many days is this one last time going to last?
- I don’t HAVE TO indulge this “last time.”
- This “last time” could destroy my relationship.
- I’m lying to myself, pure and simple.
- I can change this statement to: “No more times!” or Quit smoking right now for good!
- I’ll be better off now, better off tomorrow, and better off for the rest of my life with: “No more nicotine™
- Since I choose to smoke, or I can choose not to smoke.
- If I choose not to smoke, the discomfort I’ll feel will be temporary, not forever.
- Write and read these refutations five times a day until you’ve memorized them. Then write them from memory five times daily.
- Whenever you have the urge to light up, identify the thoughts that make smoking seem reasonable. Then refute these excuses.
- If the excuses seem to be gaining the upper hand, externalize the debate by writing down the dialogue or saying it out loud.
- Practice, practice, practice.
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Originally posted 2017-07-31 00:00:19.
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