Wednesday, 21 August 2013

21 days

I read an interesting tweet this morning. I read a lot of tweets that appeal to me, but "life hacks" about putting hot spoons on mosquito bites and "woman crush wednesday" aren't really worth blogging about (or would that be 're-blogging'?)

This tweet this morning mentioned that if you can go for 21 days without something, you don't really need it at all. Now my first impression was one of skepticism - there has to be more to it than that. Then I thought maybe it's just the first step on a long journey to being without something: go for 3 weeks without it, then try another 3 weeks and then maybe 3 months, etc etc.

We all have at least one particular thing in the back of our mind that we know we should at least cut down on, or give up altogether - a few beers too many each weekend, or that extra round of eggs & bacon at breakfast time. Perhaps I can use this 21-day test on attempt number 3 to quit smoking. What's the worst that could happen?

I'm very much against persuasive advertising, so the pictures of dead bodies, failed chemotherapy, charred lungs and statistics on the toxic content of cigarettes and what they do to one's health really do not affect my decision to consume 20 cancer sticks each and every day. In fact (in a very macabre way and I'm sure I'm in the minority here) one of the warnings often makes me chuckle:

"SMOKING HARMS UNBORN BABIES" is the warning plastered over my packet of tobacco, accompanied by a picture of a small child on life-support.
"Well", I think to myself, "Unborn babies shouldn't smoke then." Plus, the child in the picture isn't unborn, unless they're going to umbilically reattach it and send it back where it came from.

Despite my adversity to being constantly told that I should quit, people fake-coughing when I'm puffing away down-wind from them and being shunted into constantly shrinking "designated smoking areas" whilst out and about, there is one main reason for giving up that makes me think I should've done it a while ago: the money.
In an average week, I'd say I spend over $30 on tobacco. Not that much really, but when you think what you could have each month for the same money, and also the amount of possessions I've sold over the last year to make a few measly dollars it doesn't particularly make financial sense.
$30 a week amounts to a Gold Class cinema outing once a month with wine and pizza, or the top premium satellite subscription with the HD sports package. I'll argue the toss over a few cents at the checkout and only buy groceries that are on special discount, but every month I'm burning and inhaling over $120. Madness!

Remembering the last time I tried to quit (and anyone who's tried can relate to this), the major hurdle is breaking the habit. Seeing as I am primarily a creature of habit, this can prove to be difficult. Every morning the routine is the same: Wake, brew, smoke, check phone, smoke, another brew, game of golf, lunch, check emails, then either work, TV and bed or just TV and bed. The thing that kept me off them for so long last time was the goal: save $554 and reward yourself with a tablet from a popular fruit company (which I didn't use for over 21 days after getting a new smartphone and now I never use it at all..)

It can be done, especially if there's a target or an end-goal. Merely saying "that's it, no more forever" is a lot more daunting than "if you can make it 21 days, you've reached a crossroads." Once you get there, make a choice.
So starting from this Friday, or when the pack runs out (could that be the first sign of failure - waiting for the pack to run out?), we'll see what happens. Also I'd like to put down into words the experience of quitting, more for me to read I suppose, consider it an electronic diary-in-the-cloud. There's also the worst-case scenario - if after 21 days I relapse, I've saved $90. Also the new Grand Theft Auto video game comes out in just over 21 days. Happy coincidence!

If the attempt fails, the article I read this morning is just a random boring tweet that disappears into existence as quickly as it appeared, but if I succeed, then I may rename this post to "twitter changed my life".

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