I quit smoking four days ago. I am (was?) a very keen smoker, but after ten happy years of inhaling burnt tobacco I felt that the risk of cancer was starting to outweigh the pleasure of smoking.
Well, I said I quit, but I need to qualify that. I have not decided to quit for ever; I have only decided to quit for three weeks, and I will then evaluate whether I want to continue abstaining from smoking. This helps for two reasons:
- Quitting for three weeks is easier than quitting for ever. The former is a project I was willing to undertake; the latter sounded (and still sounds) too daunting to attempt.
- My nicotine addiction has already subsided somewhat, and will have subsided a lot more by the end of week three. So when at the end of week three I pose the question of what I want to do next, I'm more likely to opt for the 'quit' than the 'restart' option compared to making that decision at the height of my addiction.
Trick number three, I've started telling people - I find it hard, and painful, to break commitments and go back on my word, and even though I'm not really making any explicit commitments or promising anything to anyone, announcing that I'm undertaking this project creates expectations and I do not want to disappoint. Trick number four, I'm buying myself an iPad for Christmas, but if and only if I am still a non-smoker in two months' time.
The self-deception is, of course, crystal clear. But so far it's working.