I have two, well, two-and-a-half resolutions this year. The half one is a plan to start working out and/or walking more regularly. This one only merits a half because I'm pretty sure I'd do it anyway, resolution or not. And the plan is to wait a little stretch into the year before really getting going. You know, when it's lighter out later, when the early batch of resolution-makers starts failing, and the gym gets a little emptier. This one is rather a foregone conclusion, and I'm sure I'll get to it.
One of the resolutions is also fairly easy: I'm going to lose a little weight, mostly gained from Thanksgiving to New Year's. I'd do this one anyway too, but it does involve a little more willpower. Since the plan that works for me is a variation of the Atkins Diet, it also requires a bit of an investment in food. That part of the mission is accomplished as of tonight (pepperoni, cheeses, eggs, meatballs, lettuce, roasted chicken, pickles, etc.), and I've been completely faithful to the diet all day. Woohoo!
The other resolution is the biggie. Quitting smoking. Oh, did I mention that I'm a smoker? Probably not. Not many people know. I'm what they call a sneaky smoker. Or maybe a semi-closeted smoker. Oh, I'm out to a few people, but not all! But my habit is a little tricky to classify.
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But then--as happens quite a bit with young relationships--we broke up for about a month. I had a stress-induced relapse of smoking, but this time with a twist. I stopped smoking indoors, making myself step outside to indulge. I'd also completely given up smoking at work. When The Other Half and I patched things up, I kept up a bit of a charade of still being a non-smoker. I'd sneak one in the morning, one before lunch, one after lunch, and one before I went home. Then, I'd sneak a few when he was gone. Then finally, I just started smoking them in the evening or when we went out.
I never reverted to smoking at work. I even cut out all daytime smoking entirely (no more sneaks), at least on weekdays. But my new openness with evening and "going out" smoking grew to a nearly regular habit again. Over the last several months, The Other Half and I have been toying with the idea of quitting for real and for good for quite a while. So around Thanksgiving, I set the date: January 3, 2011. And it has come to pass. Since I don't usually smoke in the daytime, this little experiment is really only a few hours old. But so far, so good.
One thing I'm pretty sure of is that I'm not addicted to smoking. After all, I go through an entire workday, and occasionally after-work events with no craving whatsoever. My behavior was all related to time and place. When I got home--provided there was no one there but "us"--I had a smoke. Every hour or so in the evening, I'd have a smoke. If we go out to a casino. . .boy, howdy. . .we smoke. But I've been doing it inside a set of rules I pretty much set up myself, and I really haven't strayed. So, I'm fairly confident I can do this.
So far, the problem is habit. I'm so used to going outside to light up at some point, that I keep wanting to go outside. It isn't even really a smoking craving, as sort of a muscle memory or something. I couldn't tell you what I ever got out of smoking. It's not exactly a buzz or a high. I would light up and go ahhhh after the first one of the evening, but I couldn't articulate that ahhhh if you put a gun to my head. And I'm betting most other smokers couldn't either. But we'd have no problem giving you a list of the bad things about smoking.
That would be (in no particular order): a vague sense of shame, smelly clothes and fingers, stained teeth, a phlegmy cough, $5 - $7 per pack cost, and health paranoia. Here's hoping that my next report on resolutions points to the success of this (and my other 1-1/2 resolutions). Wish me luck!