It’s Stoptober and I love chocolate, even though I know it is bad for me. I’m quitting chocolate for the month because it is an addiction and want to remove it from my life. Chocolate is my booze.
I’m about halfway through the month now and I could care less about chocolate. I feel energetic and sharper in my mind, I’ve been more productive (outside of writing) and generally feeling better in my day to day life.
I know it’s only 15 days so far but it has got me thinking about the concept of forming a good habit, or indeed reversing a bad one, and I think I’m going to set myself a challenge every month and report my findings as I go. I can tell you now that next month is going to be fizzy drinks, which have become my crutch with the chocolate thing.
30 days to form a habit might be a bit overkill, at least based on my experience, but maybe overkill is exactly what one needs to really set a habit in stone.
The first few days are the hard part, when your body reacts and you question you resolve. I like to “punish” myself whenever I waver, like requiring 10 push ups before I can move on with my day. Once I’ve done my “punishment” I will have forgotten about the urge I was feeling and a bonus is that I knocked out 10 push ups, and that can add up during the day.
The second week is my favourite part because it is a turning point where you realise you have made it past the cravings and your body is learning to cope, and even thrive, without the sugar (or nicotine, or alcohol, or whatever).
I’m still waiting on the final 2 weeks but I expect it will be a walk in the park (I hope) and I look forward to freedom I will gain from the discipline I have developed.
Pick something, just one thing, you know needs to be out of your life sooner rather than later. Let a different vice take its place for 30 days and for the following month attack that vice. Over the course of a year you could become a new, better version of yourself, but for now just focus on one thing at a time. If you try to take on too many things at once you’ll achieve nothing, keep it simple and carry on with your life, reflect during the process and share your experience and encourage others to do the same.