this is a rewrite of a ramble i wrote at quitnet shortly after my 6th quitiversary; the original was posted on new year's eve, 2007.

my advice to you, the new quitter

2009 March 6

live your life in "day-tight" compartments.

choose life, just for today, and tomorrow will take care of itself. promise.

don't waste time and energy regretting what you did (or didn't do) yesterday (or the day before that, or the day before that...); the past is over, it's carved in stone, you can't take it back, and you can't change it.

get over it.

and don't waste time and energy worrying about what might happen tomorrow (or the day after tomorrow, or the day after that...); you can't do anything about tomorrow until it becomes today.

a lot of stress comes from trying to live in some other time than right now; it can't be done, and yet, we all try: we think, "i wish i'd quit sooner..." or we think, "maybe i should wait until tomorrow to quit..."

but the thing is, the only time you can quit is today. in fact, the only time we you can quit is right now. yes; right now, in the middle of that monster crave...

here's a thought experiment for you:

imagine you're a smoker and you've just checked in to the hospital for some elective surgery. you're going to be stuck here for a few days, and there's no smoking. you settle into your bed, a half hour goes by, and wham! you get a crave.

but you can't feed it!

what do you do?

you pick up a magazine, you take out the book you brought along, you turn on the tv — anything to get your mind off the crave...

eventually, the crave goes away. even though you couldn't feed it.

where did it go?

who cares? the point is, it went away, all by itself, even though you couldn't feed it. and every single crave you have while you're in the hospital will do exactly the same thing. and if you've ever been in this situation as a smoker, you know that the craves get weaker the longer you go without feeding them.

why would you think that the craves are going to act differently when you're choosing not to feed them than they did when the hospital told you you weren't allowed to feed them?

they're not. they're going to go away, all by themselves, without you feeding them, and the longer you go without feeding them, the weaker they'll get. just like they did when you were in the hospital.

in fact, if you keep choosing life long enough, they'll get so weak you barely notice them any more.

how do i know this?

because i started choosing not to feed them any more on november 19th, 2001, and i can't honestly remember the last time i had a crave. it's been years. and before you say, "well, that's easy for you to say; you've been quit all this time!", remember this:

i started out on day one, just like you. i decided that i was not going to smoke, just for that day, that hour, that minute... whatever it took. the craves were intense and frequent. on day two, i made those same choices again. the craves were a little less intense and a little less frequent. on day three, same/same.

as i write this post, i've been quit for a little over 7 years. but i didn't decide back in 2001 that i was going to stop smoking for the next 7 years; i decided i wasn't going to smoke, just for today. then i chose not to smoke, just for today, the next time it became today for me.

as of today, i've chosen not to smoke, just for today, 2,664 times.

and here's what i've found:

if you choose life, just for today, tomorrow will take care of itself.


one response leave one →
  1. 2010 January 11
    Matthew permalink

    Thank you Kevin! makes a lot of sense.

leave a reply

Note: you can use basic xhtml in your comments. your email address will never be published.

subscribe to this comment feed via rss