Lack of Planning, Lack of Follow-Through, and That Time I Quit Smoking…

by Elisabeth

I’ll admit it, my resolutions were half-assed. I didn’t really complile them for this blog in time, I just jumped on the posting wagon and didn’t think about driving said wagon. Nobody was navigating at first, and I had this loose idea to be “topical,” but then thought about how I didn’t want to give Miley Cyrus, or Kimye, anymore press. My blog currently has a low readership, so it probably wouldn’t even be classified as “press” anyway. Also, my celebrity gossip-loving side isn’t my proudest trait. Then I thought about the actual news, and politics, and how I could sound off about current events. But I thought about rant blogs, and political talk, and how I read Huffington Post and how I get all stressed out thinking about that stuff. The thought of writing about politics exhausts me. My artist, law-of-attraction-believing, recovering-activist self likely has no credibility ranting about what’s wrong with the world. I’d rather go to my happy place. I want narrative, narrative, and more narrative.


That, dear reader, was my intention. But I’ve been so busy trying to keep posting, that I forgot to come up with some good ideas to post. So I’m going to force myself in February (as one of my top ten) to post only narrative. Sometimes I do better with perameters. I definitely do better with wine. Hail February!


This year it seemed like all the “experts” were saying not to make resolutions, pointing out that they set people up for failure. They claim that you’re likely not going to follow-through. Which, I think, is the truth when people give canned responses and put a micro-second into dreaming up their goals. If you’ve really thought about them, really planned, researched, imagined your resolutions, I think you’ll do better.


Case in point. On November 3rd, 2007, I quit smoking. Since then, I haven’t smoked, but not because I haven’t been tempted, or because I “hate” smoking now. I still miss it. I believe that I was successful because I spent so many months gearing up for it. My mother somehow got involved and bought me knitting needles and yarn, so I had something to keep my hands busy. A month prior, I stopped smoking my brand on advice that I had to stop enjoying smoking. I went to the health food store to get a smoking cessation homeopathic kit, so that when the day came, I had little capsules to take. Even though I felt myself inching towards the date, and even though I wanted to turn back, I had involved too many people in my plan. I had reorganized my thoughts about who I was going to be. November 3rd is my brother’s birthday, I didn’t want to let him down.


If I hadn’t spent so much time figuring out what I loved about smoking that September, I wouldn’t have had all the strategies to deal with the loss (I was a pack-a-day smoker.) I didn’t want to stop going out for smoke breaks, so I needed to find a way to join the smokers without smoking. I needed a safeguard against smoking while drinking. I needed a plan.


With this year’s resolutions, it looks like the only ones that stuck for me this month are the ones I visualized, or really prepared for. Did I try this colonic business yet even though I’ve been talking about it for months? No I’m still wrestling with my apparent repulsion and facination with it. I haven’t “visualized” it yet. Also it carries a hefty price tag. Which, I guess, it should…but I digress.


Last week I listened to a webinar that talked about the differentiation between intention-setting and goal-setting. Intention-setting is supposed to be far more revolutionary because it deals with your inner self. It has no deadline. But if your heart isn’t into a goal, you likely won’t reach it. If your heart still wants to smoke, but you’ve set a goal to quit, then something isn’t lining up. Get honest and plan, is my unsolicited advice. Take a longer and slower time to reach your goal, making smaller, less dramatic changes along the way so that you change along with your behavior. Or at least that’s what works for me.


Then again, I’m on my high-horse since it’s the only thing I have going these days- living as a gluten-free, vegan, non-drinker. 10 more days until I can drink wine! Woot woot! Subtext: has anything really changed? Probably not. But I did quit smoking in 2007.