A friend of mine quit smoking about six years ago. He told me that a part of his motivation of not smoking anymore comes from the following idea:
If he smokes a cigarette now it will be six years before he gets to this point again.
This idea struck me as true, logical and motivating – when it comes to drinking alcohol and smoking weed, at least – but I guess when it comes to other habits I have break through a barrier. My streaks of no PMO and no tobacco have been too short to use as leverage for my motivation to not do it. It’s an euphemism to say that I relapsed this week.
At first sight not the most motivating of stories. On second hand, only struggle and perseverance are worth reading about. Self-improvement as the Hero’s Journey (Campbell).
Once every few days I act against my best interest. Just when I start to feel the benefits, I have to start over again. Having to start over is a very demotivating feeling, which also happens to be a negative feedback loop. It’s an addiction pur sang, not much different than sugar or tobacco.
My Creative Writing handbook would tell me that this is an example of a case where the actor and his inner world are in disharmony: I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Perseverance and Statistics
But let’s look at the facts at this moment. It’s Saturday night, the week is not even over yet, and I’m on a four-day streak again. Only 2 2/3 day and I’m at a week. I have things to do and fresh ideas begin bubbling up again. It’s up to me to resolve disharmony into a harmonious state.
I have been tracking my behavior with the app for 107 days, 82 days of which I have abstained (76%, not bad considering how I was as a teenager). Longest streak: 12 days. I’d like to make it to 90% of days (328.5) abstained after a year, which means I allow room for 11.5 ‘errors’ in 258 days, one every 23 days. Maybe the year after that 95%? 99%?
Seems difficult as I type it, but I know that everything good is difficult to get.
Until the next time.