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a blog by Chris Barrow



Having recently completed (and shared) my own 28-day Positive Focus I was chatting to a friend over the weekend who wanted some strategies to stop smoking.

My suggestion was that he didn’t try to give up smoking per se – but decided to give up for 28 days – and keep a journal of his daily “wins” in tackling the challenge.

This whole 28-day idea comes out of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) camp – where unsuccessful habits are replaced with successful habits by sustained repetition.

The “Stoptober” campaign we see on the media has it’s roots in the same theory.

Following our conversation about smoking on Saturday afternoon, I proceeded to quaff my usual cheeky pint and a half of stout at The Elk in Hale – then walk the dogs home for steak, stuffed mushroom and rocket before downing most of a bottle of red wine as we suffered the Rugby and another engaging episode of Narcos (note the irony).

Predictably I woke sometime early on Sunday morning (03:00 early) and spent an uncomfortable hour experiencing the consequences of my indulgence.

Sunday I was sluggish most of the day.

“So what?” you might think – “an occasional Saturday night blow out never killed anybody?”

True enough – but when the aforementioned behaviour is Friday, Saturday and Sunday night – and then mid-week you cannot resist that glass of wine “over dinner” to wind down (which means before, during and after dinner) then the consequences become more serious.

Previously I had a great excuse for all of this consumption – I was “running it off”.

Maybe so – 300km a month in trainers must have been redressing some of the balance.

Now I’m grabbing an occasional bike ride when I’m home, entering a season of increased business travel and the knee injury I sustained in August is showing no signs of healing (yes – I know – I need a scan – I’m working on it).

So, in the absence of plodding around city streets early mornings – I feel the desire to do something about the drinking.

Alcohol has insidiously changed from a pleasure to a toleration.

This morning’s early awakening had me decide to start my own 28-day Stoptober and take a break from the demon.

I’m making myself accountable here because I know I need to – there are temptations ahead – not just the weekends but events like The Showcase coming up.

I want my family, friends and colleagues to watch out for me – and to hold me accountable to stick with that glass of sparkling water.

As I advised my friend – I’m going to journal my progress daily – although in my case that will be on Facebook and in public.

I have to break the bad habit.

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