Monday, 1 October 2012


The Stoptober campaign begins today, “a new, exciting 28 day challenge to stop smoking”. When I first read about it, I immediately had a couple of issues. First and foremost, presuming that it is in fact playing on the name of the month “October” and that isn’t just a very strange coincidence, it appears to be missing three days. Furthermore, surely if it was that easy to just stop, everyone would do it, wouldn’t they?

Then I thought a bit more... and actually I think the campaign is a stroke of genius. It's not about giving up smoking indefinitely, it's a short term challenge to make you realise that it is completely possible to give up. I haven't read any more into it because I don't smoke, but I do wonder how they plan to make it "exciting". For me, it would require some sort of competiton and maybe a prize. Not just a 'having cleaner lungs' sort of prize either, a proper one!

Inspired by the whole idea, I decided to create my own new and exciting challenge for October. I thought up all the things I think I should definitely stop doing, and I will endeavour to stop all of them for the whole of October (not just 28 days..).

  • Going to the gym via Sainsburys. I have long extolled the virtues of the Sainsburys patisserie and bakery. Unfortunately, meandering over there in a very, very indirect manner is becoming something of a habit and it's never just one small cake, it's always a tray of them. 
  • Convenient eating. I'm not sure why this has happened, but I've stopped cooking. Everything I've been eating is some sort of instant meal, so I need to stop with the convenience and get back in the kitchen cooking up some good wholesome meals. 
  • Avoiding the commute when it's raining. Having a car is a sure fire way to make you lazy, so is British weather. I have a decent waterproof and a drying room at work so there's no excuse!
  • Eating cookies (and jaffa cakes). Cookies are my smoking. I buy them out of habit and I'll eat the whole pack without even thinking about it. It's gotten worse too (because of aforementioned Sainsburys visits). So for the whole of October I will not eat a single cookie. I have also added jaffa cakes because I sometimes I pretend to myself that I'm 'being good' by having jaffa cakes as a cookie substitute. 
  • Ditching out of evening swim sessions citing "being tired" as an excuse. I was tired last night, and went swimming. In fact, I was yawning away on the poolside and convinced it was not going to be a good session. I ended up having a blinder, and I usually do, if I can just get myself in the pool.
  • Being a complete pussy when riding off road. I had a bad experience on Sunday at a cyclocross race. I ended up pulling out because I was well out of my comfort zone and my shoddy, wussy riding was holding everybody up. So it's time to get off road and get practicing!
I know it's only day 1, but it's all started well today. I rode to work in the rain, made a chicken, sweet potato and green bean Thai curry for dinner and am going straight to the gym with no deviations. Stoptober has begun!

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