Well, 2016 is right around the corner and it’s hard to believe another year has slipped right on by! Around this time, many people are considering taking steps toward living healthier, such as making a commitment to stop smoking. Some feel energized that this is a chance to begin anew, an opportunity to take control of the direction they want their life to go. Others can sometimes experience a sense of discouragement, a lack of hope and belief that they have the ability to make a change. Stopping smoking, while one of the best things we can do for our health, requires ongoing planning, commitment, and vigilance.
So for those who have already made a New Year's resolution to stop smoking, CONGRATULATIONS! Your body thanks you. Even though your mind may not yet be comfortable with this new lifestyle, it will get better. These early days are often the most difficult so it is important to do things for yourself that keep your commitment and motivation high. Here are a few suggestions to consider during those first weeks of the New Year:
· Remember to reward yourself. Do something you wouldn’t normally do or buy something you wouldn’t normally buy
· Feel good about your stopping smoking even if it has only been for a short time. Remember, your body makes amazing changes when you quit smoking, some common improvements include: carbon monoxide clearing from your body within one day, and in a few months your risk of heart attack begins to drop and breathing improves. Stopping smoking for a year reduces your chance of having a heart attack by a whopping 50%! That’s right by half in only 12 months. Enjoy being healthier.
· Remember you are not alone. Many people struggle with stopping smoking. It is often a process that begins with working through feelings of discouragement. This may be a good time to build your motivation to stop smoking, inventory your reasons for quitting, and look at other things you’ve accomplished that can help build your confidence. Think about other things you have accomplished in the past. Were they all easy? Did any of them require some planning and effort?
· Count each success along your path to being smoke-free. Even if you have gone a half day or a week without smoking, those are cigarettes NOT smoked. Viewing these small stops as “failures” doesn’t help anyone. Choosing to view them as small successes that are bringing you closer to being permanently smoke-free, can feel more motivating and optimistic. Give yourself credit for going without each cigarette!
Next week, consider taking time to talk with others who will support you, perhaps those folks who have successfully stopped smoking already. Talk with your healthcare provider or a tobacco specialist over the phone or through the Quit Line. Stay active on BecomeAnEx.org!
Lastly, be good to yourself, take control when you feel able, and don’t stop moving forward toward a better and healthier life.