Revive your resolution to quit smoking

February 08, 2019 | by Alexander Hantel, M.D.

We’re a month into the new year  have you been keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions? If your answer is no, don’t feel guilty. According to U.S. News, by the second week of February, 80 percent of people who have made a resolution have failed. And if your number one resolution was to quit smoking, you’ve chosen the hardest resolution of all.

Don’t beat yourself up, today is a new day. Maybe you didn’t have a game plan that stuck. Knowing that smoking is bad for you isn’t enough to break an addiction. You have to make other changes too.

Here are some useful techniques that will help you find the motivation to quit and the strength you need to stick to your goal:

  • Keep a list of reasons you want to quit. Do you want to quit for someone you love or to save money? Write down your reasons and post your list next to your bed, on your fridge, or carry it with you wherever you go. Your list will keep you in a positive mindset.
  • Build a support system. Surround yourself with positive people who can help you succeed. Let  your friends and family know about your decision to quit smoking. The more people that know you are trying to quit, the more encouragement  you’ll have to stick to your goal (and to be held accountable).
  • Get moving through daily exercise. The dopamine released during exercise will aid the chemical imbalance in your brain caused by the absence of nicotine. Exercising will also help you to more rapidly reverse the negative effects smoking has on your health.
  • Buy a calendar and begin your smoke-free countdown. At the end of every day you haven’t smoked, mark an x on the calendar. This can help you track your progress and can be a good motivator to keep it up.
  • Don’t let yourself romanticize cigarettes. Stop thinking about all of the positive things you think cigarettes do for your mind, body and soul. Instead, refresh your memory of the dangers of cigarettes and e-cigarettes too.
  • Reward yourself and avoid thinking about what you are losing. Congratulate yourself with every new milestone. Save the money you would normally spend on smoking and use it to celebrate.
  • Believe in yourself. Lots of people quit cigarettes every year. Convince yourself you can do it. Every day you avoid a cigarette is a true accomplishment.

It won’t take a long time for you to notice how your body improves without nicotine. In addition to saving money, you’ll notice

  • Food tastes better
  • Your sense of smell returns to normal
  • Your breath, hair and clothes smell better
  • Your teeth and fingernails stop yellowing
  • Ordinary activities leave you less out of breath

You can be in smoke-free buildings without having to go outside to smoke (especially in cold weather) 

Over time, your risk of developing cancer and other smoking-related diseases will decrease too. After all, there is no better reward than a healthy body.

What techniques have you used to stay motivated to quit smoking? Tell us in the below comments.

Make a plan to quit smoking. Sign up for Freedom from Smoking.

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