Ready to take the leap? Here are some tactics to lead you to success.
It’s that time of year again when promises abound. New Year’s resolutions, if you stick to them, can be a great way to take a step forward in various aspect of your life. From renewing exercise and diet goals, to bettering relationships, forwarding career plans and tackling overall health desires, it’s the perfect time to strive for a new you.
Quitting smoking is at the top of many people’s lists. Each year more than 50% of North Americans who smoke try to butt-out. But it’s hard.
To be successful you need some tools in your box to see you past temptation and keep you on track. Like any journey, it takes support, dedication and surrounding yourself with the right people to get there.
Here are 6 tips from the American Cancer Society and from those who’ve done it, to help you quit smoking for good:
1) Get Exercise
I know-you’re trying to tackle one goal at a time. But the more exercise you get when you quit smoking, the easier it can be.
Experts at St George’s University of London have found that getting just a moderate amount of exercise when you’re trying to quit smoking can greatly reduce your symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
Go for a walk, take up nightly swimming and grab that bike- your brain, heart and body will thank you.
2) Don’t Drink Things that Might Tempt You
It’s common practice to have a cigarette along with a cup of coffee or some alcohol while hanging out with friends. The trouble is, when you’re trying to quit, having one of those drinks in hand can make it that much harder.
No, you don’t have to give up caffeine and beer for good, but try avoiding them for a couple of months as you dive into your new lifestyle. Your brain is linking these drinks with smoking and consuming them can make it more difficult to quit.
Choose something new instead- you might like a sports drink, flavored water or some fruit juice. Change it up!
3) Spend Time in Public
This may sound strange, but it can be a great help. During the first few days after quitting when your desire to smoke is at its height, hang out in places where it isn’t allowed. Museums, movie theaters, malls and libraries can all keep you on the right track. Take a friend with you if you’d like company, and keep busy.
4) Hold a Pencil
If you find you miss the feeling of a cigarette in your hand, hold something else. A pencil could work well.
5) Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently
Got the munchies? If you’d rather not gain weight when you quit, try eating smaller meals more often, for a total of about 5 meals a day. This can keep your blood sugar level and help curb your cravings.
6) Remember, It Will Get Easier
It’s totally normal to feel a wide variety of emotions as you give up tobacco. Being aware of them and preparing for the potential roller-coaster can make things easier.
You may feel angry, frustrated, irritable and even depressed when you quit. This is normal. As time goes on, you’ll develop more coping skills and sticking to your plan will be easier.
A helpful tactic can be to make a list of all your reasons for quitting, before you attempt to do so. Keep it with you. When you feel tempted to fall off target, take it out and review it. Your urge to smoke will decrease as time goes on- remember, you just need to get through the toughest part at the beginning.
Soon, you’ll reach smoother waters. Happy New Year, and best of luck!
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