There’s no doubt that thousands of people across the country made New Year’s resolutions to quit smoking. Statistics show that nearly 70 percent of smokers want to quit, but success rates are much lower. For those of you who made a New Year’s resolution several weeks ago to quit smoking, are you sticking to it? What have the past few weeks been like?
If you’ve slipped up and had a cigarette or two (or an entire pack!), you’re not alone. Nearly 60 percent of smokers are not successful on their first attempt to quit smoking. As the old adage goes, you must “try, try again”!
It’s not too late to push the restart button on your New Year’s resolution. Think about what went wrong when you slipped up and search for solutions that will work better this time around.
Did you cave in to your cravings?
Studies have shown that nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Admit to yourself that you are going to have cravings and withdrawal symptoms. But, also remind yourself that you are going to deny the addiction. Make a list of things that curb the cravings and carry that list in your pocket. Need some ideas for your list? Try going for a brisk walk, sucking a lollipop, chew gum, or playing an addictive game like Sudoku or Candy Crush Saga.
Did your social life get in the way?
For smokers, lighting up can be a big part of the social scene. You don’t want to be left out, right? For some, quitting smoking will disrupt your social life, but you can make adjustments to compensate. For example, suggest that you all go out to a smoke-free restaurant instead of a bar. You could also enlist your non-smoking friends for support. When the smokers go out to light up, you can rely on your non-smoking buddies to keep you occupied.
Were you worried about gaining weight?
Nicotine is an appetite suppressant and, for some people, a meal replacement. Unfortunately, that means that quitters might have to battle weight gain when giving up cigarettes. If you prepare in advance, you can manage your weight and successfully quit smoking. Always have fresh fruits and vegetables or other handheld healthy food around for snacking. Baby carrots, apples, raisins, sunflower seeds, or popcorn make great substations for cigarettes. These foods provide a healthy way to stay full. Plus, snacking will keep your hands and your mouth busy.
You’ve probably heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. While that statistic doesn’t hold true for every person, if you make it three weeks without a cigarette, you have probably made it through the worst part. If you haven’t made it to three weeks yet, reassess your situation and make a point to try again soon. You can do it!
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