It is the New Year, so it’s time for some self-improvement. Have you made New Year’s resolutions before, but failed to keep them? I would argue that a resolution is too restraining and negative, I would prefer to focus on adopting habits that keep you healthy. Let’s concentrate on the smokers amongst you. You know who you are? Have you tried quitting before or have you persuaded yourself that your genes will protect you from the ravages of cigarettes?
First, think of why you should stop smoking and then, when you have decided to (and this might be the difficult step), take the first teeny weeny step. You do not have to throw all your cigarettes away for good – although that might be one approach. Take a small step, develop a new habit and, once it is taken, you are on the road to being an ‘ex-smoker’. Keep taking little steps that help you develop little habits and you will achieve your aim.
Take Small Steps
What small steps can you take? Try these:
1. Develop a disgust for cigarettes. Spend 5 minutes each day imaging the toxic smoke filling your lungs and turning them black, and large globs of fat being deposited in the blood vessels of your brain, heart and legs. The surgeon teeing you up for an amputation operation, etc. Remind yourself of this every time you smoke.
2. Toss a coin each day. Heads you smoke that day, tails you don’t. Or, if that is too difficult, ‘tails’ you don’t smoke until midday or something similar. Keep this going for a year and you may reduce your intake by 50% (provided you don’t smoke twice as many on the smoking days). On smoke-free days, have a shower, wash your hair, put on clean clothes and enjoy the fresh smell that you exude.
3. Take fewer draws from each cigarette (you are going to have to be honest here).
4. As an incentive, you could get yourself sponsored for giving up smoking and help a charity at the same time.
5. Make the first step to getting expert help. You can get excellent help from the following:
- Smokefree – information from the NHS. Free smoking helpline 0800 022 4 332 Web: http://www.smokefree.nhs.uk
No matter how small your first step, it is a first step and it will be difficult – if it wasn’t, everyone would do it. Keep in mind the pluses of being an EX-smoker. Reward yourself for even a small achievement (not with a cigarette please).
Here are some of the reasons why you should quit (this is taken directly from http://smokefree.nhs.uk/why-quit/health-and-confidence/
- You will reduce your risk of developing illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart or lung disease.
- You will reduce your risk of gangrene or amputation caused by circulatory problems.
- You will protect the health of those around you by not exposing them to second-hand smoke.
- You will reduce the chances of your children suffering from asthma or glue ear.
- You will improve your fertility levels and your chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
- You will improve your breathing and general fitness.
- You will enjoy the taste of food more.
Your lifestyle WILL improve (after the short term discomfort)
- You will save money – as much as several hundred pounds a month, if you’re a heavy smoker. Perhaps some of this ‘spare’ money could be given to charity!
- You will no longer smell of stale tobacco.
- The appearance of your skin and teeth will improve.
- You will feel more confident in social situations – you won’t be worrying about the second-hand smoke you create anymore.
- As a non-smoker, you may even find you get approached more often by potential new friends and partners when out socialising.
- Your home will smell fresh and you will no longer be staining your walls with tar.
- You will reduce the risk of fire in your home.
Share your own stories with Breathing Matters. We are adding a page to our website to celebrate smokers who have quit. If you would like to join our gallery of successful quitters in 2013, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with your story and a photo.