If quitting smoking is your New Year’s Resolution, you’re not alone.
January is a great time to make a fresh start, but too often our resolutions fail within days or months, leaving us with feelings of failure wondering: “What went wrong?”
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success when quitting smoking is to put some real planning and thought into your goal – before you even stub out your last cigarette. Take the time to evaluate where you are, where you want to go, and then plot your path to getting there, one step – and one day – at a time.
Here are six top tips to help you keep your smoke-free resolution this year and welcome the new year with a breath of fresh air.
1. Be ready to make a change
Quitting smoking is hard. Nicotine is an addictive substance that changes how our brains work. Quitting requires dealing with both the nicotine addiction and making significant behavioural changes – and that isn’t easy. Take the time to imagine yourself as a non-smoker. How will your life change? What will you do with the money you save and the energy you gain? Are you ready?
2. Be realistic
New Year’s resolutions often fail because the goals we set are too big or we try to make too many changes at once. Quitting smoking is a complex goal, and requires a lot of organization and commitment. It’s a goal best achieved by breaking it down into manageable steps. If quitting smoking is your goal this year, it’s advisable to make it your only one. Set milestones for yourself to measure your progress and don’t expect to go smoke-free overnight.
3. Have a plan
Sit down and make a quit plan. Set a date for quitting and stick with it. To make a successful plan, you need to think about why you smoke in the first place. How else can you meet this need? What are your triggers and coping strategies? What will you do when you have a craving? How are you going to quit? Making a plan may seem a bit overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone.
4. Get support from friends and family
Make your plans to quit public. Share your intentions to quit smoking with family, friends and your health care provider. While this may seem scary, it will create a strong network of cheerleaders who care about you and want to see you succeed. Ask those supporting you to be patient and encouraging.
5. Get support from professionals and quit tools
QuitNow is a free provincial resource that can offer help before, during and after your quit attempt. Personalized and professional coaching is available online, via instant chat, text, or phone. Call 1.877.455.2233 or visit Quitnow.ca. If a smartphone app is more your style, check out our infographic below, which lists five of the best apps for quitting smoking. Using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or medications can double your chances of quitting, by helping you deal with your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine patches, gum, inhalers or lozenges are available free through the BC Smoking Cessation Program. Speak with your health care provider or visit your pharmacy for more information.
6. Be kind to yourself
Quitting smoking is a journey and there will be setbacks along the way. When they happen show yourself a little compassion. Take the opportunity to reflect on what happened and to better prepare yourself for the next time. Celebrate the small successes along the way and congratulate yourself for embarking on this challenging but important journey to better health. While quitting smoking takes work, thousands of former smokers across Canada are proof that it can be done. It’s simply the best gift you can give to yourself and your health this New Year. Start your quit journey today and enjoy a whole new you this year.