10 Tips to Help You Stop Smoking

Is one of your New Year's Resolutions to stop smoking? Here are some tips that could help you kick the habit this year...

* If you're worried about gaining weight when you quit smoking, keep a good supply of healthy munchies on hand. Things like celery and carrot sticks, or sugarless gum or candy. These will help you keep your mouth busy without piling on the extra calories.

* Quit with a buddy. If you know someone else who is planning to quit smoking, start your new smoke-free life together. This will give you each someone to lean on for support that understands exactly what you're going through at each stage.

* Save the money you would have spent on cigarettes in a jar. Watch the savings add up. Decide on a goal for yourself, something you will buy with the money you're not spending on cigarettes, so that you have something extra to work towards.

* Be ready to distract yourself. Have a list of things (even a literal, physical list if you need to) to turn your mind and hands to when you're thinking about picking up a cigarette. Squeeze stress-toys or grab the dumbbells for a few reps. Go outside and walk to the corner and back. Get some exercise or a change of scenery.

* Visualize yourself at future events not smoking. An upcoming family gathering, for instance. Picture yourself at the next family holiday get-together as a non-smoker. Get comfortable in your mind with that image. Focus on the new you.

* Limit your use of caffeine and alcohol. Those chemicals can trigger nicotine urges in may people, making it harder to resist starting to smoke again.

* Avoid situations that you identify most strongly with smoking. If your morning routine was always to have a cigarette with a cup of coffee at the kitchen table, grab a glass of juice and head outside to watch the sunrise from the porch instead. Make new, healthier habits for yourself.

* Plan ahead so you know how you'll cope with situations where you're going to be around a group of smokers. Be prepared to extract yourself from those situations by role playing it in your mind, or with a friend, beforehand whenever possible.

* If you do end up having another cigarette, don't beat yourself up. Look at the situation where you smoked. Learn from it, so that you can avoid that pitfall when you TRY AGAIN.

* Stay focused on knowing that you are doing the healthiest thing for yourself, and giving your family the gift of more time with you.


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