12 Tips to Quit Smoking for New Year's

January 1 circled on calendar with words quit smoking
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Something about leaving an old year behind and looking ahead at the clean slate of a new one inspires most of us to try. We think about making lasting positive changes in our lives, and we do it with hope and enthusiasm.

If you're planning to start the new year without a cigarette in your hand, take advantage of the resources and support available here at About.com Smoking Cessation, starting with the quit tips below.

Learn what it takes to quit smoking successfully and use that information to build a foundation for your quit program.

12 Tips To Quit Smoking for New Year's 

1) Don't Let Fear Paralyze You

Every smoker is well acquainted with the gut-wrenching fear that comes when the day we've planned to quit smoking arrives. We're suddenly filled with doubt about whether quitting is a good idea. Maybe we should wait until we're not so busy and stressed. Next week or month would be easier we tell ourselves, as we light up and settle back into the haze of denial that comes with nicotine addiction.

Don't let fear stop you before you get started. Push through and stub out that last cigarette. You can do it and the rewards awaiting you are well worth the effort it takes to quit.

2) Use a Quit Journal

Consider starting a quit journal and make the first entry the list of reasons you have for quitting. Take a look at Zoe's list of pros and cons of smoking and use it for inspiration on making a detailed list of your own.

We have a way of believing what we tell ourselves over and over. Your journal will help you cement your goals and give you perspective on the progress you're making with cessation.

3) Find a Shoulder to Lean On

Having others who are interested in your success is important. The support forum here at About.com Smoking Cessation is a thriving, active group of people who understand what you're feeling and will provide the help and encouragement needed to get you through the rough spots.

Sign in as a guest to browse and read posts from other ex-smokers, or register(free) to post messages of your own.

4) Eat Smart

Smoking cessation throws our bodies into shock initially. As damaging as the chemicals are in cigarette smoke, we've become accustomed to them and we feel their absence physically when we quit.

Nicotine withdrawal can introduce a host of symptoms, but if you take care to give your body the fuel it needs to run properly, you'll minimize and cope better with the discomforts associated with this phase. Don't load up on empty calories that leave you feeling tired and cause weight gain. Keep the right foods within easy reach. It's especially important right now.

5) Drink Water

Water will help flush residual toxins out of your system, and beat back cravings to smoke. When you're well-hydrated, you'll feel better in general, which is a plus when you're going through nicotine withdrawal.

6) Get Your Beauty Sleep

When you're tired, cravings to smoke will seem stronger and you'll have less energy to deal with them.  Fit a full 8 hours of sleep in every night, and nap here and there if you need it. If you have trouble sleeping when you first quit smoking, try taking a long walk a couple of hours before bed.

7) Get Moving

If you already have a daily exercise regimen, great.  Keep it up.  If not, start now. Choose something you enjoy doing, and you'll be more likely to stick with it. Not only will it help you minimize weight gain, exercise creates endorphins, which will give you a feel-good boost.

Aim for a half hour of exercise every day. Walking is a low-impact activity that is suitable for most people and is a quick fix for the urge to smoke. Get out for a 15-minute walk around the block when you're feeling edgy and you'll come back refreshed and relaxed.

8) Renew Resolve Daily

Your determination to quit smoking is built one day at a time.

Every smoke-free day makes you stronger. Members of the Smoking Cessation support forum use a daily NOPE Pledge thread to commit to staying smoke-free...just for today.

When you consciously take time to reflect and rejoice in the value of what you're doing, you're working to fortify your will to make this the quit that lasts you a lifetime.

9) Be a Sponge

We all know that smoking is bad for us, but if you're like most smokers, you avoid looking at the destruction smoking causes whenever possible. Take the blinders off and read everything you can get your hands on about the dangers of smoking. It will help you start to make the mental shift necessary to quit smoking successfully.

10) Accept and Let It Go

Relax into your quit program and embrace cravings to smoke as they come. Don't fight them. Instead, try  leaning into urges emotionally and let them run their course.  Most cravings last 3-5 minutes. Think of them as signs that your body is healing, because that is just what they are.

11) Don't Fall for Junkie Thinking

Quitting tobacco is a gift, not a sacrifice. Don't sabotage yourself by feeling sorry that you can't smoke. You are choosing not to smoke because you want to be free of this killer of an addiction. It's all in your perspective.  Pay attention and keep yourself positive.

12) Be Patient

Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, people don't quit smoking in a day either. Most of us had 20 years or more of smoking under our belts before we quit. Give yourself the gift of time and patience. Work to undo old patterns and replace them with newer, healthier choices. Each day you complete smoke-free brings you closer to the lasting freedom you're after.

Make this the year you quit smoking for good. Shed the chains of addiction and take back your life.

You are worth it.

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