Stop Smoking This Year
2017 is the year to stop smoking

It is many people’s New Years Resolution to stop smoking in 2017.

The third week of January is designated National Non-Smoking Week in Canada. The Canadian Council for Tobacco Control coordinates the efforts. The agency asks everyone to have a Weedless Wednesday by giving up all smoking on this day. The entire week is dedicated to the conversation about smoking and its impact on your health.

Common Concerns When Trying to Stop Smoking

You know the reasons to quit smoking: It’s better for your health, the air and the people around you. However, it’s not easy to stop smoking after years of relying on cigarettes. Too, there are many fears about how you will adapt to life without smoking. Many people are concerned about weight gain and withdrawal. However, by working with cessation experts, you can minimize your concerns and prevent weight gain. There has been a lot of research dedicated to the cessation of smoking and its impacts on your life. One key finding is that stopping smoking is better for your overall health than gaining a few pounds or going through withdrawal.

Benefits of Quitting

It takes two hours for your blood pressure and heart rate to return to normal after smoking a cigarette. Blood circulation also improves in this time frame. Imagine if you gave up half of the cigarettes you smoked each day. Your body would have more normal vitals that much longer. After 12 hours without a smoke, the carbon monoxide in your blood decreases to normal levels and the amount of oxygen in your blood to increases to normal levels.

In just one day without a cigarette, your risk of having a heart attack or developing coronary artery disease declines. You still have to watch your health, but you’re taking major steps toward increasing your lifespan. In two days, your ability to taste and smell improves because nerve endings are able to regenerate. It takes three days for the nicotine to be out of your system. This is when the biggest onset of withdrawal symptoms occurs. You’ve saved money for the past three days by not smoking, so do something for yourself. Get a massage, go out to the range or buy something nice for yourself as a reward.

In the next two to three weeks, you’ll be feeling much better and able to get back to exercise and do physical things without getting winded. The withdrawal symptoms should begin to subside by this time. You’ll be able to breathe easier and enjoy more of life’s fun. After four weeks, the cilia in your lungs are repaired to the point of being able to help you fight off lung infections and respiratory issues. This helps your lungs repair. The longer you go without smoking, the less withdrawal symptoms you’ll experience. After one year without smoking, your risk of heart disease is reduced by half of what it was when you were smoking.

Set Goals

Once you’ve decided to stop smoking, set goals. Make sure these goals are manageable and measurable. Instead of trying to give up smoking for one year, take it one week at a time. Just for seven days you’re going to stop or at least reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke.

Use the intervention programs that are available to you. Through the Council for Tobacco Control, you have access to helplines, telephone counseling, therapy and community-based programs. Your healthcare provider can even provide interventions to assist you through the withdrawal symptoms. It’s up to you to ask for help. Gain the support of your family. Talk about your fears and expectations. Make a commitment to your health by giving up cigarettes. Take up a new hobby to replace the time you spent smoking. Do it for yourself and your loved ones who want you around for years to come.

SMART Goals and Setting Them This New Year
Smart goals means setting an attainable goals and telling yourself "I can do it".

In order to set smart goals for yourself, you need to get rid of the negativity in your life.

There is a difference between “Goals” and “Smart Goals”. It’s that time of year when everyone sets new goals for the new year. Most people think of January 1 as a clean slate. It’s a day to make changes toward what we want in life. Often, we make such grandiose plans that we’re unable to carry them through. Our expectations are unrealistic. When we forget the resolutions we so carefully crafted, it’s easy to get discouraged and not make any changes at all in your life. This year, take a different approach to the resolutions you set for 2017.

How to Make Smart Goals for Yourself

Businesses have a lot of experience in setting goals. We can look to how businesses approach goal-setting to learn how to better set goals for our personal lives. SMART is an acronym that outlines a basic plan for developing goals that lead to success.

  • Specific – Your goals should be well defined.
  • Measurable – You should have a way to know when the goal is reached.
  • Attainable – The goal should be achievable.
  • Relevant – The goal should pertain to your overall goals.
  • Time-based – You should have a time frame to meet the goal.

Goals vs Smart Goals

Here’s an example of what a lot of people say: “I want to get healthier next year.” Although this is a good notion, it’s not exactly a SMART goal, because it’s very general in nature. How can this idea be changed into a smarter goal that can be reached? First, what aspect of getting healthy do you want to accomplish? Specifically, “I want to eat healthier.” Now, we need to add a number to our goal to make it measurable. “I want to pack my lunch four days a week instead of choosing fast food.”

While this goal sounds attainable, you should check it against your calendar. Are you traveling two or three days a week? Maybe you don’t have a way to keep your lunch at safe temperatures. If you have to take kids to soccer, boy scouts and dance every night, it might be difficult to pack a lunch for yourself every morning. Can you manage this goal based on your current lifestyle? Maybe you should start by saying “In January, I plan to pack a healthy lunch two days a week and make healthier choices when I do go out for lunch,” or “I will replace chips and cookies in my diet with fruit and yogurt.”

The relevancy of the goal is fairly obvious. If you want to get healthy, then eating healthier is probably important to you. But you have to look at where you are in life right now. If you’re being pressured into setting a goal that doesn’t mean anything for you, it’s time to go back and set a better goal. To make a goal more relevant, you might want to attach it to another goal. If you want to lose weight, then making healthier food choices would mean even more to you.

You Can Reach Your Goals

With a time-bound goal, you have an endpoint. With our goal above, the endpoint would be January. One month of eating healthier is much more doable than just getting healthy. At the endpoint, you can then examine the goal and the outcomes to decide if you want to try again next month or if you need to adapt the goal to make it “smarter.” Instead of setting one big goal that you never reach, set smaller goals that are reasonable. When you make your goals reasonable and attainable, you’re more likely to carry through. 

Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden, once said, “Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” Let the new year serve as a catalyst for change, but make your resolutions realistic.