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So, you're ready to make a change that matters to you. You've planned for this change. You have your larger plan and smaller steps defined. Let's get started.
As you start, it may help to know that you don't have to do it all at once. Taking one step at a time helps you stay focused. It makes it easier to manage temptation, track your progress, and keep things positive and rewarding.
Cravings can be triggered by events, places, or even people. Many people find that when changing the way they eat, use tobacco, drink alcohol, or use a drug, there are a lot of triggers. You may find triggers in:
To help fight physical cravings, plan ahead.
You can learn to cope with cravings. Each success you have with resisting a craving makes it easier next time. Over time, cravings get weaker and go away.
For some people, it can be helpful to remember that every day is a new day to be ready. To stay ahead of triggers and cravings, keep these questions in mind:
Tracking your progress may be something you naturally do. Or it may feel strange or like you're putting pressure on yourself. But many people who have made successful changes have found that tracking works. Looking at a record of your progress can really help you stay focused on and working toward your goals.
To track how you're doing with your plan, write down a quick daily note, keep a daily calendar, or use an online or mobile tracking tool. Use whatever works for you. It doesn't take long to see what's going well and what slip-ups you can learn from.
Changing your behavior can be a tough process, and each small success deserves credit.
Along with feeling satisfied that you're making a change that matters, you may have other, mixed feelings. If you're stopping something or doing less of it, it's normal to also feel a sense of loss. To help with this, fill your time with things that make you feel good. Spend time with people you enjoy, return to an old hobby, or try something new. Ask yourself:
That new life you imagined? It's in sight. See yourself getting past the temptations and cravings, rather than giving in to them. It may take practice, but you can do it. Just give it time.
Stead LF, et al. (2012). Nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (11).
November 7, 2013
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Timothy R. Stockwell, PhD
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