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New Year's Resolutions. Achieve Your Goals!

January 1. An opportunity to change bad habits and set new routines.

New Year’s rituals have been popular since ancient times. They’ve shown up in faiths and cultures throughout history as a time to start over, celebrated by making noise, eating lucky food, sharing a cup of kindness, kissing the person you hope to keep on kissing, and remembering those no longer with us.

There’s something about the end of year, the stroke of midnight, that feels like a magical moment on which we can pin future hopes. 

A clean slate offers up a chance to start fresh and gives us permission to repent and reinvent. We grab the opportunity to “resolve” to do better and be better and delve into our emotional depths, hauling out less fabulous traits and habits and evaluating how they impact our health, finances, work, behaviour or relationships.

It’s no surprise that the urgency to spark positive change is popular in the health, finance and fitness arenas. We need to try and choose something that truly matters to us, something that significantly impairs our functioning, how we feel about ourselves or how we’re viewed by others. That’s why cutting back on alcohol, losing weight, paying back debt, exercising more, reducing screen time and giving up smoking are high up on the list of bigger resolutions.

Many of us are discovering that there are smaller, everyday things that seem designed to increase dependence, like sugary food, calorific takeaways, smart phones, shopping, gaming, dating apps and social media. All of these have the capacity to alter mood and trigger a dopamine release in our brains. Things that activate reward pathways can become addictive and hijack impulse control and judgement! We can become dependent if we're continually looking for a way to feel better, relieve boredom or distract ourselves from deeper thoughts and feelings. With mindful awareness, we can instead look at the things/experiences we're becoming dependent upon and be curious about they offer us and then replace them with harm reduction alternatives or process our underlying emotions more effectively.

The secret is to find healthier pathways to pleasure like nature, love, creativity, exercise, relaxation and meditation and to partake in activities that create joy, satisfaction and personal fulfilment. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who make New Year’s resolutions are successful. Don’t be one of them! 

Lasting behavioural changes requires a special mix of:

  • Readiness.
  • Belief in yourself.
  • Planning.
  • Harm reduction replacements.
  • Effort and emotion.
  • Impulse control.
  • Awareness of triggers.
  • Predicting obstacles.
  • Social & professional support.
  • And lashings of self compassion.

Choosing a resolution that’s deeply, personally important is probably why each year, according to the 2020 Health and Lifestyles Survey, nearly half of all smokers in NZ try to kick the habit. A nationwide 2021 Shosha Study showed that 52% of smokers wanted to quit for their health, and 30% for their finances.

Because smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable illness, and cigarettes are shockingly expensive (10 a day costs around $6.5K a year) hopefully many smokers are going to make this the year they quit for good. 

2022 is an even more opportune time to quit because as Dr Ashley Clift at the University of Oxford says: “Our results strongly suggest that smoking is related to your risk of getting severe Covid, and just as smoking affects your risk of heart disease, different cancers, and all those other conditions we know smoking is linked to, it appears that it’s the same for Covid. So now might be as good a time as any to quit cigarettes and quit smoking.” 

Giving up smoking is the single best decision anyone can make to improve their health, so choose quitting over starting a fad diet, focusing on a number on the scales or committing to working out every day, because once you’ve set a positive quit in motion, you’re more likely to find yourself incorporating nutritious foods and movement into your lifestyle. Your energy and lung capacity will improve, and if you throw in the great self care and stress reduction tips you get by signing up for free quit support with www.quitnow.nz you’ll be a whole new you in 2022.

When to quit?

While anytime is a good time to quit, waking up on New Year’s Day in the midst of hectic holidays, tiredness and a home full of relatives isn’t the ultimate time to go cold turkey with no nicotine, support or plan in place!

My advice would be to go ahead and start your quit process on New Years Day by making your resolution, registering online and declaring it to yourself and the world. 

Secondly, mentally, physically and emotionally prepare for change, which takes at least 1 to 2 weeks.

Then choose strategies and tools to help you quit. If you’re choosing to vape as a pathway to quitting, this means getting expert help from your specialist vape retailer to choose a device and e-juices that satisfy you. 

Then when you have your nicotine replacement ready and behavioural support/counselling by online video (or email) sorted, your quit success chances are doubled.

What might get in the way? 

Slips are generally from a lack of personal control, excessive stress, and negative emotion. When it comes to smoking, stress, socialising, and nicotine dependence often get in the way. 

Here’s another secret. We need to make the desirable behaviours as easy as possible to perform and the undesirable behaviours harder to perform.

If quitting smoking seemed harder in other years, did you fear withdrawal symptoms? Maybe you had trouble breaking away from nicotine dependence? Or did you not want to give up your valid excuse to take a break from work several times a day?

Clients are saying they’re now finding quitting easier than ever before by choosing to vape as a pathway to quitting smoking. They report it’s satisfying with minimal withdrawal symptoms. They like that their device delivers nicotine with fewer of the toxins that come from burning harmful tobacco and that they can still be social.   The Ministry of Health say “Expert opinion is that vaping products are much less harmful than smoking tobacco but not completely harmless.” 

Make your goals more attainable!

  • Review 2021 and consider what helped you and what hindered you. Celebrate your gains and release your losses. 
  • Express gratitude to those who have supported and added joy to your year. 
  • Pick a realistic resolution that you know is going to benefit you the most, because that alone will increase your motivation.
  • Remember that accountability and support is going to help sustain your very new actions and move you towards your goal, despite triggers, obstacles and possible struggles. 
  • You then just need to wake up each and every calendar day and be super conscious about your resolution and the steps you are taking, because every day soon adds up to massive changes over the course of an entire year. 

Our support and social pages help expand your toolbox and capabilities so you can react to challenges differently and cope with whatever 2022 has in store for you. If you already quit in 2021 well done and good luck with a new goal.


Never quit, trying to quit! Register and Quitnow.NZ



 

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