There’s often the cliche that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, when it comes to quitting smoking, sometimes that’s the only choice. While many believe that it’s much harder to quit when you’re older, your age actually has little to do with your willpower. In fact, many older smokers find it easier to quit later in life because it fell out of fashion or was something they had to do for their kid’s sake. And, if you’ve been considering quitting as you’ve started to reach the middle of your life, we’ve provided a few smoking cessation tips for older adults.
Take It Easy At First
The hardest part of developing a healthier lifestyle is learning how to take things in stride. We often get these grandiose visions in our heads of who we could be, imagining someone that not only has quit cigarettes, but is in tip-top shape, eating healthy, and even just overall looking and feeling better. While it’s great to have an overall goal, being able to accomplish that comes with looking at what you can do one day at a time. And, often, that means taking things easy at first.
When it comes to quitting cigarettes, the first thing you should consider is if you want to use a tobacco-free product or not. While some people go at it cold turkey, others find it easier to have something there to help alleviate withdrawal. There’s no shame in giving yourself the chance to catch up with yourself, which means not always doing everything all at once, but rather gradually over time.
Learn To Pick Up New Habits
A great way to get out of bad habits is to develop new ones. Although it sounds easier than it is, picking up new habits is a day-to-day task. Usually, it can take an average of 66 days to develop a habit, which requires a significant amount of patience. A lifestyle change is never accomplished overnight (especially in older age), which is why learning how to reward yourself is also an important aspect as well.
Remember To Reward Yourself
One of the biggest secrets to breaking old habits while building new ones is knowing how to reward yourself. As noted by behavioral psychologist Charles Duhigg, the biggest reason why people fail to develop a new habit (or, quit a current one) is that they don’t reward themselves enough for successfully breaking the action. Granted, this doesn’t mean to necessarily go hog wild for every micro-accomplishment, however, setting milestones or benchmarks in your progress is important, giving your reward complex the boost it needs.
Take A Second To Appreciate What You’re Gaining
While you’re in the trenches of quitting, it’s smart to remember what you’re gaining from this whole process. These are things as simple as your risk of a heart attack being reduced 24 hours after quitting, as well as an array of other health benefits too. Furthermore, this is also time you’re winning back to spend with friends and family, enabling you to get to know them better and feel like you’re truly getting more time on this earth. Finally, this is a moment to counterbalance and reverse a lot of negative things in your life; for example, most middle-aged people gain at least 3-4 pounds per year, which you can start counteracting with your newfound ability to exercise.
Give yourself a chance to enjoy being a nonsmoker, as you might learn something new about yourself.
Enjoy The Perspective Of Being A Nonsmoker
Being a nonsmoker can be quite an enjoyable lifestyle if you let it be. While it’s estimated that only 6 percent of people who attempt to quit are successful, a big reason for that is they view themselves as being deprived. Quite simply, they count the days in agony, relying on the idea that if they make it ‘3 days, 2 weeks, 1 month, etc’, that at some point, they’ll stop thinking about it. However, this confines you from being able to truly enjoy being a nonsmoker. Use these smoking cessation tips for older adults to get started now.
Make a list of all the activities you’d like to do as a nonsmoker. No matter how silly, these can be activities you want to try, objects you’ve wanted to buy, or even trips you’ve wanted to take. Nothings off limits, especially since you don’t have to worry about cigarettes holding you back anymore. Even as an older adult, there’s no reason you don’t deserve to feel young again, which starts by looking at this as a new chapter in your life. The only thing left to do is start writing the story you want to see.