Now that we're into February, many peoples' New Year's Resolutions to stop smoking are just a fading memory. If you are one of those who have postponed following through on your stop smoking resolution, I'd like to give you some realistic ways to get back on the right track towards a life that is free from tobacco. What I will show you here are some of the key things I've learned in over 20 years of research into smoking cessation methods and products.

If you're being honest with yourself, you'll admit that it's not possible to have a physically fit body and to also be a smoker. Without a doubt, the biggest keys to staying on course with your desire to be smoke-free are-- (1) to be honest with yourself about the importance of stopping smoking soon, (2) about how to do it most effectively and 3)about keeping the promises that you make to yourself in all areas of your life.

Let's take those ideas one at a time.

You know that continually postponing your decision to stop smoking is not a good idea. In addition to the fact that smoking hurts your health and shortens your life, it also damages your opinion of yourself. When you are being genuine, you know that feeling really good about who you are is not possible when you are puffing smoke in and out of your lungs hundreds of times every day. So, Tip Number One: Set a quit date that is 3 to 8 weeks from now. If you have a pretty relaxed lifestyle and not a lot of job, financial or relationship challenges, take 3 or 4 weeks to prepare to stop. If you already often feel on overload, take longer.

Release the temptation to "have to quit tomorrow" without a plan and without thinking about how to put that plan together. What will be the best methods and products for you to use to stop smoking? The best person to answer that question is YOU. Again, being honest with yourself is the key.

Your biggest roadblock here is called delusion. And delusion is something that is all about your ego's desire to keep things just like they are now. Your ego will tell you that you can try to quit using the same things you've done before to stop smoking----that this time you'll succeed with just a little more will power. It will also tell you that those things you've tried before, quick-fixes like hypnosis or gums or patches or that cute little white tube are going to have you all fixed up by next Tuesday. The fact is that those quick-fixes fail for the vast majority of smokers who try them.

Here's the one-year failure rate for some of the popular "cures":
Nicotine gums, patches, inhaler: 79-88%
Zyban: 65%
One to three hypnosis sessions: 83-90%

Many smokers look at those numbers and say one of 2 things: "Even though I tried it before and failed, I can still use one of these techniques and succeed this time with a little more will power." Or: "I'd probably fail again, so I won't try to quit." While will power can be important, reducing the equation to the point where the only thing you're doing different this time is adding more will power is a great recipe for frustration. If you want to quit smoking for good, then choose to be honest with yourself about what it's going to take.

One of the best steps you can take in that process is to start being completely consistent about keeping the promises you make to yourself and others in all areas of your life. And the key to doing that right is to make your promises realistic.

If your starting point is "couch potato", don't choose to promise yourself that you'll start tomorrow with five 45-minute workouts per week. Choose something that you know that you can and will do. Then build up from there to a more ambitious workout routine. Likewise, if you tend to have a schedule that is too full, and you've got a meeting tomorrow at 4, don't tell yourself "Bob knows I run 15 minutes late most of the time, so it's no big deal." Rather, respect your time, your word and the person you are to meet. Be on time. When you get used to the idea of keeping your word about things that seem to have nothing to do with smoking, you'll find it easier to keep those smoking-related promises, too.

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For more stop smoking tips and inspiration, see the Smoking Release web site at