Happy New Year!

New Year's Day brings inspiration, possibility, opportunity, renewal, rebirth, growth, and change. One of the reasons that I've challenged myself to start a blog, is to have a platform in which to share some of my own personal experiences with change and rebirth.  Perhaps the most exciting realization I've experienced, is learning that I could declare a change at any moment. Every day is a day for resolutions! Real, life-changing, resolutions aren't limited to New Year's Day.   Life-altering change can happen on a Thursday.  New beginnings can happen on any day, at any moment, whenever we choose.  Life-altering change can occur whenever one is finally "done" with a self-destructive (or counter-productive) behavior and is finally ready to welcome a new, positive, alternative.

I've lost 100 pounds, I stopped drinking nearly 6 years ago, and I stopped smoking 4 months ago.  I still have a lot of self-improvement projects  but I know that as soon as I'm ready to tackle those changes or issues, I can do it! I've learned that whatever positive changes a person desires for oneself, can be achieved just as soon as one makes the decision to do so.  If one truly desires a positive change for oneself and if one is truly "done" with self-destructive behaviors, the change will occur.

I've found that making up your mind to do something is probably more difficult than actually doing it!  I've known for years that I "needed" to quit smoking but I hadn't ever tried to quit and it wasn't until recently that I even actually wanted to quit. I had tortured myself for years over the thought that someday, I will have to quit smoking.  I tortured myself with the thought that the process of smoking cessation, will be torture.  I couldn't even manage the thought of not-smoking.  I would try to imagine myself drinking a cup of coffee without also having a cigarette, and I couldn't do it!  I was so addicted to smoking and it was such a part of my life, that I couldn't even visualize myself not-smoking. I had also become afraid to attempt quitting after watching a friend make numerous failed attempts.  I was afraid that if I failed, I wouldn't ever try again. I didn't want to quit but I knew that I needed to.  I suspect that if I would have tried to quit at that time, I would have failed.

Earlier this year, I started to grow tired of smoking.  I hadn't yet made up my mind to quit, but I had made up my mind to think about quitting and to think about not-smoking.  I hadn't yet made the declaration that I was going to quit smoking, but I had made the declaration that I was going to think about quitting and think about not-smoking.  I did just that.   I didn't know it at the time, but I was setting myself up for success.  I was incubating my desire to quit smoking.  The desire to quit smoking was growing stronger every day.  Then one day, it just happened.  I woke up and I was done smoking. It was that easy.  I had done such a thorough job of visualizing a smoke-free life and had cultivated such a strong desire to be a non-smoker, that I just woke up "done."  I was done wasting money on cigarettes. I was done damaging my health and shortening my life.  I was done sabotaging my progress in exercise.  I was done stinking like a smoker.  I was done obsessing about my next cigarette break.  I was done planning events around smoker-friendly establishments.  I was done driving a car that smelled of cigarettes. I was done ruining clothes with accidental cigarette burns. I was done being judged for being a smoker.  I was done being owned by a stupid cigarette. I was just done.

It turned out, for me, that the actual cessation was not difficult at all.  The challenge, for me, was to finally reach the point in my life when I was ready to change.  The challenge was finally making up my mind that I wanted to quit smoking.  I had a genuine desire to change and having a genuine desire to change has made me successful in smoking cessation. The only torture in quitting smoking, was the torture I put myself through in making up my mind to be "done."

If you've made New Year's Resolutions, I wish you the very best of luck in fulfilling them.  If you have a slip-up or a set-back, try again. Even if you need to scrap the "New Year's Resolution" and declare a "Right at This Moment Resolution," just keep going. Do not get discouraged. When you've made up your mind to do something, you will be unstoppable and success will be yours.