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New Year's Resolutions—Michelle ma Belle Shares Her Goals

It's important to have support, whether you're working on smoking cessation or not jumping on the kitchen counter.

C'est moi, Michelle. The editor's cat.

She asked me to do another column, this time on New Year's resolutions. I have no idea what resolutions are, but she says they're things like, for cats, promising not to jump on tables. Stuff like that.

She says writing down our goals helps. So, I've been commissioned to write mine down! You may have read my previous column on travel tips for pets, which came about after JP adopted me from Pets Lifeline in Sonoma. Maybe adopting a dog or cat could be one of your resolutions?

Here goes with mine, then I want to read yours:

  • I promise to wait for treats and not jump on the kitchen counter when I smell food.
  • I promise to stand back when the fridge is opened and not try to nose my way in to see what's in the containers.
  • I will work on my habit of knocking everything off shelves, chairs, the sofa and table, scattering stuff throughout the house. I said I'd work on it, ok, but ... I don't know about this one.
  • I will refrain from crying for treats (sure I will!) when anyone goes in the kitchen.
  • I will also work on not darting out the front door when it's opened, especially in the rain and when it's dark.
  • I'll try to remember not to fly off the walls playing in the morning when it's still dark, especially on weekends. (Bummer!)
  • I promise to quit biting and scratching. I thought it was a fun way to start a game. My siblings for adoption at Sonoma Home didn't like it either, especially when they were sleeping. Go figure! No sense of humor.

Wow, those are going to be tough. I'll need my friends to support me.

That's the whole idea.

I'm told support is key for overcoming habits like mine. JP says she'll help. (Baby gates work well for now!) Her resolution is to remember I'm just a kitten in training and to laugh more. (Some of that wore off after a few months!)

A lot of humans try to knock the smoking habit, I'm told. The American Lung Association sent us a news release. I've learned a lot.

Six out of 10 smokers have to try repeatedly to stop smoking, according to the Association, but planning ahead can really improve a person's chances of quitting for good. Here are some tips:

1.      Seek support: Ask family, friends, and co-workers for their help and support. Having someone to take a walk with, or just listen, can give a needed boost.

·         Find support online or in your community. Consider joining a stop-smoking program like Freedom From Smoking® Online (www.ffsonline.org) from the American Lung Association.

·         Visit www.lung.org/stop-smoking or call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) for additional suggestions.

(Editor's note: It's easier on some people if you don't ask them how it's going or how they're feeling all the time. Let them get distracted by stuff and don't remind them that they're trying to quit cigarettes. I learned this watching a friend go through it.)

2.      Take time to plan: Designate a day to quit on the calendar and stick to it. Avoid peak times of stress, such as the holidays, and gather in advance the tools and medications you will need.

3.      Exercise daily: Exercise is proven to help smokers quit. Not only that, it will also combat weight gain and improve mood and energy levels. Walking is a great way to reduce the stress of quitting.

4.      Prioritize nutrition and sleep: Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and be sure to get plenty of sleep.

5.      Talk to your doctor or pharmacist: They can discuss with you the various over-the-counter or prescription medications available to help you quit.

“The start of the New Year is a terrific time for smokers to implement their plan to quit,” said Jane Warner, President and CEO, American Lung Association in California. “The benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle include improved overall health, economic benefits, and protecting loved ones from harmful secondhand smoke.”

The American Lung Association has introduced Freedom From Smoking® Online, a self-paced online adaptation of the group clinic that's available 24 hours a day.

Weight Loss

A lot of these tips could be applied to any behavior modification, such as weight loss, too. Click here for the Mayo Clinic's tips on losing extra pounds.

TELL US: What are your New Year's resolutions? Do you have tips you can share with our readers? Add them in the comments section below.

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Julie Pendray (Editor) December 27, 2012 at 09:54 PM
My resolutions: buy some rubber boots to deal with all the rain! Also, be more organized. Get more exercise, laugh more, take life less seriously, be kind to myself. There, I went first. Now, what are yours?

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