“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs one step at a time” (Mark Twain). Focus on eradicating one poor ritual at a time. Replacing the bad habit with a positive, productive, and repetitive practice can eliminate the poor routine from one’s life. Setting a definitive time in the future, no longer than three months out, to stop smoking can build positive anticipation that facilitates the cessation process. Physical symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, and irritability may last up to two weeks. After that short duration the winning battle is in the mind. The time and trouble to become healthier is extremely short compared to the wonderful life-giving payoff. Sugarless gum or candy, coupled with physical activity can help tremendously.
“It is a human nature to think wisely and act foolishly” (Antatole France). Rise above the past by allowing your renewed character, values, principles, moral code, and life philosophies describe and drive who you genuinely are. Hold those beliefs and principles close to your heart and soul, while constantly thinking about them, therefore acting in such manners. Be genuine through your integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, goodness, self-discipline, hard work, love, forgiveness, consideration, hope, and tranquil state of mind, high personal standards, and everything that makes you an authentic one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
Listen, learn, and lead. Heed opportunities to keep your mouth closed. Being grateful equates to already, right now; not when or what if. Live in the now. This moment is your life. Not yesterday or tomorrow, only now. Live always in the now. Leave the past behind, be present—forgetting about time. Worry divides the mind. It’s not focused on the present, but past or future problems or mistakes. This leads to heightened anxiety. Let forgiveness wipe clean the suffering of memories. Forgiveness doesn’t minimize or change past events, only brightens and broadens the future. Replace if’s with gratitude, jettisoning the fight-or-flight response of real fear. Perception is not the problem, only the way you see it. Let a positive teachable attitude be the resolution. Remember Zig Ziglar’s wisdom, “quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Decisions create destiny.
There are three main body type morphologies or shapes depicting people. Rudimentary descriptions indicate that ectomorphs are slender, mesomorphs muscular, and endomorphs tending to possess more fat. Each person is a mixture of two, although has a natural tendency toward leaning closer to one than another. We have the incredible powers to adapt and change our bodies into the more desirable shape by putting forth effort. Wonderful rewards full of health, joy, self-confidence, longevity, peace, satisfaction, vitality, self-control, and healthy self-images await those that decide and do.
Eating healthy entails not storing high-calorie low-nutrient foods in the house. The types of food calories consumed are more important regarding our well-being than the quantity because of synthetic chemicals and certain ingredients. Look at food labels to minimize or eliminate ones having sugar as the first ingredient, while abstaining from trans fats, such as partially or fully hydrogenated oils found in many cakes, pastries, margarine, donuts, crackers, frosting, cream-filled candy, frozen pizza, biscuits, and fried food, among others. Trans-fatty acids can elevate low density lipoprotein (LDL-bad cholesterol), decrease high density lipoprotein (HDL-good cholesterol), and increase triglycerides, promoting the risk for coronary artery disease, stoke, systemic inflammation, obesity, and type II diabetes. Parts of New York City limited or banned trans fats in 2007 with a tentative U.S. nationwide mitigation and eradication plan set for the middle of 2018, which continues to be worked towards. Various countries either prohibit trans fat or mandate restrictions upon the amounts allowed in food.
“You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough” (Mary Jane West). Let’s not take our gifts, talents, skills, abilities, or money with us to our grave. Don’t wander through life without meaning and purpose. Don’t measure success with society’s yardstick of success, power, status, money, and fame. Instead, focus on making a difference by impacting and influencing positive change in yourself, others, your community and country, as well as the world. People are influenced not by your social status, nearly as much as by how much you care about them. Show your family, friends and those around you how much you care by telling them, writing letters, and doing spontaneous acts of kindness for them. Show love in daily practices toward all humankind. Lead rather than manage people.
Additionally, happiness ensues through making one’s own decisions, not someone choosing for you. A young dog once thought happiness lived in his tail, thus choosing to chase his tail perpetually. He talked to an older dog about happiness being in his tail. This older dog said, “Everybody knows happiness is in the tail, but I don’t chase after mine. Wherever I go and whatever I do, my tail always follows.”
“Who is strong? He that can conquer his bad habits. Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout” (Benjamin Franklin). It’s not likely long-term, or healthy, to keep personal and professional lives separate. Eventually, the inconsistency will show up, resulting in ill health or failed compromise. People can turn from crime, becoming productive law-abiding citizens. Every moment of each new day, we all have the power, opportunity, and privilege to choose good over evil. Use the law of replacing bad habits with good habits. Self-restraint only takes one so far, therefore make and place healthy habits on autopilot. Triumphant victory belongs to you and me!
“Choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong” (Author unknown). Transition from dark to light. Stay standing strong, shining bright. Change environments and habits, being it’s easier to avoid temptation, than it is trying to beat temptation. Self-control only lasts so long in the midst of enticement. Cues create propensities toward behaving, acting, speaking, exercising, and eating in certain ways. Knowing what we desire and why, allows for clarity towards planning different measurable choices to implement at specific times, therefore manifesting a brand-new life. Frequent and consistent measurable goals set for specific times makes implementation likely and perpetual, eventually habitual. How we begin life is irrelevant and over, yet the rest of our story can be anything we choose.
“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” (Joseph Stalin). Grace and forgiveness are like oxygen to the mind, body, spirit, and soul. We cannot live fully without harmonious synergy between each realm of our being, while damage ensues when any of them are neglected. Oxygen is life. Remember that our hemoglobin molecule on the red blood cell carries oxygen to every cell in our body. Nicotine has an affinity for hemoglobin, which takes approximately 50% of the oxygen away from our cells when consuming nicotine. Results of any disease-killing process is the cessation of oxygen in the end. Pollutants from smoke cause hepatic injury, leading to elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL aka bad cholesterol), thus creating plaque and narrowing of arteries. Averting heart attacks, stroke, peripheral vascular and arterial disease, among myriads of other unwanted ailments is within our control. Nicotine weakens the esophageal sphincter, causing gastroesophageal reflux. Please stop smoking or using any nicotine-releasing substance if you do not want suffering and misery in later years, as well as becoming a statistic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),
“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Nearly 40 million US adults still smoke cigarettes, and about 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Every day, more than 3,800 youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette. Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Each year, the United States spends nearly $170 billion on medical care to treat smoking-related disease in adults.”³
Don’t leave your one and only beautiful unique life to chance or try fatally reasoning with fate. Create your own present and future well-being by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. Struggling for each single breath of air that we may currently take for granted, or dying precipitously from cancer or another awful avoidable disease is within our control. Govern the controllable factors and forget about the rest. Remove I can’t from your vocabulary. Saying or believing, “I can’t,” only associates stronger connections uniting undesirable behaviors and self-limiting beliefs linked to your identity. Saying, “I can’t,” may be a character flaw, when indeed you can. Stop lying to your beautiful self, creating a deleterious mental movie. If someone threatened to harm your loved ones if you did not terminate smoking permanently, you could stop. Muster up enough faith, courage, and powerful reasons to end smoking forever and you will. You can do it!
Most of us want to be around to see our sons and daughters get married, spend time enjoying grandchildren, or relish in the splendors of true living. Living and aliveness have their own relative connotations. Each of us has to decide how we want to live, therefore let’s help each other, while casting no judgement upon anyone.
Any anticipatory anxiety or fear of future events can be mitigated and abated by facing them bravely, head on. For example, rather than trying to avoid making a specific mistake during a speech, go out and try to create this blunder and it probably won’t happen. At least instead of worrying about a future slip up, which likely will not occur, you can now rest peacefully, living fully, today. Practicing this strategy for most worries may just lead to no more foreboding. Additionally, stop looking at storms of yesterdays in the rear view mirror, lest depression set in, stealing moments, hours, days, months and possibly years, which otherwise could be abundant joy and laughter. The past is gone—it will never return, the future is full of glorious wonders, and the moment is tranquility, love, and peace because you choose it so.
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense” (Buddha). We live vibrantly and courageously or die dastardly, mostly because of habitual choices we make. Let your thoughts, attitudes, words, behaviors, and environments lead to fuller, more joy-filled lifestyles. To each their own—nihilism or usefulness, meaning, and dignity. We must decide for ourselves the best path for our own unique journey through time. Insight, advice, principles, other peoples’ experiences (OPEs), beliefs, and suggestions from others can help formulate what we ought not to do or must do to acquire all the splendors this wondrous world offers. Live without regret, guilt, resentment, blame or shame by owning your own discerning decisions, while not judging others. We can choose our actions, but not the consequences. Learn to smile and laugh during any situation, for suffering and death are only parts of life, which help us feel—knowing we are alive with breath in our lungs, while transcending and transmuting fear, anxiety, and depression into forgiveness, joy, peace, and love.