The Science Behind “New Year, New Me” and What it Means for Tobacco in Your Life

Written by Brooklyn Community Engagement Manager, Julia Cuthbertson.

January 1st can be a date that we anticipate eagerly or that we dread. That’s often because many of us use the new year as a clean slate, to put the past year behind us and begin anew with healthy habits. After a holiday season full of indulgence, this can mean going back to the pre-holiday status quo, whatever that means for you. For some of us, it can also mean making more significant lifestyle changes. And while January 1st is just another day, there is actually some science supporting the significance of tying your goals to a specific date.

A 2013 study called this the “The Fresh Start Effect”  discusses how goal setting can encourage lifestyle change. While this is not earth-shattering news, given the popularity and long history of New Year’s resolutions, researchers concluded that people are indeed more likely to commit to a goal immediately following a temporal landmark. “If true”, the study concluded, “this little-researched phenomenon has the potential to help people overcome important willpower problems that often limit goal attainment.”

Wish this could be you? It can be! If you are a smoker or a vaper and you want to quit, the first step is to pick a day. Whether it’s January 1st or another date that’s easier or more convenient for you, it’s important that your quit day is within the next month, according to the American Cancer Society, so that you don’t have time to change your mind. Of course, taking the steps to reduce tobacco use, coming up with a plan for quitting, and forming a support network are all important parts of the process after choosing your date in order to set you up for success.

As we approach the beginning of a new year, we hope that if you are ready to live a life free from tobacco, you consider using this opportunity as motivation to leave the past behind and focus on what the new year can mean for a new you.


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