Changing anything big in your life can be stressful. It can seem like a lot to do. This can be especially true when the change involves tobacco, a drug, alcohol, or changing how you eat.
For some people, knowing that something has to change happens quickly. For others, it can take years. Nobody is the same. But, no matter how long it takes, many people find that asking themselves questions and thinking about their answers helps them figure out what to do next.
Even if you're not sure that change is for you, thinking about what it might be like can be helpful. You're just looking at both sides of a story.
Think about the change
Ask yourself questions about what you want to change, like:
- In my life right now, what would I like to be different?
- What will happen if I don't make this change?
- What will I look forward to in my life after I make this change?
- What might my life look like in 3 years if I change my behavior?
Think about yourself
Sometimes it's helpful to take a break from thinking about your behavior and the idea of changing.
Instead, think about who you are, the person you want to be, and what's most important to you. What would be your answers to the following questions?
- What qualities do I most want to use to describe myself? (Such as healthy, loyal, trustworthy, strong, brave, loving)
- What roles do I value most in my life? (Such as parent, friend, brother, sister, wife, husband, partner, daughter, son)
Why are these qualities and roles important?
Now consider this:
- Who counts on me to have these qualities or to fill these roles?
- How, if at all, does my behavior support these qualities or roles? For example, how does smoking help me be a healthy person?
- How might cutting back or quitting help me have these qualities and fill these roles?
Take a look at your answers. How would a change in a certain behavior affect who you are and what you do? How would it change the lives of the people who matter most to you?
Try an experiment
If you're not sure that a change is right for you, try an experiment.
- Cut back on your use for a short period of time.
- Notice the bad and good ways it makes you feel.
- Take notes. It's the best way to remember things clearly later on.
Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health