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. But no matter how long it takes, many people find that asking themselves questions and thinking about their answers helps them figure out what change might be needed.
Even if you're not sure you're ready to make a change, thinking about what it might be like can be helpful. It can be a way to explore or even find motivation.
Thinking 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?
Thinking about yourself
Sometimes it's helpful to take a break from thinking about your behavior and the idea of making changes.
Instead, think about who you are, the person you want to be, and what's most important to you. How would you answer the following questions?
- What qualities do I most want to use to describe myself? (For example: healthy, loyal, trustworthy, strong, brave, loving)
- What roles do I value most in my life? (For example: parent, friend, brother, sister, wife, husband, partner, daughter, son)
- Why are these qualities and roles important to me?
Now ask yourself these questions:
- 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 a change such as cutting back or quitting help me have these qualities and fill these roles?
Think about your answers. How would making a healthy change affect who you are and what you do? How would it change the lives of the people who matter most to you?
Giving it a try
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: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health