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8.09.2011

kicking the addiction.

We all have habits we aren't proud of- biting your nails until they bleed, tanning until you're "Snooki" orange, crushing a non-fat no-whip cinnamon dolce latte every weekday morning via Starbucks, hitting your favorite store's sale every month because "you can't afford to save that much money", checking your ex-boyfriend's-new girlfriend's (whom you have obviously never met) Facebook page daily, having the inability to keep happy hour to just one drink (impossible I swear!)...and oh how we all know the list could go on and on. The truth of the matter is this- admitting that the habit needs to be kicked is the first step. Is there actual documentation out there saying that your habit is harmful to your health or the health of others? Are you unable to keep up with your finances as a result of your addiction? Is it impacting your relationships with friends, family or your significant other? When push comes to shove, we all have things that we do that we know aren't ideal for our well-being- but the real question is, do you want to change? Step One: Identify the problem and explain why it's a problem in the first place. For the sake of this article, I'm going to share with you an addiction I am currently trying to kick- tanning beds. I know, I know...awful for you. But in Vermont the winters are harsh- cold, dark, and long! It's tough to go months without an adequate supply of Vit-D, but tanning in "cancer beds" is not the answer. Just about a year ago there was even a 10% tax tacked on individuals at tanning salons; referred to as "Botax."
The American Academy of Dermatology, which strongly opposed the Botax, applauded the inclusion of the tanning tax as a replacement because of the significant health risks associated with indoor tanning. According to the Academy, indoor tanning before the age of 35 is linked to a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which has also become more common in young females. Meanwhile, nearly 30 million Americans hit the tanning beds each year and about 2.3 million of these people are teenagers. An indoor tanning tax will therefore "serve as a signal from the federal government to young people that indoor tanning is dangerous and should be avoided," said Dr. William James, president of the academy. (CNN.com)
Step one complete- habit identified and research complete on why I need to kick it. I am not about to become a statistic for melanoma. Step Two: Make a plan. Change your daily routine so it's harder for your habit to rear its ugly head. Change your route to work so you don't pass Starbucks and start a change bin for all the money you would have used- it's insane the studies done on how much you could save. Switch your weekly happy hour meeting to every other week (and substitute meeting your lady friends for a post-work walk instead). Schedule a nail appointment, and let your manicurist give your nails a little TLC- once you see how nice they look when they're all cleaned up, you may change your mind about gnawing on them. Take inventory on your closet- do you really need more clothes? If you do, make a rule that for every new shirt you buy, you need to donate an old one from the way-back-of-your-closet-that-you-probably-totally-forgot-about-because-the-sales-tag-is-still-intact to charity. Step Three: Reward yourself! Off to a great start? Made it through Thursday without your coffee stop? Go on Friday and savor every drop. Skipped the store sale for two months in a row and donated 3 trash bags full of clothes? Limit yourself to $70 bucks and go find something chic for the dinner party you have on Saturday night. You don't need to be unreasonable with yourself. Kicking your favorite guilty habit isn't easy- and going cold turkey usually results in obscene amounts of crankiness. So make reasonable goals and make sure you give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work. Remember you are likely kicking your bad habit to make yourself healthier physically, emotionally, or financially- it'll pay in the long run even if it doesn't seem fair now. Oh! And you are probably wondering how my tanning addiction is going-- Upside? I'm 2+ weeks strong and have saved myself over thirty bucks. Downside? I haven't seen myself this pale in months and now I know why it's so difficult to let go- tan is sexy; pale is not. Not to mention it's still summer. Let's see what happens once November rolls around- it may be back to the drawing board. 

 

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