MAGAZINE: No more cold turkey, please!

If, like so many people, you've resolved to stop doing something in the New Year then you might be surprised to learn that only about one in 20 people actually succeed by going cold turkey.

Going Cold Turkey
Going Cold Turkey

Rather than embarking on a likely doomed strategy of total self-denial, Mike Delaney, a leading authority in the treatment of addictions with over 30 years’ consultancy experience in the UK and internationally, says that you will be far more successful if you introduce substitutes instead of cutting something out altogether.

The all-or-nothing total quitting approach is particularly problematic after the inevitable excesses of the festive period.

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Cognitive psychologists also don’t like it, as there is no margin between success and failure; one moment of weakness and you’ve “failed”, which can lead to the mentality – “why bother trying again?”

Mike’s top five tips to beat the vicious circle are as follows:

Don’t set your goals too high as you will be setting yourself up to fail; make your resolutions reasonable and achievable and you will have a greater chance of success

Don’t plan too many at once as this is also the road to failure, e.g. trying to stop smoking, lose weight, stop drinking and do more exercise is a huge piece of work to undertake on top of all the other challenges that a new year brings

As they say, “take it one day at a time”; stopping something for 24hrs is easier than thinking you have to do it “forever”

Use all the support you can muster! Family, friends, healthcare professionals and support groups all have a part to play if you use them; it also helps you to stay focused and strong every day

Be kind to yourself and reward success; try putting money away every day that you have managed to save by not indulging in your bad habit; at the end of every week or month that you have achieved success, buy yourself something that you have wanted, treat yourself to a spa weekend etc.

So, whether your habit is eating too much chocolate, drinking too much, or smoking, watch the video to hear Mike explain his top tips on making this year’s resolutions ones you can truly stick to.


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