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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
May 13, 2013
One of the simplest and best ways to stay smokefree is to reward yourself, at regular intervals, with something that is meaningful to you. Freedom From Smoking® Online suggests rewarding yourself at 24 hours, 48 hours, a week, a month, etc., but the exact timing isn’t as important as just doing it! Research has shown that rewards are a great way to reinforce positive behavior. For example, children in preschool are often awarded smiley face stickers or gold stars when they are well-behaved. Now it’s your turn to reward yourself for remaining smokefree for a certain period of time and through whatever events may come along.
If you haven’t yet made a list of rewards, take the time to do so. Having a list will help you to actually follow through on this important part of the program. We provided some examples but the reward will mean more to you if you personalize it. Staying in bed on a weekend morning may not feel like a reward if you’d rather get up early to go fishing. Be creative with your list. Think of things you used to enjoy doing that perhaps you haven’t made the time for lately.
Rewards don’t have to cost a lot of money. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but not everyone can spring for one as a reward. :-) Plenty of rewards are free. For example, borrowing a DVD you’ve been wanting to see or a book you want to read from the library could be a great reward. Taking a walk through a local botanical garden might be just the reward for you, or taking a full lunch break during your work day, or meeting a friend for a walk after work.
On the flip side, you might want to keep track of the money you’re saving by not smoking and spend that money on your reward. Some participants may spend their weekly savings on downloading new music, their monthly savings on a gym membership or perhaps saving up for several months for a new bike. We’ve even heard from participants who took a vacation at their one-year anniversary with the money they saved over that year. For most people, that “smokefree money” adds up quickly and it’s a reward in itself to see the savings grow.
However you decide to reward yourself, be sure to post your list of rewards on the Message Boards—it’ll give others ideas and will help to reinforce the concept of rewarding yourself at the same time.
This week, keep the 3 “rules” of the program in mind as you work to stay smokefree:
- Read all lessons in all Modules, and don’t rush through them in a few days. Ideally, it should take about six weeks to work through all lessons. For a recommended pace, read Question #3 in the Frequently Asked Questions.
- Complete all of the assignments in each lesson. Even if you think the assignments don’t apply to you, do them anyway. Sometimes those are the ones that become the most meaningful.
- Give and receive support on the Message Boards. Don’t just post yourself, offer encouragement to those who need it. Don’t just offer encouragement, ask for help when you need it.
Finally, be sure to make your list of rewards and reward yourself at milestones that mean something to you.
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you're in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put "HELP NOW" in the subject line of your post. If you're looking to offer help, watch for those, "HELP NOW" posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies to offer some assistance as well.