Dec. 27, 2013 —
Science Daily/Monday Campaigns
It's that time of year. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 120 million Americans will make New Year's resolutions, with health-related goals like quitting smoking topping the list. Unfortunately, most of those quitters will be puffing away by Groundhog Day.
Instead of encouraging smokers to plan one quit attempt around New Year's, which comes only once a year, experts believe a better strategy would be to follow a New Year's quit with a weekly recommitment to quit that takes advantage of natural weekly cycles.
In a 2013 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from San Diego State University, the Santa Fe Institute, The Monday Campaigns and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health monitored global Google search query logs from 2008 to 2012 in English, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish for searches related to quitting, such as "help quit smoking," to examine weekly patterns in smoking cessation contemplations for the first time. The study found that people search about quitting smoking more often early in the week, with the highest query volumes on Mondays. This pattern was consistent across all six languages, suggesting a global predisposition to thinking about quitting smoking early in the week, particularly on Mondays.
"On New Year's Day, interest in smoking cessation doubles," said the study's lead author, John Ayers of San Diego State University. "But New Year's happens one day a year. Here we're seeing a spike that happens once a week."
Besides catching smokers' attention on Mondays, weekly cues can help people stay on track with their quit attempts. Since it takes an average of seven to 10 quit attempts to succeed, encouraging people to requit or recommit to their quit attempt once a week can reduce the overall time it takes to quit for good.