When New Year’s hits, we often find ourselves setting ambitious goals like getting healthier, losing 10 pounds, or quitting using tobacco. Typically these goals are formed using the verb ‘should.’ For example, “I should quit using tobacco,” instead of, “I’m ready to quit tobacco.”
But how does one know that they’re ready to quit? What if you think you might be ready, but have butterflies, get anxious just thinking about it, or simply don’t know where to start?
Quitting tobacco use is tough stuff
At Pivot, we like to think of a person’s quit journey like a dance – a cha-cha, really. A few steps forward, a few steps back. While you’re dancing, you don’t think about the end of the routine but instead focus on each step during the dance. Steps backward – like smoking, vaping, or dipping when you experience a tough craving or trigger – doesn’t mean that moving forward ends, but instead is simply part of the process.
Before a dancer takes the first step, they get mentally ready and learn the steps. The same logic applies to quitting tobacco use. Before you quit, the first step is determining whether you’re ready. When the pros outweigh the cons of quitting, that’s when you know that you’re ready to take action.
How to know when you’re ready to stop using tobacco
To help you determine whether you’re ready to quit, we at Pivot have compiled a list of four ways to determine just that. Take a seat, grab a pen and paper, and answer the question below to get a clearer answer to the age-old question – “am I ready to quit?”:
- Explore your why. Write down all of the reasons that you like smoking, vaping, or dipping. For example, maybe it helps you feel less anxious or gives you “me time.”
- Determine the cost. Write down how smoking, vaping, or dipping impacts your life. Think beyond money and make sure that you consider your health, relationships with others, or future experiences. What does your tobacco use limit you from doing?
- Evaluate your patterns. Write down when you are most likely to smoke, vape, or dip. Think about your routines, like waking up or driving, as well as your triggers, like when you feel upset or are feeling bored.
- Think as if you quit. Consider how your life could change if you chose to quit. What will you gain when being set free from smoking, vaping, or dipping? How will you be different?
Take a look at each response
On a separate piece of paper, place all the negatives in one column and all positives in the other. Next, see which column is greater.
If the negatives outweigh the positives, you may not be ready to quit. We’re here to tell you that coming to that realization is okay, but you may need to build your confidence. Pivot helps you do just that by providing you a space to explore your concerns, motivations, and learn how tobacco both fits in and gets in the way of your life.
When you may be ready to take the first step to quit
If the positives are greater than the negatives, you may be ready to take steps to quit. Pivot helps you build skills to quit by dealing with your routines and triggers, finding personalized ways that fit your lifestyle to cope without using tobacco. Pivot also empowers you to take what you’ve learned and test it in the real world while ensuring you have an accessible, personalized health coach to talk to when things don’t go according to plan.
Authored by: Laura Dotson, MS-MPH, NBHWC
Ariana Lohmann, BS, NBHWC