Reducing or quitting tobacco use can be a challenging process full of ups and downs. Anyone on this journey knows there isn’t one single path to making change and reaching success. But for many people, one important part of changing their relationship with tobacco is awareness of how it shows up in their daily routine.
If it feels hard to know exactly what role smoking, vaping, or dipping plays in your day, Pivot Breathe has a tool that can help - “Tobacco Log.” Located right in the Pivot app, you can use the log to track your tobacco use, such as cigarettes or vape sessions. By keeping a record of when you reach for a tobacco product and noticing the reason you used tobacco as either a routine or trigger. Overtime, you can use that information in your plans for change.
Here are some ways you can use the log as part of your process:
- Build awareness: Keeping a log provides information about the time, place, emotions or triggers connected to tobacco use. Over a short period of time, you may start to notice patterns that can help you decide where change is possible.
- Recognizing triggers: Whether it’s stress, social situations, or specific routines, recognizing cues for using tobacco is important for building coping strategies that will eventually take the place of a cigarette, vape or dip.
- Visible progress: Tracking provides a snapshot of what tobacco use looks like over time. Once you begin taking intentional steps to reduce or quit, seeing what’s changed can help build your confidence.
- Personalized plan: Everyone has a unique relationship with their tobacco product of choice. By tracking how tobacco use looks in your life, you can create a strategy that makes sense for you and lines up with the goals that are meaningful for you. Not ready to quit? Use the tracking log to pinpoint specific times of day when you notice cravings are strongest.
Sometimes, too much of a good thing could make change tough. You might feel compelled to record every cigarette or even feel anxious if you miss logging one. Compulsive logging may cause some frustration in the often slow, non-linear process of change. To avoid these common pitfalls, here are a few ways you can use logging in a way that makes sense for you:
- Get started: Choose a specific window of time to log as consistently as you can.
- Analyze your log: Spend some time noticing patterns or triggers that might appear in your logs. (You can check in with your coach to help here too!)
- Set clear goals: Decide each week what you’d like to change using the information from the log. This may be a new response to a trigger or an adjustment to one of your routines.
- Practice, practice, practice: You may have been on autopilot with tobacco use for a long time, and it may take some time to create self-awareness. That’s OK!
- Be kind to yourself: Be gentle with yourself when you hit a speed bump or don’t reach your goals. You can always begin again. Take a break from logging if it starts to feel like work.
Using a log can be a valuable tool for those who are striving to reduce or quit tobacco. You’ll see benefits such as increased awareness of patterns, recognizing your triggers, and seeing your progress. If you find yourself getting frustrated, that can be a cue to take a break and explore other areas of the Pivot app, such as lessons or challenges or work directly with your coach to figure out next steps.
Aimee Richardson, MCHES, CHWC, NCTTP
Ariana Lohmann, BS, NBC-HWC, NCTTP