How do you really feel about quitting smoking? This isn’t the same as asking if you want to quit, or why you want to. This is about taking a moment to ask yourself how you truly feel about quitting smoking—positive and negative.
Maybe you feel guilty because you haven’t quit, even though you think you should. Maybe you feel annoyed by all the well-intentioned but relentless people in your life who keep pressuring you to quit. Maybe you feel eager to get going because you’re so confident and determined. Or maybe the thought of quitting overwhelms you—one more thing in the middle of your already-busy life.
Your attitudes about smoking and quitting will affect how you approach both. If you not only want to quit but also feel confident that you can, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Likewise, if you realize that you’re not as optimistic, you can take some steps ahead of time to boost your confidence.
As you think about whether or not you want to quit, ask yourself these questions:
- How many times have you tried to quit in the past year?
- How confident are you that you could quit if you really tried?
- How important to you is it to quit smoking?
If you realize that you want to quit but that you don’t feel confident, you might want to start with that before making a quit attempt. You can do this by developing skills and strategies and trying them out ahead of time. Practice quits can be an effective way of breaking quitting into small steps, rather than letting it feel like this huge thing you have to try all at once. For example, you might challenge yourself to go smoke-free for three or four hours at first, then work your way up until you’re ready to try quitting for a whole day.
If you aren’t sure if you want to quit, focus on why you might want to, or on how smoking interrupts other parts of your life that are important to you. This can help you to get more energized around quitting, based on what matters most to you. If it feels like life is too complicated right now to quit, think about what would have to happen for it to be the good-enough time to quit.
Knowing that you want to quit is helpful for setting that goal. But knowing how you feel about quitting—and smoking—can be an important part of building a plan to achieve it.
This is the sixth installment of a seven-post series on how to explore your personal relationship to smoking and quitting, based on some of the initial activities in the Pivot program. The full series is below.