Quitting Smoking: Identify Your Why

One of the most important things you can do when thinking about quitting is to identify your reasons for wanting to quit. The important word there isn’t “reasons.” It’s “your.”

This can be tricky, because there’s so much outside pressure to quit—from friends, coworkers, partners, doctors, and society in general. But one key to quitting is to make sure you’re doing it for your reasons, not someone else’s.

Having a clear understanding of exactly why you want to quit can help you push through triggers and intense cravings or give you a reason to get back in the game after a slip or relapse. Other people’s reasons won’t provide you with the same motivation.

But there’s another “why” you might not have thought about—why you smoke.

Chances are smoking has been part of your life for a quite a while. That’s because it does something for you. (If it didn’t, you wouldn’t smoke!) Maybe you like how smoking makes you feel—focused, relaxed, etc. Smoking might be a way for you to escape or deal with tense situations. Or perhaps smoking is something familiar that you can always turn to when things feel out of control.

Part of a successful quit is coming up with new ways to fulfill those needs or cope with those situations. By exploring not only your reasons for wanting to quit but also your reasons for wanting to smoke, you’ll be that much better prepared for the journey forward.

This is the third 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. New posts will go live daily through November 22.

#1 Don’t Quit Smoking Today

#2 Quitting Smoking: Know Your Patterns

#3 Quitting Smoking: Identify Your Why

#4 Quitting Smoking: Connect with What’s Important

#5 Quitting Smoking: Know What’s in Your Way

#6 Quitting Smoking: Know Your Attitude

#7 Quitting Smoking: Create a Vision