As you begin your quit smoking journal, you may be wondering, "How will I quit smoking?" Journaling is a private way to vent and record how you feel under moments of stress, happiness, joy or frustration. There are no rules to follow; use a notebook, scrapbook, diary or your computer or tablet. Use your creativity. Include your favorite slogans, poems or affirmations.
Imagine for a moment: Anytime you have a thought about your quit, good or bad, you can record it. Journaling is most effective when done regularly. Write for several minutes at a time, and do not stop writing to edit your work. Your journal can be kept private or you can choose to share with others.
QuitNet offers a Q journaling tool, available under the My Quit tab. The journaling tool includes a new QComic to greet you each day. You can choose to make your journal visible to other Qmembers or keep it private.
Here are 5 ways journaling can help you with your quit:
1. Define your purpose for quitting
Journaling allows you to reflect. For example, observe your smoking patterns. Ask yourself, "How many cigarettes do I smoke a day? When do I tend to smoke less? Do I smoke more when I am bored?"
On another day, list what you like the most about smoking versus what you like the most about quitting. Create another column and list what you like the least about smoking versus what you like the least about quitting. Compare your responses. This is an effective evidence-based exercise called The Decisional Balance. It will help you decide why you want to quit smoking. Here are some other suggestions for journaling:
-Write about the vision of your quit.
-Write about lessons learned from previous attempts and what would you do differently.
-Write about the people or life experience that has motivated you to quit.
Stay focused on your quit
Journaling will help you stay focused. Write down your reasons for quitting. Review your reasons daily. It will help you stay strong. Determine if you want to journal in the morning or right before bed. If you want to make additional lifestyle changes such as losing weight; devote a journal entry about it.
If you belong to a QuitNet forum or a QuitNet club, write about your experience (i.e., connections with other members, finding a quit Q buddy); include anything that will inspire you, such as another quitster's Q testimonial or suggestions, quotes, poems. The choice is yours!
Journal your way through a craving
Each time you have a craving, grab a pen and write about something else (i.e., write about going to the beach, your next vacation, a party or fun event you went to). The key is to keep writing about a topic that will keep you distracted. Empower yourself to work through this alone, especially if your support network is not available. Cravings typically last several minutes; overcoming a craving will help you develop a non smoker image, greater confidence and higher self-esteem.
Track your progress
Monitor your progress. If you are cutting back, maintain a smoking log. Write down every time you are triggered to smoke and how you handled the situation. Keep track of your savings. List ways to reward yourself. Document your treatment plan. Reflect on how you feel. Make reminders of when your dosage changes. Include how many days you've been quit.
Utilize the QGadget together with your journal. The QGadget will automatically compute the lifetime and money you'll save by quitting (a quit date has to be entered for calculations). Devote journal entries to reflect on your stats! Document any recommendations made by your doctor, including the quit smoking medications you are using. If you have discontinued a medication, write about what worked and what did not work. If you are not sure you want to commit to a quit date, write about your reasons. Discuss what information would help you make a decision. Journal the steps to obtain the information you need.
Manage your stress
If you are stressed about quitting, consider writing about these stressful events. It will help you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health. Listen to music while you journal. Write about how good you will feel after you quit. Write about the immediate health benefits and your strong reasons for quitting. After writing, you will feel in a more relaxed state. Review your previous entries, and notice your progress.
In conclusion, journaling is a therapeutic method that will help keep you close to your quit. It can be very liberating. You will feel a sense of control over your quit. Rereading your entries can be empowering and offer insight and understanding about yourself and your quit!
Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Keep Going and KTQ!