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Tracking! 7 tips to help adopt a tracking mindset for quitting

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Tracking tips

When it comes to tracking your smoking, do it right away. Firstly, it is easier to remember, and writing the time of day down provides an even clearer picture of when and perhaps, why you are smoking.

There are many elaborate tracking systems on the market; we will explore some of them later in another blog. Keep it simple is a terrific approach as you want to make it as easy as possible to be successful and capture your daily activity.

Track all kinds of activity, particularly your physical activity. If you are interested in becoming smoke-free, you will soon discover to be successful; you need to recognize that this will be the most critical lifestyle change you make, making it much more substantial than quitting smoking. Being more physically active can pay dividends for your quitting efforts. I am not suggesting train for a marathon, but I am encouraging people to start walking and if you are walking already, walk a little more, a little more often. In the beginning process, you will experience the notable benefits of quitting, and quite quickly, you will notice that you can walk more comfortably, walk further and breathe easier. It is hugely motivating to start seeing and experiencing the fruits of your labour. Added motivation for another day!

Triggers, look for them. During the pre quitting stage, tracking can uncover smoking trends. Are you smoking more during the weekend or in the morning? Do you smoke more in the company of certain people? Sometimes do you light up just out of habit? Discovering these “triggers” can help you immensely when you are ready to reduce or entirely quit. These triggers give you valuable information revealing the areas of your day or lifestyle that will need extra attention moving forward.

Don’t forget to include the details. Jotting down how you feel, what emotions you are experiencing will help you identify the “triggers” mentioned earlier. The extra facts give you a full picture, a roadmap that can support your reduction efforts. For example, if you smoke heavily after dinner and, the degree of craving and urgency is high. This information could indicate that these cigarettes could be some of the last cigarettes you eliminate when deducing. The goal is to go for the low hanging fruit, remove the igarettes with less intense craving and urgency. Tracking the details can provide this crucial information.

Tracking isn’t always easy, so don’t fret if you miss half a day or a day of recording. Get back on the path and make it a priority to capture what you want to track. If you are tracking to see where you are at with your smoking amount before you quit or reduce, track for 3-4 days minimally if possible. Tracking to reduce could be a long process depending on your goals and where you are with your smoking habit, and the number of cigarettes consumed. Chose the number of cigarettes you want to be at before you quit and work toward that goal. Reducing is an individual plan, and everyone’s road map will look different. If things are progressing well for you, reducing every 2 or 3 days may feel appropriate.

It’s never too early to start tracking. If you have tried to quit in the past, you know it takes a great deal of effort to move towards living smoke-free. If quitting smoking is still a way’s down the road for you, tracking today for a few days can provide vital information for when you are ready to live smoke-free.

Transitioning from tracking to monitoring

After a few weeks of daily tracking post quit date, you may find your motivation is still high, then, by all means, continue to track. If progress is going well, it could be time to reduce your tracking to once a week. The goal here is to adopt healthier habits to support your efforts for living smoke-free.

If things are going well and embracing new healthier habits are becoming manageable, it may be time to transition from tracking to monitoring. Monitoring remains essential as it provides an opportunity to check-in with your progress. Monitoring may only need to happen every few weeks or once a month. This form of monitoring will keep you mindful, help you sustain your self-awareness and accountability to your new healthier lifestyle. If some of your goals get off-kilter, you can always increase your monitoring or pull out your tracking sheet.

Download our tracking form to help you move forward with self-confidence. It is an accountability tool that gives you information detailing the time of day you smoke, the amount you smoke each time, location, who you are with, which emotions are connected to each cigarette as it measures the rate of cravings and urgency.

Download a free tracking form to help you stay focused as you move toward your quit date.


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