Personal Development

How to find the motivation to quit smoking?

The first step to making any change is to figure out what motivates you. Therefore, to quit smoking, it's essential to identify what motivates you to change.

Find your motivation to quit smoking

August 11, 2021

Motivation is the driving force behind any action. In this article, Kwit explains how to find the motivation to quit smoking, and why it's particularly important during smoking cessation. We also explain that motivation alone is not enough. Plus, we tell you what you can do to make a long-term change.

What is motivation?

Motivation is a very broad term that differs according to approaches. Motivation is what drives us to act and steers our actions, helping us to start new things or change our habits. It's the driving force that makes us move forward in the pursuit of our goals.

In psychology, there are two types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic motivation, which is related to a sense of personal accomplishment: we act because we want to.
  • Extrinsic motivation, which is linked to elements external to us: we act because we expect to get something out of it or because someone has asked us to.

Why is motivation important to quit smoking?

Motivation is what allows us to get started because it gives us direction and helps us to begin a process of change. It's clear why it's essential if you want to quit smoking: it allows you to set your goals and start the quitting process. Without motivation from the start, and without defining why you want to change, it will be more difficult to stick with quitting in the long run.

Why isn't motivation enough?

Even if you are motivated, that doesn't guarantee that you will achieve your goals. Any process of change involves ups and downs, and the strength of motivation fluctuates along the way. When quitting smoking, it is useful to examine what makes our level of motivation change so that it can be kept constant over time. With the smoking cessation preparation program, Kwit helps you get there.

Understanding your motivation to change will also allow you to consider additional ways to quit smoking. For instance, if your motivation to quit weakens when you experience withdrawal symptoms, one solution you might consider with your doctor is to use nicotine substitutes. Good news: Kwit allows you to track their use!

The road to change

Understanding and strengthening motivation to quit smoking

Motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic. In other words, if you decide to quit smoking, you have both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for doing so. Some are just more present than others. Kwit helps to build your motivational profile and strengthen your overall motivation to quit, by helping you to reflect on the projects and values that motivate you to do so in the first place.

To better understand what motivates you to quit smoking, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Of all the things you've already accomplished in your life, what is something that makes you particularly proud or excited just thinking about it?
  2. Based on your experience, what is something you wish you had done more of or tried out more?
  3. What has been especially meaningful to you so far?
  4. Taking into account your answers, how might these elements motivate you to quit smoking, or to continue your cessation?

Kwit gives you the possibility to keep track of these answers. To do so, just go to the app, then click on the “+” button and then, select “I write a memory”. This way, it will be easy to find them in the diary and to read them again whenever you run out of motivation.

How to stay motivated to quit smoking

Motivation, rather than something present throughout the journey, is a driving force that encourages ust to change at a given moment, yet it can wane over the long term. Similar to engines that need regular maintenance, gas and oil to run, your motivation also needs its fuel. That's why you need to take care of it, so that you always have enough energy to face difficult times.

However, a more important step is to change your habits in order to create a routine aligned with your deepest intentions.

Quitting smoking is first and foremost a matter of accepting to free yourself from cigarettes and everything they may seem to provide. For instance, the nicotine contained in cigarettes can activate the reward system, so smoking could trigger an artificial state of well-being. When quitting, it's important to adopt new routines and find alternative ways to have fun, like by taking up sports With each new step you take in this process, it's important to be proud of yourself! Taking ownership of your successes and being kind to yourself along the way will help to reinforce your motivation.

Quitting smoking often comes with some withdrawal symptoms, which vary from person to person. To keep your motivation to quit, it's important to understand that these symptoms are only temporary and that in the long run, the benefits of quitting far outweigh them. Kwit is there to make this process easier and to encourage you all along the way.

Questions we often ask ourselves when we quit smoking

Some questions are recurrent when it comes to quitting smoking. Here are some answers that can help you put things into perspective and keep your motivation.

“I've given up, is it because I'm not motivated enough?”

Smoking when you've started to quit doesn't mean you're not motivated at all! Cravings are part of this process,, and are all challenges to overcome. The fact that you broke down simply means that you faced an obstacle, and you didn't quite have the strategies to overcome it. These obstacles are an opportunity to develop new skills!

Reflecting on what made you want to light up that cigarette and the effect it had on you can help you better understand your dependence.

“Why am I less motivated than I was at the beginning?”

Motivation isn't a constant force, it fluctuates over time and depending on the obstacles to be overcome. That's why motivation alone may not be enough, and why it's important to change certain behaviors to be able to keep going in the long run.

There are basically two main reasons why you may feel less motivated:

  • Your reasons for quitting are less clear than before. You don't understand why you made this decision. In this case, a little introspection may be necessary, to think about all the benefits that your new life without tobacco could bring you.
  • Your “engine” needs maintenance. Like an engine that needs gasoline, you and your motivation need the energy to move forward. Having enough energy in this journey means taking care of yourself, your body, but also celebrating every success, no matter how small they are!

“What if I'm completely unmotivated?”

Good news! Motivation can fluctuate, but it doesn't disappear completely! It's, therefore, possible to act on it to make it more stable or stronger. If you feel like you've lost your motivation, try to remember what pushed you to change in the first place. Remember those reasons that have kept you going so far. Your motivation may be low because the goal seems so far away and the road to get there so bumpy! Kwit is there to help you. Without pressure, or rush. Start your journey one step at a time, always looking to make the most of this new tobacco-free adventure!

If you have any other questions about this process, the Kwitters community will be able to answer them! Also for day-to-day advice, follow us on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tiktok!

Our therapist's advice

During smoking cessation, motivation can be both a kind of guideline that steers our actions or an engine that drives us in the right direction and keeps us going even during difficult times. Unlike motivation, cravings are ephemeral, pressing, capricious, etc. Smoking cessation is a process where you learn to direct your actions according to your motivations (what is important to you), instead of acting on the influence of cravings.

Luz Adriana Bustamante

Luz Adriana is a Pyschologist and Doctoral candidate in CBT

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