Changing our habits tend to be difficult and involve quite a bit of resistance and relapses. This is true for a wide range of activities and behaviours – not just gambling.
One of the many tools that we can use to make the process easier is to engage in practical activities – things that keep both body and mind busy, make us feel better and keep us out of trouble.
Positive motivators can also be a valuable tool, such as having certain rewards to look forward too after having accomplished certain goals. It is a good idea to break down major goals into many small practical goals – that way it is easier to actually get things down and keep moving in the right direction.
Here are a few examples of things to do to keep ourselves busy and engage in positive activities. Hopefully, you can find at least a few points in the list that are appealing to you and possible in your specific circumstances – or maybe they can inspire you do come up with activities that are even better for you!
- Volunteer with a charitable organisationNumerous studies have shown that we, as humans, tend to feel better about life in general when we help others in a worthwhile manner. Volunteering with others can also help you connect socially with others who can be a positive influence in your life. If most of your existing social activities revolve around gambling, hanging out with people that aren’t a part of that context can be very helpful.
- Work out at the gym / go for a run / do a power-walk / go for a hikePhysical activity can have a positive impact on our mental health. Also, for many, burning off nervous energy helps us stay calm and focused even outside the gym.
- Get your adrenalin pumpingSome people gamble because they want to feel that surge of adrenalin. Is there some way for you to get that kick elsewhere? Maybe what you need in your life is mountain climbing, sky diving, kick-boxing or something else that provides you with a rush without ruining your life.
- Do-It-Yourself projectsThe internet is filled with tutorials, including tutorial videos on YouTube. Learn how to bake your own bread, fix car problems, write really beautiful caligraphy, sew a dress, replace a broken fan on a computer, embroider a towel, clean drain pipes, finally do something about that creeky floor-board, turn a bunch of driftwood into furniture, become a nail artist, or whatever else catches your fancy.
Bonus: You can use your new skills to do something nice for people in your life who are supportive of you.
- GardeningIf you don’t have your own garden, maybe someone else needs help with moving their lawn, racking up leaves and picking apples?
Positive motivators are things that you look forward too. Naturally, it is important that you select things that are suitable for you.
Instead of having a huge goal such as “never gamble again”, try breaking it down to many mini-goals instead. Preferably, create a mixture of things to do and things not to do.
Examples of mini-goals:
- Not gamble for 24 hours
- Look up info about my closest Gamblers Anonymous group
- Research suitable debt management counselors
- Research if there are any local or national resources available to people who need help with their problematic gambling
- Self-exclude from all the gambling sites are normally frequent
- Self-exclude myself from the local brick-and-mortar gambling spots
- Select a debt management councelor and contact them
- Let a friend know I have a gambling problem and that I am currently struggling to break the habit
- Arrange a debt repayment plan
- Setting X amount of money aside in a savings account
- Contact my closest Gamblers Anonymous group
- Learn something new from a tutorial on YouTube
- Not gamble for 7 days
- Join a volunteer organization and go to my first meeting with them
- Setting X amount of money aside in the savings account for three months in a row
- Not gamble for a whole calender month
- Go for a walk instead of yielding to the gambling impulse – five times in a row
Examples of positive motivators:
- Go for day hike in nature
- Cook a special meal and invite a friend or family member over to enjoy it with
- Go pet the dogs at the shelter and volounteer to take them for walks
- Go to the cinnema
- Borrow a book from the library and set time aside to read it
- Set time aside to listen to my favorite podcast without any interuptions