At the start of every year, millions of people create resolutions in order to make a change to their lifestyle. Unfortunately, most of these people don’t end up sticking to their resolutions past February. When it comes to a gambling disorder, the resolution to stop gambling altogether may feel overwhelming and unattainable at times. Perhaps you’ve already tried and not succeeded, but what you need are some strategies that will actually help you maintain your goal to quit or cut back on gambling in 2021.
1. Write down your specific goals
Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are actually 3 times more likely to achieve them than those who don’t. It gives you the opportunity to think about your specific goals and how you might achieve them. Maybe you want to commit to only gamble a certain amount of times per week, or only at certain times of day. Whatever your goal is, make a commitment to yourself by writing it down, and keeping track of your progress. Mark down every time you gamble so that you know if you are straying from the goal that you committed to.
2. Share your goals with someone
Telling someone you trust about your decision to cut back on gambling can give you more motivation to stick to this goal, since you are now committing not only to yourself, but to another person. It can also be helpful for them to check in with you to make sure you are staying on track with your goal, and to support you when you have a strong desire to gamble.
3. Make changes to your lifestyle
If there are certain things or people that trigger your desire to gamble, try to stay away from them. This could mean not hanging out with someone who encourages you to gamble, or it could be putting your phone away at night if that is when you are most prone to participate in online gambling. Don’t put yourself in a situation that will cause you to lose focus on what you want to accomplish.
4. Get involved in a support group
You are not the only one trying to quit gambling. Get connected in a support group, perhaps an online community, or visit a residential treatment center in order to be surrounded by like-minded people who have the same goals that you do. Hearing about the experiences that others have had can give you clarity on how you want to move forward, which tactics work, and which don’t.
5. Seek treatment for underlying causes
If there are certain emotions or troubles in your life that are causing you to gamble, seek treatment for those problems. Depression, anxiety, stress, or trauma are just a few of the things that can further drive your gambling disorder. Getting help with the underlying cause of your gambling disorder can have a positive impact on multiple aspects of your life.
6. Remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint.
Be patient with yourself, and forgive yourself if you slip up. If quitting gambling cold turkey doesn’t seem achievable at this time, that’s okay. Take it one day at a time and try to reduce your amount of gambling per day or per week. Over time, you will start to develop a new pattern, and you may begin to feel that the less you gamble, the less you feel compelled to.
If you need support during this time, please reach out to us. Our staff are highly educated on gambling disorders, and want you to succeed in reaching your goals.