Well it’s that time of year again. The time when people make all sorts of commitments about what they want to change in the New Year. Some people want to lose a few kilos, some want to give up smoking and for others, they would like to have a life free from gambling.
We all know that not all resolutions will stick. So the big question is how can you increase the likelihood that your New Year’s resolution will be successful? There are several things that anyone can do to improve their chance of success:
1. Get support
Once you have made the commitment to stop or reduce your gambling, let significant people in your life know- people that can provide support and encouragement and can also hold you accountable.
2. Increase your motivation
One of the best ways of tipping the balance towards making a change is to write down the costs and benefits of your behaviour. Be honest – calculate the costs of gambling so far. What has it cost you financially, socially and emotionally? It’s easy to discount our financial losses and the cost to our relationships our health and our wellbeing. Be honest with yourself, write it down and talk about it.
3. Consult the experts
Gambling Help is a 24-hour telephone counselling support line. Not only can they give you expert help over the phone, but they can also put you in touch with a counsellor in your area. These counsellors are specialists in treating problem gambling.
4. Find alternative activities
Sometimes gambling has taken up a big part of your life and giving up gambling can cause feelings of loss and sadness. It’s important therefore to get back in touch with what you value and enjoy. Find alternative activities that can take the place of gambling. For some it might be taking up a sport, finding a new hobby or spending more time with loved ones.
5. Reduce your triggers
There are often people, places and things that can remind us of gambling and trigger an episode. Write down the activities, moods, people, places and things that are triggers for you. You can make plans to try and avoid these triggers or alternatively find things to support you in sticking to your goals when these triggers arise. When you do feel urges to gamble, remember research shows that most urges last only a few minutes and will pass.
6. Remind yourself of probabilities and the house edge.
It is important to remember that all forms of gambling are created to make money for the gambling operator. There is always a house edge, which means that the value of a prize is always less than the probability of the win. Keep this in mind and remember that in the long run – THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS and the LONGER YOU PLAY THE MORE YOU LOSE.
Most importantly, it is vital to remember that change is possible and that just because you may have tried without success in the past, this does not mean you should resign yourself to a life with problem gambling. With the right strategies and a strong commitment, a life free from problem gambling is within your reach!