Changing your behaviour
Changing your gambling behaviour can be difficult if gambling has become a key part of your life, however you a mix of practical activities or hobbies to occupy your time along with positive motivators can help.
If you want to stop gambling, you may find it useful to replace gambling with other types of activities, which will occupy your time and keep you focused on something else. Practical activities might include:
- Playing sport – team sports are a good choice because not letting the team down by turning up to the game or practice session is also a psychological motivator
- Going to the gym
- DIY around the house, or for people who have supported you
- Walking / running / hiking
- Adult education classes
- Spending time on planned activities with friends or family
- Joining social groups
Positive motivators are things that are looking to the future, perhaps targets to aim at and then rewarding yourself when you have achieved the targets. For example setting a target of not gambling for a month or saving a certain amount of money each month. Rewards for achieving such a target might include:
- going for a meal with your partner
- going to the cinema with friends
- taking the family for a day out
It can be helpful to plan an activity for the next day and then the following day, something for the day after. This way you always have something to focus on.
A plan might look like:
- Monday – go to CAB to get help to set up a debt repayment plan
- Tuesday – open a savings account
- Wednesday – go to GA meeting
- Thursday – find out about adult education classes and sign up for something
- Friday – go to the gym
- Saturday – day out with partner or family
- Sunday – check out the GamCare Forum
Everybody’s plan will be different; the important thing is that you find what works for you. Don’t overload yourself or try planning too far ahead – one day at a time is fine. The next week you can repeat your plan or add things to it or think of better strategies to support yourself.
Check out all the support available – some things will work for some people and not for others, sometimes only bits of something will work for you. It’s all very individual but do give things long enough to work even if you are not convinced at the beginning that they will be useful.
Talk to our Advisers if you would like more information, advice and support. You can also have a look at our self-help workbook, which you can work through at your own pace to change your relationship with gambling. If you would like to change your relationship with gambling, you could complete our Online Guided Treatment Modules. The modules are informed by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a treatment that aims to change negative thought patterns and improve how you feel. You can access the modules here.