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Changing your behaviour

Changing your gambling behaviour is difficult, especially if gambling has become a key part of your life and you spend a lot of time either gambling or thinking about gambling. You are essentially changing your lifestyle. You can do this through a mix of practical activities or hobbies to occupy your time and positive motivators.

Practical activities

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 focussed on something else.

Practical activities might include:

  • Playing sport – team sports are good 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
  • Gardening
  • Walking/running/hiking
  • Adult education classes
  • Spending time on planned activities with friends or family
  • Joining social groups
  • Volunteering

Positive motivators

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:

  • Mon – go to CAB to get help to set up a debt repayment plan
  • Tues – open a savings account
  • Wed – go to GA meeting
  • Thur – find out about adult education classes and sign up for something
  • Fri – go to the gym
  • Sat – day out with partner or family
  • Sun – 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. For further details see Get Support- For yourself

You can also have a look at our self-paced resources to help you change your relationship with gambling >>

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