What do you do when you can’t stop thinking about something you want to buy/junk food you want to eat or whatever else it is you want to avoid?
At times, no matter how frugal I am trying to be, I get tempted. The temptation to spend or buy something I think I want can be consumming. When I was younger, I used to spend a lot on clothing and myself. Now, as a 35 year old mother of two with one on the way, my spending habits are different.
But the urge to splurge can be intense. Same as when we go on a health kick to lose weight. Suddenly, all we can think about is cookies, Starbucks and ice cream…
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5 Tips to Deal With Temptation
We all get tempted and if we slip up, it’s ok. Accept it, stop the behaviour that is not in line with your goals and get back to what you set out to do. Here are some tips I use.
1. Have A Goal
Whatever it is that tempts you, have a goal in mind with a solid plan to work around it. For me, my goal has varied sometimes it has been specific travel, when going through a nasty custody battle involving abuse my focus was legal fees.
Now, my focus is on buying a house. Having a solid mental image of exactly what you want to achieve with your money helps. A clear plan of action with a specific goal makes it easier to handle temptation when it arises.
When it comes to health goals, instead of focusing on my weight on the scales, I focus on how my clothes fit, I get a Dexascan to see my fat to muscle ratio and set goals around how far I can run, how fast I can row etc.
2. Avoid Temptation
Don’t go to the shops or places you are tempted to spend. Plan out your expenses, create and stick to your budget then stay away from anything not matching your budget and goals.
It’s not possible to avoid the temptation all the time but limiting your exposure helps. For example, if you are trying to have a healthier lifestyle and avoid cake or other junk food when an office birthday happens and there is cake in the lunchroom or a friend insists on a chocolate cafe to meet at or there is a fundraiser involving food you feel pressured to participate in, it can be hard to avoid it without coming off as rude or damaging relationships.
With the office party, if there are healthy food options stick to them or offer to bring a platter of vegetable sticks and crackers. Eat well before you go ensuring you’ve had breakfast and/or lunch depending on the time the party is and focus on your goal. If you cannot avoid having any of the cake, take the smallest piece possible.
If you cannot avoid the temptation completely find ways to work around it.
3. Occupy Yourself
Distraction is sometimes all you need to take your mind off whatever it is you want. Take up a new hobby, call a friend or join in a conversation on social media. Do something other than shop or eat or whatever it is that is tempting you.
Keeping your mind occupied in a healthy manner can sometimes give you enough time to realise the thing you want, you don’t really need or want.
4. Set A Time Limit
Commit to avoiding whatever it is you are tempted to do for 20 minutes. Try to change your focus, then at the end of the 20 minuted the temptation may have passed, you might have distracted yourself or the opportunity might have gone. If not, push for another 20 minutes. Try to remind yourself the temptation will pass, focus on your goal and control your urges.
Doing smaller timeframes is sometimes enough to shift your focus and change your mindset. When we ban ourselves completely from something, it can feel we are simply punishing ourselves and life is no fun. Smaller blacks of time make it more manageable.
5. Accept we all Make Mistakes and it is ok to Treat Ourselves
Don’t beat yourself up if you do give in to temptation. Rectify whatever it is you need to as best you can, be responsible for your actions and do what you need to do to fix the situation and reduce your temptation in the future.
And schedule in a few treats. For money, I have a sanity/splurge account where money goes each pay and I can do whatever I want with it. For the most part, this reduces the major money blow outs.
When it comes to healthy lifestyles, many people have a cheat day or cheat meal where they allow themselves anything they want for that time only.