3 Steps to Resist Temptation
In life, there are a lot of different sources of temptation that we encounter. Food is a common one, as are some more illicit and dangerous things. But there are other sources of temptation as well, including temptations to buy things. Whatever the temptation, there are three steps you can take to help prevent yourself from giving in to that temptation. They're straightforward, but do require some self-discipline to make sure you actually follow through with them.
The three steps are as follows:
These steps are frequently discussed elsewhere, especially in regards to food and addiction. But for those of you who haven't come across this idea before, I wanted to briefly summarize these steps and why they are effective.
So the first step is to delay yourself. That's not to say you tell yourself right away "I won't do that." Doing so can work for some, but many find that to be unrealistic.
What is potentially more realistic, and thus easier to actually follow-through on, is to tell yourself you'll delay engaging in that temptation for a period of time. 30 minutes is great, though you can start with 5 if that's all that's realistic. And you make a deal with yourself that you get to engage in that temptation after the time is up, if you still want to at that point.
Start with a time that is as long as is realistic for you, then work on lengthening it as you are able. The longer the delay, the more likely you will be to resist the temptation.
But during this delay, you don't want to simply sit there and think about the temptation. Instead, you want to find something you can do to keep yourself occupied and distracted. This can be any number of things, from reading a book, to talking with a friend, to running some errands. Whatever it is, the idea is to keep yourself busy during the delay.
Things like TV are alright, but try to do something more engaging. The more you can get yourself wrapped up in the task you're doing, the less of a grip the temptation will be able to keep on you.
Then finally, after the time is up, revisit the temptation. Is it still there? If yes, you made the agreement with yourself. Go ahead without guilt. If you are constantly hard on yourself and feel guilty over giving in to a temptation, it will be much harder to fight. That's because you'll lose motivation and will feel less capable of reaching your goal. Expect that you'll lose the battle sometimes, and be forgiving of yourself! Just be careful that it's not happening every time.
That being said, what you'll likely find is that the temptation is no longer there, or is at least diminished by quite a bit. As a result, you may be more able to resist the temptation, even if it is still somewhat present. That's because temptations are an immediate want in most cases. By delaying the decision, you give that immediate desire some time to pass, and it usually will.
It sounds simple, and it generally is. But it does work.
This is a shorter post, simply because there isn't too much that can be said on this topic. Delay, distract, and decide is a simple 3-step process for resisting temptation, and I highly encourage you to try it out. No matter what your temptation is, you'll find that it should at least help. If it doesn't seem to be helping, try to increase the length of the delay (if you're realistically able to). Sometimes you need extra time, especially at first, for the temptation to subside.
Have you overcome temptations before? How did you do it? Were these steps ever useful for you? Let us know in the comments!