Ready to change?
Making a decision to change can be both exciting and scary. When gambling has become a part of who you are, how you think and what you do it can be difficult to change this behaviour. But not impossible!
What is readiness to change?
As with all people dealing with habitual behaviour, gamblers will be at various stages of accepting that there is a problem. Being ready to make the necessary changes requires different skills and strategies at different stages.
Often motivation changes from day-to-day, or even at different times during the day. It is not uncommon to hear gamblers say 'I'm never going to gamble again' only to be in a venue by sunset!
It is normal to go backwards and forwards when deciding to change. Where are you at the moment in the cycle of change?
1. No problem
Not concerned about your gambling or seriously considering change?
If you are in this stage the positives of gambling outweigh the negatives. You enjoy gambling and don't see it as a problem.
2. Thinking about it
Concerned that you are spending more time and money gambling than you would like?
People at this stage feel ambivalent about their gambling. Often they enjoy it, even though they know that it costs time and money. If you are in this stage you might be thinking about making a change.
If you are in contemplation, taking our gambling self-assessment can help you work out how gambling might be affecting you.
3. Getting ready
Ready to take control of your gambling?
People in preparation feel ready to control or stop their gambling and have made the decision to do something about it. Additionally, they have scheduled a time in the very near future in which to start making changes.
Planning to prepare for change is an important step.
If you are ready to think about making plans, take a look at ideas for regaining control.
4. Taking action
Ready to change the effect that gambling has on your life?
This is where you begin to do the work. People in this stage say things like - "I am doing something to change my behaviour". This is when people get together a package of strategies that they can use to help them change their behaviour.
If you are ready for action, take a look at the tips in regaining control.
5. Maintaining change
Keeping past gambling habits under control?
This stage is probably the hardest. It is when people have found all the things they need to do to change their behaviour and they have started to put these things into practice. What is needed now is practice, practice and more practice. Maintenance is the time to turn new behaviours into a habit.
6. Slips and falls
Have old gambling behaviours gotten out of control?
This stage is very important because it is a common part of the process of change. A lapse or slip up can be a good way of finding out how to adjust your plan to stay on track. It is a good idea to adjust rather than give in to a full-blown relapse. It is easier to get back on track, than to start over again.