He sits at the bar with a drink, careful not to shift too much to his left or his right. He knows if he does, he’ll meet the gaze of a woman—trouble.
It’s hard enough that the bartender is a beautiful blonde, with a great smile, and just about his age. He finishes his drink with a final gulp and heads home to his loving fiancé.
She’s at three weeks strong and 5 pounds down. No delicious, decadent desserts or calorie-ridden chips. But tonight her cravings threaten to breach her diet. She’s at her favorite restaurant celebrating a friend’s promotion, but all she can think about is their famous chocolate lava cake. She gives in and indulges in the mouthwatering dessert.
A few friends decide to take a trip to the mall. They don’t really have the intentions of buying anything, as they’ve spent that week’s allowance already, but they like to survey the racks of clothes and jewelry. One of the girls comes across a beautiful pair of gold earrings—the very kind she’s been looking for for weeks. With some encouragement from her friends, she stuffs them into her purse.
Everybody has a vice—something they really have to work at resisting, whether it be cheating on their significant other, overindulging, or stealing. The temptation is ever so powerful and nagging, a difficult feat to overcome. That is, unless you have a nifty guide to help you do so! Follow these five ways to deal with temptation:
1) Remove yourself from the situation.
You know what they say: out of sight, out of mind. When temptations are at their worst, it’s best to avoid putting yourself in a troubling situation. For example, if you’re starting a new diet, throw away everything you’re cutting out. That way you’re not tempted to grab a handful of chips when you pass by the pantry or dip your spoon into the pint of ice cream that’s sitting in your freezer. Similarly, if you’re tempted to cheat on your significant other when you drink, maybe it’s time to consider ordering a nonalcoholic beverage instead.
2) Treat yourself.
We typically want what we can’t have. So the more unavailable or forbidden an act, the more we want to engage in it. Therefore, the trick to dealing with certain temptations is occasionally treating yourself to them. Allow yourself a cheat meal every now and then. Or pour yourself a drink at the house where you won’t be tempted by other women. This way you’re still in control and your temptation isn’t weighing heavy or taking over. However, this tactic might not be effective for certain individuals or in specific situations. For example, stealing jewelry every now and then is not a solution to dealing with your shoplifting temptation.
3) Distract yourself.
When you feel a temptation coming over you, do your best to distract yourself. Take your mind somewhere else, do something else. Use this as an excuse to sit in front of your laptop and watch Netflix all day. Or get out of the house and go on a jog. The key is to direct your attention elsewhere and keep yourself busy. That way, before you know, it you’ve forgotten all about the temptation you had to raid the fridge. If your temptation involves not completing an act, like skipping the gym or calling out of work, the trick is to act immediately. Get up and get your tennis shoes or tie on before you even have a chance to object.
4) Visualize yourself resisting the temptation.
A lot of the time, we view a temptation as something we just can’t beat—we accept it as one of our many flaws. But that’s simply not the case. You have to first believe that you can beat it and then you will. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t have a lot of faith in your abilities, it helps to first visualize yourself resisting the temptation. This will give you the boost that you need to resist and come out a champion of your vice.
5) Predict and prioritize the outcome.
When we give into a temptation, we’re always left feeling defeated. That’s because while we may be driven to complete whatever act, we downright resent and regret the outcome. For example, the man in the first scenario enjoys having sexual encounters with other women but he doesn’t like that it makes him a cheater and that it hurts his fiancé. And in the second scenario, the woman enjoys her lava cake while she’s eating it, but hates the guilt she feels after she’s licked her plate clean. So predict the outcome of giving into your temptation and ask yourself if it’s worth it. If you focus more so on the aftermath, you’re more likely to resist your temptation.
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