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How to Deal With Temptation

Are you any good at resisting temptation? All of us succumb to a little temptation now and then, but some people are blessed with more self-control than others. Temptation is about wanting something that you really want, often something that isn't right or good for you.
Resisting temptation is difficult because the object or subject of our desire is often all the more desirable because it's forbidden, out-of-reach, or hard to obtain. Sometimes temptation can turn into obsession if it's not possible to obtain the desired thing or person; other times, being able to give in to temptation leaves us feeling dissatisfied, guilty, or upset because we've done something we shouldn't have. This article discusses ways of dealing with temptation 
1.   Identify your own temptations. In the first place, a temptation is something you believe you must resist because to give in to it would be wrong according to your religious beliefs or moral code, bad for your health or well-being, or will cause disruptions in your relationships with other people. In the second place, giving in to it will cause you to feel bad after the initial pleasure, when it dawns on you that there is a high price to pay for the behavior or action you've given in to.

2.  Find what triggers your temptation. There are a lot of possibilities for triggers but you'll need to dig down to identify those specific to you.

3.  Work out your guiding values. For some people, faith provides a solid foundation of principles and morals to abide by; for others abiding by The Golden Rule, and seeking to actively be a constructive part of civil society forms a basis of values. Problems can often arise when you lack a firm foundation of values which can tempt you to live a life in which "anything goes", or leave you unable to discern what is right and wrong in any given situation. Ask yourself: Do I have a complete set of values I care enough about to abide by?

4.  Think about what it is you're succumbing to. Rather than blithely letting yourself fall into temptation, do the mental hard work of thinking it through to its final consequences. Few people tolerate pushing themselves through the entire process mentally because it's easier to make excuses up after the fact; thinking implies responsibility. This isn't a simple case of "I'd like chocolate, so I'm going to have some because I'm feeling really sad right now." This is thinking that requires you to identify what will happen if you give in.

 5.  Exercise your willpower. After thinking hard about the consequences, add your willpower to the equation. Expect exercising willpower to be difficult. Megan Oaten says that exercising willpower hurts when you first try but that, with practice, it becomes much easier. Start with something small and work your way up gradually.

 6.  Plan for temptation. Accept that you'll be tempted sometimes. Once you know your temptations and the triggers, work to manage them. That way, you can overcome them before they take hold. This is a positive way of tackling them rather than avoiding them (although, avoidance is discussed in the next step as another possibility.)

 7.  Don't enable temptation. This is the negative flipside of planning for temptation and it involves removing or avoiding the source of your temptation from your life if you're finding it impossible not to succumb.

 8.  Replace the temptation with distractions or pursuits of substance. Distracting yourself by doing something active is a good way of resisting temptation. Find other things to do to compensate for the lack or boredom that is confronting you. Get out and exercise, go for a back country hike, distract yourself from food by looking at something visually stunning such as a coffee table book, take up a new hobby, write a book on resisting temptation, plan a budget, wash the dog or the car, etc. Whatever you choose to do to distract yourself, throw yourself into it wholeheartedly.

 9.  Seek help. This is an often overlooked solution when bound up in thinking this is purely your own battle. Reaching out to other people to help you resist a temptation can be a very powerful solution, providing that they're understanding, caring, and prepared to help. People on whom you might be able to rely include parents, family members, friends, teachers, counselors, your doctor, your minister of faith, financial or budget experts, etc

 10.  Reward yourself for not giving in to temptation. Whenever you overcome adversity, you deserve a break. Do something that's good, fun, and healing for you and perhaps for those around you who might have been impacted if you'd given in. Take the family out to dinner, take your boyfriend hiking, watch a marathon of your favorite movies, spend time relaxing with someone you love, reconnecting.


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