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Notching an obsession back down to a passion

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Yesterday I gave you some thoughts about how tell when an activity you are passionate about starts to become an unhealthy obsession. I used the example of my husband's ( still healthy) rugby watching which is why I have chosen the rather tenuous illustration for this post.. Any excuse!!

I promised that today I would give you some ideas as to how to ensure that your time and money spent on your favourite activities remained in balance with the rest of your life.

1.Do not go cold turkey

There is no need to do so. We are aiming for balance not abstinance.

2.Budget time and money.

Sit down at a time where you are quiet, alone, comfortable, unrushed and away from the source of your obsession. Evaluate your life and allocate a sum of money and time that would create a good balance in your life. What is appropriate will vary depending on the activity ( mountaineering cannot be done in ten minutes for example) and your income/ other needs. Then enjoy spending that time and money without guilt knowing that you allocated it as an appropriate sum.

3. Garner support to stick to your budget.

Tell friends, people you communicate with online, your family about your decisons and tell them in advance that you want them to remind you and encourage you to stick to it. They dodn't need to nag, but even a sort of code word to bring your resolution to the back of your mind will help. For example, I asked my husband recently to help me in my resolution to go to bed when I should and not stay up for hours reading. He never tells me to go to bed. What he does do now is come and tell me that he is thinking of going to bed soon. Its enough to remind me that I need to do the same if I am not be be cottonwool headed in the morning.

4. Use technology.

Iphone apps help you track your spending ( as does a pen and piece of paper!) or use stopwatch with a timer on it to limit the time you spend at any one time.

5. Talk positively to yourself and focus on your long term aims.

If we tell ourselves we can't we are less likley to act accordingly than if we tell ourselves we can. So, work out your motivatons for your change and stress the benefits to yourself. Do not say, ” I really want that new xxx but I can't because musn't spend.” Rather tell yourself, “I am going to be able do yyyy next week if I dont waste money today on xxxx”. Apparently people have a tendancy to take small short term benefits rather than waiting a while for something more vaulable. If your obsession is preventing you saving up for something bigger and better place pictures of your future goals around the place or journal about it frequently to keep it forefront of your mind.

6. Avoid undue temptation.

It is not possible to spend too much unless you actually go to the shop be it online or physical. If browsing ebay over coffee is your morning ritual, decide inadvance what your new ritual will be and set that out ready to do each night so your decision to follow your new habit is easy.

7. Create more time or money

My husband buys a lot of books. I mean a LOT. But its not a problem because he never spends more than we allocate to discretionary spending and if he wants more he sells other books or CDs and rolls the money back into new ones. Often he sells at a profit which makes him very happy. The postman is less happy with the amount of parcels he has to deliver to us but thats not our problem! Are there ways you could save time eleswhere to free up time for your hobby?

8 Reward yourself

We all respond well to motivation.but just as a reward for dieting is best not a bar of choclate, its probably best to make your reward something unrelated to the nature of your obession.

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