How to Avoid Dealing with Temptation and Stay Focused on Your Goals

dealing with temptation

Temptation can be defined as a desire or craving for something that is usually considered pleasurable but might not be beneficial in the long run. Everyone faces temptation at some point in their lives, whether it’s to indulge in junk food, skip the gym, or procrastinate. However, the ability to resist temptation is critical to achieving success in any area of life. In this article, we will explore various strategies to help you avoid dealing with temptation and stay focused on your goals.

Understanding Temptation

Before we dive into the strategies, it’s essential to understand the science behind temptation. Temptation is a complex interplay between the brain, emotions, and external stimuli. The brain’s reward centre releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that signals pleasure when we engage in activities that we find pleasurable. This dopamine rush reinforces the behaviour and increases the likelihood of repeating it. Therefore, we are more likely to be tempted by activities that release dopamine, such as eating junk food, browsing social media, or binge-watching TV shows.

However, the good news is that we can train our brains to resist temptation by developing self-control and willpower. Here are some strategies to help you avoid dealing with temptation and stay focused on your goals.

Identify Triggers

The first step in avoiding temptation is to identify your triggers. Triggers are situations or environments that make it harder for you to resist temptation. For example, if you’re trying to avoid snacking on junk food, having it readily available in your kitchen can be a trigger. Similarly, if you’re trying to avoid procrastination, social media notifications can be a trigger. By identifying your triggers, you can take proactive steps to avoid them or mitigate their impact.

Create a Plan

Once you’ve identified your triggers, the next step is to create a plan to deal with them. A plan can include several strategies such as:

  • Removing temptations:
    If a particular trigger is making it hard for you to resist temptation, remove it from your environment. For example, if you’re trying to avoid junk food, remove it from your pantry.
  • Finding alternatives:
    If you’re trying to avoid a particular behaviour, find a healthier alternative that can give you the same dopamine rush. For example, if you’re trying to avoid snacking on junk food, try snacking on fruits or vegetables.
  • Setting boundaries:
    Setting boundaries can help you avoid triggers that are outside your control. For example, if you’re trying to avoid procrastination, set specific times during the day when you can check your email or social media.

Develop Self-Control

Developing self-control is critical to avoiding temptation. Self-control is the ability to resist impulses and delay gratification. Here are some strategies to help you develop self-control:

  • Practice mindfulness:
    Mindfulness is the practice of being present at the moment and paying attention to your thoughts and emotions without judgment. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your impulses and make conscious decisions instead of acting on autopilot.
  • Practice delaying gratification:
    Delaying gratification is the ability to resist immediate rewards for long-term gains. For example, if you’re trying to save money, delay gratification by avoiding impulse purchases and saving money instead.
  • Practice self-reflection:
    Self-reflection is the process of examining your thoughts and behaviours and identifying areas for improvement. By practising self-reflection, you can become more aware of your triggers and develop strategies to avoid them.

Stay Accountable

Staying accountable can help you stay focused on your goals and avoid temptation. Accountability can come in various forms, such as:

  • Enlisting support:
    Enlisting the support of friends or family members who share your goals can help you stay accountable. For example, you can ask a friend to be your workout buddy or an accountability partner for a project you’re working on.
  • Tracking progress:
    Tracking your progress towards your goals can help you stay accountable. You can use a journal or an app to track your progress and celebrate your successes.
  • Rewarding yourself:
    Rewarding yourself for achieving your goals can be a powerful motivator. However, it’s essential to choose rewards that are consistent with your goals. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t reward yourself with junk food.

Practice Self-Care

Practising self-care is crucial to avoiding temptation and staying focused on your goals. Self-care is the practice of taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Here are some strategies to help you practice self-care:

  • Get enough sleep:
    Getting enough sleep is critical to maintaining self-control and avoiding temptation. Lack of sleep can lead to increased stress levels and decreased willpower.
  • Exercise regularly:
    Exercise releases endorphins, which can help reduce stress levels and increase self-control. Regular exercise can also help you establish healthy habits and routines.
  • Eat a healthy diet:
    Eating a healthy diet can help you avoid temptation and maintain self-control. Avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent cravings.


Temptation is an inevitable part of life, but with the right strategies, you can avoid dealing with it and stay focused on your goals. By identifying your triggers, creating a plan, developing self-control, staying accountable, and practising self-care, you can overcome temptation and achieve success in any area of life. Remember, self-control is like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly, and with practice, you can develop the willpower to resist temptation and achieve your goals.