Motivational Interview

As we have seen with Mindful Shopping, the road to stopping overshopping often requires introspection and personal reflection. And addiction treatment has confirmed that the most successful way to kick bad habits is to take careful, small steps. A great way to combine these two means of stopping your overshopping is to set a weekly goal for some form of restraint -whether it be avoiding an altercation with your boss, or not looking at a single catalog for a week-and then to conduct a motivational interview with yourself to help make that goal a reality. Set aside some time to interview yourself, and answer the following questions about this change:

Select a change that you’d like to make in the next week. Make it something that you can realistically do in a week and then answer the following questions about it:

1. How important is it to you to make the change-for example, to actually not look at catalogs this week, on a 0-10 scale (0 = totally unimportant, 10 = essential)?

2. Why are you at this number and not a 0?

3. What would it take for you to go from this number to a higher number?

4. How might you go about making this change?

5. What would be a good first step?

6. What obstacles do you see and how might you deal with them?

7. Now how confident (0-10) are you that you can make this change this week?

8. What gives you that level of confidence?

Hopefully this motivational interview will allow you to see the big picture more clearly, addressing the real issues that are causing you to doubt yourself or your ability to reject compulsive buying urges. When you clearly anticipate the obstacles that might stand in your way and brainstorm ways to deal with them, they become much less daunting, and the confidence you can built when you attack them head on is quite a prize in itself.

The following recent example from Jamie, one of the members of my coaching telegroup will give you a feel for the process:

Goal: I Want to stay away from shopping on the Internet in the next week. Although I paid for most of my Internet purchases over the holidays with my debit card, I bought things that I didn’t need. I’ve spent $300 on books of crochet patterns. A couple of novels at Amazon and some boots on sale.

1.How important is it to you to make this change-for example, to actually stay away from Internet shopping this week, on a 0-10 scale (0 = totally unimportant, 10 = essential)?       9

2. Why are you at a 9 and not a 0?

I’m tired of it, it’s not a joy, it’s a compulsion. I’m starting to feel so much better about myself and why would I want to treat myself negatively?

3.What would it take for you to go from this number to a higher number?

The only thing that would make it even more of a priority would be if I was in such a hole financially that I couldn’t even buy food.

4.How might you go about making this change?

There are still a few e-mails that come through with ads and I have to cancel those.

5. What would be a good first step?

Cancel the e-mails from Annie’s Attic, one from my make-up Bare Essentials, and book club e-mails.

6. What obstacles do you see and how might you deal with them?

My procrastination is an obstacle. I’m going to ask two friends to check in with mid-week to see how I’m doing with this goal.

7. How confident (0-10) are you that you can make this change this week?

10

8. What gives you this level of confidence?

Because I want to feel good and I deserve to feel good.

You can imagine that when you think through a goal and how you can meet it, using a technique like this, it’s much more likely that you actually will. Give yourself the gift of a motivational interview. You’re helping you help yourself!

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