The Urge Jar Tool

By Stefan Neff, SMART Facilitator.

My therapist shared a great tool with me called an Urge Jar which is a simple yet effective technique that can help you break bad habits or form new ones. It works by creating a physical or virtual jar to hold your urges or cravings at bay. This technique has gotten me out of many sticky jams in the past. 

The idea behind Urge Jar is that instead of giving in to your urge or craving, you acknowledge it and pull an activity from the jar even if you don’t feel like it. This allows you to take a moment to reflect on your actions and the reasons behind them. It also helps you to build self-control and discipline. 

To create your Urge Jar, follow these steps: 

1. Choose a container: You can use any container you like, such as a jar, a box, or a pouch. You can also create a virtual jar by using an app or a note-taking tool. 

2. Label the container: Write “Urge Jar” or something similar on the container to remind yourself of its purpose.

 3. Identify your triggers: Think about the situations or emotions that trigger your urges or cravings. This could be stress, anxiety, boredom, or social pressure. 

4. Decide on a strategy: Determine how you will use the Urge Jar. For example, you could write down 30-50 activities and add them to your jar for every time you have an urge, and place it in the jar. Activity examples: clean the dishes, do your laundry, go for a walk or walk the dog, yes even clean the toilet, wash the windows, whatever you can do to distract yourself from your Urges and Cravings. 

5. Use the jar: Whenever you feel an urge or craving, take a moment to acknowledge it and then pull at random one of your activities from the jar. You can also use the jar to track your progress and celebrate your successes. 

Your Urge Jar can be used for a variety of habits, such as drinking, smoking, drugging, overeating, or procrastinating. It can also be used to form new habits, such as exercise or mindful meditation. 

The key to the success of your Urge Jar is consistency. You need to use the jar every time you feel an urge or craving, even if you give in to it. Over time, you will build the self-control and discipline needed to break your bad habits and form healthy new ones. 

In conclusion, your Urge Jar is a simple and effective technique that can help you break bad habits and form new ones. By acknowledging your urges and cravings and replacing them with a new activity from the jar, you can build self-control and discipline. Try it out for yourself and see how it can help you achieve your desired recovery goals. 

Now it’s time to make your list of activities to fill your Urge Jar to the rim.


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