The Lunar New Year is another opportunity to challenge yourself to meet a desired goal. If you’re striving to overcome an unwanted sexual habit, here’s an idea to get you going. Challenge yourself to abstain from porn or masturbation for 30 days, but first, set up a winning strategy.
7 Steps to Success
If you were going to run a race you would do some training first. Part of your preparation would be to understand your strengths and weaknesses, the environment and conditions you would be running in, and to set up a support system for the entire course. That’s a very similar process for setting up a 30 day challenge. You don’t want to be alone, unaware and unprepared in the midst of your quest to overcome porn.
1. Identify your pitfalls first
- What time of day do you most often struggle?
- Are their places where you feel more tempted?
- What routine choices lead you closer to the habit you’re trying to change?
- Are there any people or activities you should try to avoid during your 30 day challenge?
2. Set up a support system
A trusted friend, a spouse, a parent, an Accountability Partner or a Sexual Integrity Mentor can all be people to turn to when facing temptation. You may have different types of relationships in your support system. A friend might offer a distraction while an Accountability Partner helps you stay on track. You can speak more openly with one person while another provides comfort and connection. It’s good to have more than one person in your support system.
3. Create check-in points and mile markers
30 days can seem like a long time, so set up daily check points and weekly markers to track your success. You might want to use a calendar to check off the days and a journal to record your thoughts and feelings. Notice the details of what brings on a struggle or what helped you avoid temptation. Report your progress to the person most likely to praise your success, your Accountability Partner or Mentor.
4. Establish diversions and motivators
We all need diversions from time to time; to relax, to blow off steam, or just to have some fun. What type of activities will help you and not trigger your habit? Think of some new ways to focus your mental and physical energy. Take a class, start a new hobby, exercise or get more socially involved. You can think of these as replacement activities or ways to motivate yourself to enjoy life from a fresh perspective.
5. Reward yourself for small successes
You don’t have to wait until the end to feel the victory. Give yourself a small reward daily, and a bigger reward weekly. It might be a favorite food, some new clothes or a video game you’ve been wanting to play. Set up your rewards ahead of time as something to work toward. Just make sure they are not activities or things that trigger your habit.
6. Learn from what works and what doesn’t
Don’t think of this as an all or nothing challenge. This is an opportunity to train yourself and to learn. Along the way you may find that you need to make adjustments; something you thought would help, doesn’t. An unexpected event triggered a relapse. Make it part of your challenge to learn from temptation and mistakes, how to avoid or overcome them the next time.
7. Get back in the game and never give up
Whatever happens, don’t call it quits, don’t give up. Be like a child learning how to walk; no matter how many times they fall or bump their head they get up and try again. When your 30 days are up, challenge yourself to the next level. How many 30 days can you stack up? What greater victories can these challenges lead to?