Building The New - My guide to improving.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
When I began NoFap a few months ago, I never truly realised how difficult it would prove to be. I got into a bad place because of my PMO addiction. A really bad place. Every week or so, I'd find myself relapsing, having been manipulated by my mind into giving in to my urges. This was ongoing for a long time, and it seemed like I was forever stuck in this rut. This led to social anxiety, brain fog (confusion, little awareness, poor decision-making), and nil productivity.
The thing about PMO is that its a distraction, and without the high dopamine release you get from it, there will always be an adjustment period to face as you go through the process of leaving PMO behind in building a better life for yourself. Never fool yourself into thinking it will be easy, especially if you have been using porn for years on end. But do not shy away from NoFap when things get challenging. Things most certainly will get challenging. But always remember: Discomfort begets growth.
“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” - Aristotle
The path to a greater you is not found in front of a screen, it is found within. Accept where you are; take responsibility for where you are, and make change happen. One small step at a time. This is important. Don't get ahead of yourself. With continuous small steps, you are ALWAYS moving forward. Never allow yourself to stagnate, and always seek a way to claim the day for yourself. This can be done in many ways, but here are the things I started doing which not only kept me busy, but allowed me to continuously get better with each passing day:
- OWN YOUR WHY Before all else, this must be covered. How many of you have run into NoFap on sheer willpower? I'd go as far to say that most of us have. Willpower diminishes - its like a muscle, which grows weaker after constant use and needs to replenish. What is left when willpower has faded away? Discipline. Discipline keeps you going even when you don't want to continue, but without a solid foundation for why you are doing NoFap, you'll be more likely to find reasons to give in. KNOW YOUR WHY for doing NoFap. Write it all down on paper, and keep it handy so you can look back on it in the hardest, most testing of times. This saved me... many, many times. Know your why, and embody it. Understand your mind will try and trick you out of following the reasons you stated for yourself. It is your job to cultivate the discipline to stay on track toward a greater tomorrow. Without a why, it'll be like trying to find your way through a dark tunnel without a light. Without your light to guide you, you are more likely to get hit by the train that will inevitably come around. When the urges hit hard, you may think your reasons aren't worth it. This way of thinking is a fallacy, and it is absolutely essential that you know this.
"Suffer the pain of discipline, or suffer the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons." - Jim Rohn
- EXERCISE I don't go to gym. Some of us don't have the money, and in my case there isn't one nearby. In replacement, I use a callisthenics bodyweight workout routine, four days a week, HIIT (my exercise routine is in the comments for anyone interested). There's something about using my own bodyweight to get stronger that feels so natural to me, so I enjoy it. You should all be exercising, if not to get stronger; to get fit and attain more energy for everything else you do in life. Because of regular exercise, I feel stronger and more confident than ever before and I'm loving it. Some days I don't want to exercise... discipline is key here, folks. Your body is the only home you have, so look after it.
- READ 10 PAGES Every day, read 10 pages of a book. Easy peasy. Coming from someone who never read a book growing up, this is a great way to get into the habit of reading. 10 pages is all you need to decide whether you want to continue a book or not, and you will always finish knowing something you never knew before. It also means you'll be getting through more than 3000 pages a year, even if you don't always manage to stick to doing it every day. Your mind is the most important tool you own. Sharpen it. Hone it. You need to be continuously learning something new, building upon yourself. As a blacksmith forges a weapon by shaping it with his hammer; your mind is your weapon, so constantly aim to improve it, and learn how to use it.
- LIMIT PC USAGE I say 'PC', when I really mean the internet. Why do this? Because without knowing it, you may even have an internet addiction. Stop browsing Facebook or YouTube when you don't need to; there's a whole world out there. This will be a tough one for many of you, as it was for me. I currently limit myself to 2 hours of internet per day. Sometimes I stick to it - sometimes I might go over, it happens, but remember to catch yourself when it does. "What else am I going to do?" Well, if you don't have a social circle at the moment, you can get into reading, write (very important: journalling saved me from relapsing many times), TAKE A WALK - really, just go outside with a bag on your back for food and drink, maybe a book, and walk. You'll find walking is among the best ways to clear your mind and become more mindful. I plan to hike in the summertime - 110 miles of woods around Mont Blanc. Hopefully I don't get mauled to death by a bear.
- BED FOR 21:30 (NO PHONE) At 9:30PM, find yourself in bed with no electronics handy, except maybe an alarm for an early rise. Sleep is among the most vital things which affect your overall health, energy, and brain power. I cannot stress this enough - DISCIPLINE YOURSELF to go to bed earlier! Just try it for 10 days, see if you feel better, because I guarantee you won't regret it. Exposure to blue light at night not only keeps us awake, it also damages your eyes in excess and fucks up your sleeping cycle that little bit more. It isn't natural. Do yourself a favour and use the last couple of hours before sleeping in a wise manner: read, journal...
- PLAN TOMORROW TODAY Each night, write a to-do list for the day ahead. This is huge, because it gives you motivation to get up from bed the next morning and follow through on the tasks you have set yourself. Write a list - a short list - with tasks such as 'get up at ____' (for me its 6:30), 10m morning exercise, contrast shower, brush teeth... you get the idea. I get such satisfaction from ticking off a task I have set for myself, that I can't leave this habit behind. This alone has made me a more productive, motivated person.
- TALK LESS, LISTEN MORE This may seem off topic, but I believe that connecting with other people is a big attribute toward long-term success in NoFap. Most of us only listen to reply. We should be listening to understand. This is especially the case when meeting new people, and we all do it. Be aware of how you are listening to the person you next speak to, but don't obsess over getting it 'right'. Just... listen. It's the most respect you can give to a person, and in turn they will respect you for hearing what they have to say.
- ADD VALUE Always add value to the lives of other people, as well as to your own life. You'll find that even giving someone a sincere compliment will go a long way in making them feel appreciated. In doing this, you'll find you are also adding value to yourself. Consider even making a brief list detailing how you can add value to the people in your life: that could even mean telling your parents you love them - how long has it been? The best way to add value to your own life is to be genuine. Be yourself, and dance to your own tune, my friend.
"Don't try to be a man of success. Rather, become a man of value." - Albert Einstein
Well, this dragged on. I'm unapologetic; I just want to see everyone here grow into their strongest self, and as a community, we need to support eachother. Stay strong brothers (and sisters), and please feel free to comment.
"When faced with adversity, ask yourself: What would the strongest version of myself do?"