It’s been a long ride, with long periods of really struggling with trying to stop PMO, and long periods of saying “fuck this” and PMOing multiple times a day (all of 2017). Let’s dive right into what finally allowed me to be PMO free –
Keeping a PMO Journal.
The idea started off when I had kept a food log (just for tracking purposes, not attempting to lose weight). By forcing myself to be accountable to myself, and really taking a look at what I was putting in my body, I slowly, but surely (and naturally) started to integrate healthier, more cost effective food into my diet. I effectively lost 15lb over 8 months without trying, just because by forcing myself to look at what I was consuming, I simply got tired of eating gross (and expensive) stuff and shifted my mentality. I later found out that this is an well known, effective method for helping people to lose weight.
I soon started to wonder if this journaling system could be applied to PMO, and I gave myself the following rule:
You can PMO as much as you want. But you must journal before and after.
I decided that before I would PMO, I would write down:
- What sparked the urge in the first place (i.e. the “cue”)
- I’ve found this to be anything from boredom, to anxiety, to seeing an advertisement the way home.
- What I think I have to gain by PMO, what I think the outcome will be (i.e. the “reward”)
- I found that often times, this may be “stress relief” or even something as inane as “lack of boredom”
I decided that immediately afterwards, I would write down:
- How I felt.
I just had to make sure I journaled 100% of the time, before and after. And that I was being 100% honest with myself in whatever I was journaling.
By giving myself the permission to PMO, I removed the feeling of “Fuck, I can’t ever do this again,” which is something that’s been really daunting to me in the past.
Journaling also created accountability. Since I had to write down how I felt afterwards (spoiler alert, it was never great) I would have to look at the effects of it, and I wouldn’t be able to act like “this time was different”. And this is actually what happened.
After starting my PMO journal a few months ago, I PMO’d one time (the first day) and what I wrote in the “After” journal… I don’t want to ever write again (and haven’t had to yet).
Since I also had the “Before” journals, I could get an accurate view what would make me want to PMO in the first place, and what I thought I had to gain from following through with it, and now I could use these things to retrain my brain. Here’s a couple examples.
I quickly realized that one of my main triggers / cues was simply “boredom”. I wanted something to do, to fill up the time. And my theoretical reward was “amusement / lack of boredom”. So I then told myself that whenever I’m feeling bored, I would go to another room, and start reading a book. Right away. It didn’t matter if I wanted to read or not. I just started reading. And within a couple weeks, I was reading A LOT. I effectively swapped out my PMO habit with reading, for when my PMO was triggered by boredom.
Another example is that I would see advertisements with with hot women on them, and then I’d start looking forward to PMO’ing, in this case, looking forward to that moment of releasing energy that builds up with fantasizing. To change this cycle, I decided that the feeling one gets from a hard workout / run was probably the most similar thing to the feeling of orgasm and word burn off plenty of energy, at least from a practical purpose. So believe me, I started working out and running a lot.
It’s 92 days later, and this is the longest streak I’ve had in ~5 years. I’ve been able to abstain from peeking (which was an issue on my shorter streaks) as well. There’s a part of me that thinks (and hopes) that I’ll never go back (which was never there before, my streaks seemed only temporary, until my brain was “rewired”).
I really hope this post helps someone. There is hope, there are practical way of getting through this. We just have to be diligent and put in the work.
TLDR – Keep a PMO journal. Before you PMO, journal what triggered you in the first place, and what you think you have to gain by doing it. Afterwards, journal how you feel in that moment. Don’t skip a journal. The moment that happens is the moment you slip back. Use the “Before” journal to help you analyze and change your habits.