So here it is. I’ve finally passed 90 days. I don’t feel all that special. Heck, it feels pretty normal. And that’s the point: this is the new normal. Some improvements and accomplishments [and useful tips]:
More confidence and self-esteem. No more guilt. Have no problem meeting someone’s eyes, can start talking to just about anyone.
- More focused, less easily distracted. Can devote more attention to tasks at hand. Brain fog is minimal to nonexistent.
- Spending less time on video games and more time reading books, writing, making artwork, etc. Feeling more creative, more open to challenges and learning new things.
- Have deleted Instagram. Probably the single best choice I’ve made on NoFap. A huge drain on my attention has been removed.
- Finally committed to writing the fantasy novel I started back in 2015, and made more progress in the last three months than I did in all of 2017.
- Reduced my sugar intake. Drinking more water.
Anyway. Here are the three biggest lessons I’ve learned on my journey so far. I hope they’ll help even just a few of you with yours.
1. Fight smarter, not harder.
Picture two armies. The Red army is huge, ferocious and flushed with victory. The Blue army is smaller, less experienced, nearly pissing themselves with fear. They bravely face the Red army’s charge head on. Maybe they survive a round or two. But sooner or later, they’re crushed.
This is what happens when you try to fight urges with willpower alone. Willpower is a finite resource. It runs out, particularly when you’re tired, stressed, etc. Sooner or later, the urge overwhelms you. I learned this the hard way.
To win, you can’t just let the Blue army stand around the battlefield. Use the terrain to your advantage. Get better equipment. Build up morale. Gather new recruits and train the hell out of them. Counter the Red army’s tactics with your own.
In other words, fight smarter. Put down your phone; use the laptop in a public place. Get out of the house. Go for long walks in nature. Work out. Pick up new hobbies, or rekindle old ones. Read more books. Meditate. Socialise. Learn. Recognise your own triggers and divert yourself accordingly. Above all, keep busy. Don’t just endure your sexual energy; harness it.
The goal is not to defeat the Red army, but to master it. End the war within yourself. Then you can conquer the world with the power of Red and Blue combined.
2. Use the power of habit.
Back in March, I gave up sweet drinks for Lent. Before I had one almost every day, always telling myself to cut down and never doing it. Until now.
It was shockingly easy. I couldn’t believe that I’d found this hard to quit. Most of the time I didn’t even think about what I was giving up. I felt like I could keep drinking water indefinitely.
Then when the 40 days were up, I had my favourite milk tea, just to see what would happen. It was all right, but I still didn’t see the appeal.
The next day I thought, what the hell. Let’s have another one.
You can see where this is going.
Suddenly, my brain was hitting me with all these excuses. It’d been a long day, I needed a pick-me-up, I deserved it, etc. I struggled to argue back, when before it had been so easy. I’d simply told myself No. After a week I understood that I’d felt better without the milk tea, and went back to drinking water. Now I allow myself the occasional indulgence, but that’s all.
This is why building the streak is so important, and arguably the foundation of self-discipline. We have to get used to telling ourselves no, until we can do it without thinking. Anything else wears out our willpower. I don’t have to lecture myself about dental hygiene every night. I just brush my teeth, end of story.
Don’t think you can go back to porn, that you did your time and now you can ‘control’ it. You’ll just end up right where you started. Build the habit, and maintain it.
3. Recognise the difference between want and need.
I deleted Instagram a few weeks ago. At the time, I panicked. It felt like I was giving up something critically important; something I needed.
But I didn’t need it. I only thought I did.
Not so long ago, I truly believed that everyone was just like me: secretly having X-rated thoughts and acting on them. Because how could they not be? I couldn’t live without PMO, so how could they?
It turns out, we can live without quite a lot.
Junk food, pornography, likes and upvotes. We want these things; it’s biological. We’re hardwired to want sweetness, sex, approval. But these modern variants overwhelm our senses and hijack the reward system, making us believe we’re getting everything we ever wanted, when the truth is that they’re only hollow simulations.
And we can’t tell. For an addict, the line between want and need is indistinguishable. We know it’s not healthy, not natural, not fulfilling. But we honestly believe that we need whatever we’re addicted to.
I’m here to tell you that that’s not true. You don’t need porn. You don’t need masturbation. You want these things, sure. But do you truly need them in your life?
Give them up and find out.
NoFap hasn’t made me a sex god or some other bullshit. I’m still myself – just a better version of myself. I think that’s something we can all aspire to.
I’ll round this up with some wisdom from Brandon Sanderson. What is the most important step a man can take?
The next one.
You know what, here’s some All Time Low to celebrate.
Most importantly, this is just the beginning.
Stay strong, everyone. One day at a time.
EARLIER REPORT – Day 30 – I can look people in the eye now.
I think a lot of the ‘superpowers’ people talk about are really just all of us finally becoming normal, confident, non-perverted human beings. I’m 26, steady job, not in any classes at the moment. I’m not talking about going around smiling creepily at every girl I meet. That’d be weird. What I mean is eye contact followed by a natural, in-the-moment smile.
Before NoFap, I would have been very awkward and uncertain about body language like this. Now I feel like it’s becoming instinctual.
I have to note that this is NOT just because of NoFap. My job involves dealing with the public, so I have a lot of practice simply talking to people I don’t know. (And I still get awkward.) But the newfound confidence is definitely NoFap.
It’s a subtle difference, but it’s there. When I meet someone’s eye, I no longer have the immediate urge to look away. A lot of the time, the other person looks away first. This is new.
And yes, that includes girls. There’ve been a couple times now when I’ve met a cute girl’s eye and smiled – and she smiled back, not looking away either. I’m becoming more comfortable showing my interest, more confident.
I no longer feel inferior.
It depends on my mood and the circumstances, but there’s definitely an inner strength emerging that wasn’t there before.
Stay strong, brothers. One day at a time.