I love Ice cream.
Specifically, I love Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Core ice cream.
If you are one of the unfortunate individuals that hasn't had the pleasure of enjoying this delectable treat, here is how it is described on the front of the container: "Cookie milk ice cream with fudge chips and a chocolate chip cookie dough core."
Need I say more?
I just want to shake the hand of the man or woman that came up with cookie milk flavored ice cream.
Here's the problem: when I buy this ice cream from the store, I can't just have a small bowl. No. I end up eating nearly (or entirely) the whole pint in one sitting.
And I am fully aware of the adverse effects this has on my aging body.
Now, because I am aware of this, every so often I will set the intention to NOT have the ice cream that day if we have it in the house.
I'll think about how I felt the last time I ate nearly a full pint of ice cream, and I will determine to resist the temptation.
Great, I've set the intention, I'm good to go. Right?
Well here's the thing that happens EVERY time. I'll go throughout the day fine. No strong cravings for ice cream. I'm sailing along well, keeping my intention.
Then it gets to be night time.
We put our girls to bed, I'll work on a few remaining dishes, and BOOM! I am practically knocked over with the massive craving for a spoonful of sweet, creamy, cookie dough-y ice treat (with a coffee on the side).
THAT'S when I get the ice cream craving. In the evening, right around the same time.
It's like clockwork. It's so predictable, it's almost funny.
In fact, the second I set that intention not to eat ice cream that day, I could've written down nearly to the minute when I would feel that craving.
Now, (and you knew this was coming), think about the last time you experienced the urge to watch porn. I'm willing to bet it was a situation you've been in before. In fact, you probably could have predicted it in advance, right?
Every once in a while it will come at us in an unexpected way, and it catches us off guard. But the vast majority of the instances when we are hit with the urge to watch porn, it is a familiar and predictable circumstance.
What are your predictable times for when the urge to watch porn hits you?
Maybe it is in the evenings when you have time alone. Maybe that urge hits you typically in the mornings. Do you find that the urge hits you more on weekends, or more often during the week?
Oftentimes, this struggle is fairly predictable. For myself, probably over 90% of the time, I could have predicted in advance when I would get that craving to watch porn. If you think about this for you, my guess is you'll find this to be true.
So how can you use this to your advantage? If you can predict the likely times that the urge to watch porn will arise, how can this help you?
In "The Missing Piece" guide I talk about practicing in advance.
This literally takes two minutes. But when I practice in advance, I've found that it supercharges my self-awareness (which is an essential tool in your toolbelt), and it greatly increases my chance of not giving into the urge when it arises.
So how do you practice in advance? Here's how (I'll describe it first in detail, and then the quick steps down below):
At the beginning of each day take two minutes to sit down, close your eyes, and ask yourself the question, "When will I likely feel the urge to watch porn today?"
When you have a good idea when you might be hit with the urge that day, visualize yourself in that situation. See yourself in that place and time, and imagine feeling the familiar urge to watch porn in that instant.
Then, picture yourself pausing in that moment. Imagine yourself stopping, and taking a breath. Picture yourself acknowledging that feeling and saying the words to yourself, "Hm, I am feeling the strong urge to watch porn."
See yourself then setting a timer for ten minutes (Where will you set it? On your phone? A kitchen timer? The computer?). Imagine yourself setting that timer, and then going about your day as you normally would have.
That urge is still there. It's not pleasant to experience, but you're not fighting it or resisting it. You're giving it permission to be there.
Visualize the timer sounding ten minutes later. Yes! You did it! You completed the steps to allow the urge! You're building that skill, that "muscle," which is your path to true freedom.
Time to "high five" yourself! Imagine yourself recording your win somewhere. Where will you record your win? In your journal? A small pebble in a jar? A document on your phone? Visualize yourself noting this win, and the exhilaration of actually doing it. You took a hugely significant step on your path to freedom!
So, to recap, here are the quick steps:
1. Sit down at the start of the day, close your eyes, and ask, "When will I likely feel the urge to watch porn today?"
2. Imagine yourself in that instance, and visualize yourself feeling that urge to watch porn, and going through the steps of the P.A.T.H. Plan:
P - Pause and take a breath. A - Acknowledge the urge ("Hm, I am feeling the strong urge to watch porn"). T - Timer (set a timer for ten minutes). H - High five yourself! Record your win.
Want to supercharge your self-awareness? Want to greatly increase your chance of taking real steps towards the exhilarating feeling of freedom?
Remember, to increase your chance, practice in advance!