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Did you know that many popular porn sites are part of a mega, privately held parent company worth billions called MindGeek?

If you’re struggling over how to stop watching porn, it’s worth noting that you’ve been specifically targeted by a huge industry with very deep pockets.

That knowledge empowers you to take action.  Here's 10 practical steps to help you stop watching porn.

1. Know your enemy -- because porn knows you.

The pornography industry is actively watching you through lots of streaming data that they continually collect including:

  • the days of the week you view porn
  • your dates of viewing
  • your zip code
  • your pause/rewind/fast forward behavior
  • your view times

Just like customers of Netflix, Apple, and Spotify, you’re being tracked and targeted as you search and use porn online. The technical term for this is data-driven creativity.

It’s no accident that the porn industry continues to grow rapidly, because they know the places you’ll visit online and how to best reach you in your hour of temptation. Make no mistake! You have a flaming bullseye on your back when it comes to the porn industry. We all do.

2. Understand your internal challenges -- how porn harms you mentally and emotionally.

Are you overcome by feelings of shame over your porn habit? Do you feel lonely and worthless? This miserable trio of feelings is a common theme among porn users.

If you’re struggling with a porn habit, your brain is currently being rewired by porn. In order to understand how to stop watching porn, you need to know how porn actually damages your brain over time. We’ve explained how overdoses of dopamine creates brain ruts in a shorter post as well as a long post.

Porn also hurts you because it damages others.

You may feel this deep down inside already. As you educate yourself, you begin to understand that porn destroys the lives of many young women caught in the web of human sex trafficking.

When you view porn, you’ll never know a porn actor’s real story. The guilt of objectifying another human being as a sex slave also twists the knife of your inner shame.

And what happens when children view porn accidentally? They’re being educated about sex by a twisted view of synthetic sex. This shapes their feelings of self-worth and thwarts their future goals.

Understanding the monster you’re fighting is one of the best ways to beat an opponent.  

3. Identify personal triggers -- a vital strategy in quitting porn. 

What upsets you the most in life? What stressors make you want to escape to the familiar comfort of porn?

Not all triggers are due to “sex in every check-out aisle,” but checkout aisles are worth a red trigger warning. So is bikini season anywhere summertime and water collide.

Basic emotional triggers are easy to remember if you use what psychologists call the HALT acronym: hungry, angry, lost, tired. Triggers also include objects, places, or activities associated with porn use. Knowing what you can and can’t avoid allows you to create a strategy for success. You might even color code your triggers or give them a danger word.

4. Connect with a trusted friend -- tell on yourself with a positive twist.

Eli Nash, in his 2019 TedX talk, publicly shared his feelings of deep shame over his compulsive porn use.

Nash says, “For a conversation to change, it needs people to share their stories… One day I got so desperate I asked for help.”

Asking for help starts with just ONE difficult conversation -- one small step toward freedom from porn.

Once you’ve taken this hard but important step, your inner conversations about yourself are free to change.

Here’s the positive twist. How about telling a friend, pastor, or family member, “Hey, I’m working on personal goals including my plan to stop watching porn. I need an accountability partner to help me be successful as I plan.”

You might simply say that you don’t want to be known as a person who watches porn.

Then ask, “Care to join me?” Instead of feeling overwhelming shame, you may feel inspired to work on your goals with an added spring in your step. Quitting porn is just one of your success goals.

 “Accountability is so much more than what ‘bad people have to do’. It brings strength, relationship, victory, confidence, and freedom to life.” -- Kolby, happy customer

Success always looks better together. Together might even include a small community of accountability or a support group specifically for sexual addictions.

Why does this work? For men or women, one of the dangerous hooks of porn is isolation. Accountability takes away that secrecy. Porn has no place to hide.

5. How to stop watching porn -- choose accountability and plan with your partner.

We all are tempted to quit when life gets tough. Choosing to ask for help is an expert success strategy! That's why health and fitness coaches are a booming industry.

Turning to your trusted accountability partner in a moment of struggle is so helpful. You choose a person you trust, that you can be honest with, and who cares about your goals.

In order to succeed with an accountability partner, you also need a plan for success.

Set a time to plan together to talk about your goals.

Next, give your accountability partner a specific list of several of your personal goals -- including your plan to stop watching porn. How will you handle your triggers or weak moments?

Downloading accountability software is an ideal place to start. Once you’ve set this up, all of your internet activity will be visible to your chosen (and trusted) accountability partner.

Be sure to download accountability software on every single one of your devices. Then let your accountability partner know the searches that tempt you. Some software allows your partner to create a custom list that will get flagged on your accountability report if you search these terms.

6. Rate your level of porn saturation -- and leverage your accountability partner.

Is your level of porn usage mild? Moderate? Out-of-control?

From our private customer survey results we know that individuals struggle with porn on varying levels. Involving your accountability partner as you measure the level of your struggle is extremely helpful.

How to stop watching porn if you view porn weekly or monthly: 

Have you created a check-in plan with your accountability partner? If not, this is a key element of accountability. A weekly check-in after your accountability partner gets your report from your accountability app might be the level of accountability you need. Working out a trigger plan with your accountability partner ahead of time cuts the legs out from under your temptations, too.

How to stop watching porn if you have a daily porn habit: 

Forming a new daily habit of checking in with your accountability partner helps many. You’ll seriously exercise your accountability muscles! The right kind of practice makes perfect. Knowing you have daily help will add daily strength to face your daily challenges.

How to stop watching porn multiple times a day: 

There’s strength in numbers. Here’s where we suggest you may need more than one accountability partner. In fact, you might need a sex addiction (SA) counselor. Viewing porn multiple times a day suggests a more difficult porn recovery process. Help is available, so please don’t lose hope!

7. Consider professional therapy -- if you’ve rated yourself as out-of-control.

Finally, while porn addiction is not specifically listed by the American Psychiatric Association in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) is now listed as a formal diagnosis by the World Health Organization (WHO). CSBD falls under an impulse control disorder in WHO’s International Classification of Diseases, 11th Edition (ICD-11), so you have more treatment options.

WebMD has a helpful list of symptoms for sexual addiction including:

  • Sexual acts
  • Prostitution
  • Watching or consuming pornography
  • Masturbation or sexual fantasy
  • Exhibition or voyeurism

Help is available, so please don’t give up hope!

These are some of many treatment options available :

Due to the long-term damaging effects of porn, the sooner you get help, the sooner damage can be undone!

8. Create a daily ritual -- and say it aloud as you write it down.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin.

Tell yourself out loud: planning my day is part of my goal to stop watching porn. In fact, writing down and talking about your plans and goals aloud makes them more likely to happen. Plus, if you focus on positive goals, you’ll be more likely to keep going when the uphill climb is steep!

Why is a daily ritual helpful for quitting porn? Watching porn is a bad habit that’s dragging you down. One Lifehack.org article calls your bad habits your “kryptonites”,

“Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days. Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.”

To make this step even more effective, borrow from other successful planners. Here's what we've learned.

Start with a morning routine.

“Creating a morning routine for yourself is essential to a successful life,” - Ken Brokaw
(Forbes article.)

Can you create a great day? How about an almost perfect day?

Eric Partaker, former CEO of the Year, peak performance expert, and best-selling author of The Three Alarms says, Yes, you can create an almost ideal day.

No pressure, though! There is no one right way to start your day, but you should have some sort of structure. Listen to  Eric’s tips for an almost perfect day in less than 10 minutes. Especially tune in to the end for his dynamic “River of Flexibility” as you create your ideal day!

To see another example of a daily ritual, here’s a super-streamlined outline -- Daily Rituals and Michael Hyatt's Morning Routine for the busy executive type, especially.

Maybe you don’t consider yourself to be superstar material. However, would you enjoy looking like a superstar if you find a routine that works for you? Concrete small action steps are a great way to get started.

Here’s morning routine course for moms -- tailored to your different styles of busy.

Moms, if you haven’t met Crystal Paine yet, allow me to introduce you! Here’s where I’ll get a little personal. My life is beyond crazy. Working full-time. Home-schooling. Caregiving for a bed-ridden loved one. That’s three full-time jobs, not one. For years, I felt like I was on a constant hamster wheel.

Crystal’s MoneySaving Mom blog was the start of my journey to improving my finances and my life patterns. I began taking small positive action steps over the next several years. My plans morphed and changed as my life did, but I kept taking steps forward.  Sharing our best life tips is what great friends do, right?

Next, WRITE DOWN how you picture your ideal day in addition to your daily ritual.

Are your days plagued with reactivity and struggle? Do you have an agenda for your day that never gets done?

Be extremely practical first. What absolutely needs to get done on a daily basis in your life?

Then add in the elements that you wish you were doing, like a fitness routine, and time for important relationships.

Finally, wrap up your day with a bedtime routine. 

A perfect day begins with being well-rested. A perfect day also starts the night before.

If you’re used to reaching for the phone and scrolling through porn videos, think about “divorcing” your phone at bedtime.

Our customers mention  how they’re getting more sleep as they become accountable and stop viewing porn. Some even leave their phone in another room overnight.

Prepping in small ways for the next morning also sets you up for success ahead of time. Lay out your clothes, fix your lunch, clean out the kitchen sink, etc...

Had a super stressful day?

Purposefully address your stress either by talking about it or writing in a journal. Stress is the opposite of rest!  A relaxation routine might include peaceful music and dim lights. Some find it relaxing to read in bed at night.

Just think of ways to create a new “unwinding routine” that does not include porn.

No two days are the same. No two individuals can run by the same schedule. Everyone has a different strategy when it comes to quitting porn.

Creating a reasonable, yet shiny picture of your best day and what success looks like for you is a concrete positive step forward.

Suddenly you may find yourself thinking about the big picture goals as you go through this process. That’s what hope looks like -- amazing!

What would an ideal month look like? A year? Your excitement will grow as you’re able to imagine a future free from porn.

 

9. List your favorite activities -- pursue a natural high.

Since we don’t know what activates your personal natural highs, we’ll just practice a “stone soup” approach. Let’s throw a few delicious ideas into a general pot.

Any or all of the activities below help you break porn’s boredom trigger.

  • Soak up some sunshine -- good mood food!
  • Get up and move in a fun, new way -- try croquet or other yard games!
  • Concoct something delicious -- add an international flavor.
  • Create something lovely -- art, music, poetry, pottery, etc..
  • Plant a herb garden -- beautiful and useful.
  • Try woodcarving -- or build something with wood.
  • Hike a new trail -- be a curious explorer.
  • Clean out your shed or closet -- fresh start satisfaction.

Need more ideas to utilize the power of healthy dopamine? We’ve created a handy awesomeness list.

10. Tap into the power of community -- flip the script!

Porn and shame isolate you from the power of a healthy community. So let’s flip the script on shame and porn!

Once again, listen as TedX speaker Eli Nash -- a self-proclaimed recovering porn addict -- speaks boldly about how to stop watching porn by sharing your porn struggles inside a safe community. Listen to his brave words:

“My name is Eli Nash, and I am a porn addict... There’s no better feeling than turning shame upside down, smashing it upside the head, and then using it to help others.”

What could your life look like in just six months if you flipped the script on porn? You’ll always need a plan for success no matter your goals in life -- especially when it comes to not watching porn. When you create a concrete strategy to stop watching porn, you’ll find a whole new world of possibilities opening up for you.

That’s always our mission at Ever Accountable, too -- helping you create an amazing life free of porn through the power of accountability and community.

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