First I need to estabilish something. In order to beat this addiction, you need motivation. Motivation is not something that gracefully falls from the sky to you. It is something that we can and have to actively create in our lives, through our thinking and through our actions.
In The Mindful Habit Program we talk a lot about motivation. You need motivation everyday, just like water. But, where and how do you get it?
First, you need to realize that all biological beings, (so, all humans as well), follow a simple rule of moving towards pleasure and avoiding pain. We all want to have more pleasurable things in life and less suffering. But as complicated, aware creatures, we all define whats pleasurable and painful for us by creating mental associations. Associations are thoughts and images in our mind, that are connected to certain actions. How can one person be so passionate about running at 4 am every morning and you might hate it? This is because the person running has created positive associations with a running routine and you probably think it is a horrible idea. That person imagines how great and free they feel when they are running. This person has created a different mindset. They are thinking about the outcome, their overall health and the positive outcomes it brings to their life.
I like to call this method, Being Motivated By a Carrot. We connect positive and pleasurable associations with activities that we want to start and maintain in our life. That’s how we create motivation.
But there’s another method, that I call, Being Motivated By a Whip. So, the same person may think about the outcome of not running. They may imagine themselves as old, disabled, pain strickened, crippled or powerless. They may imagine a lack of energy and lack of happiness in life. If they create an image of suffering in thier minds, it will move them towards the goal of running. This works as well as the previous method.
And there’s something that’s going beyond simple impulses of pleasure and suffering. Studies have shown, that if we think about the outcome, “the payment” that we will receive after certain actions, it motivates us only short term. But, there’s something that allows us to stay motivated continuosly and it’s based on our natural curiosity. Using natural curiosity means, that instead of focusing on effect, you’re focusing on enjoying the action. I will give a simple example. One person may set a goal of climbing a mountain in 3 hours. And they march fast, focus on their watch and then finally they are on the mountain. They achieved their goal and it’s over. No more motivation towards climbing. The other person may just enjoy the act of climbing. They decide to go to the mountains and experience them to the fullest. They may look around more, take a different path to check things out and it takes much longer. This is a much more natural, enjoyable process of exploration. Then when they reach one mountain, they are still curious and decide to explore the next one. And so on, and so forth. Focusing on enjoying the activity, not only the effects of it, but having this broader, relaxed, mindful state of mind during it, creates greater and longer lasting motivation as well as greater effects long term.
Does this mean we shouldn’t use the first type of motivation I described? Not at all! I believe we should motivate ourselves using both of these techniques. Thinking about the outcome and effects of our behavior before starting it, so we will start, but when we do, to focus fully on being present, exploring and finding joy in that activity itself.
Now, your recovery process should consist with many positive, healthy activities. It’s not only about stopping doing or watching something, its mostly about what you do instead. Use these motivational tips to maintain your healthy activities. Of you chose to you’ll ultimately win your fight and find healthy sexuality!