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Why Willpower Fails When You’re Trying to Quit Porn

Why Willpower Fails When You’re Trying to Quit Porn

Use these 5 hacks to overcome any challenge!

Willpower: The strength of will to carry out one’s decisions and stick to their values. Most people think that if they only had enough of this mysterious willpower stuff, that their abs would be rock hard, their bank accounts full, and their vices a thing of the past. But they never seem to have enough of it, and they don’t know how to get more of it.

Time after time we try to put on our game faces and use white-knuckle power. But there are better ways than kicking yourself after eating 12 donuts (or watching porn for three hours) and swearing you won’t do it again.

And the best part: Unlocking your willpower reserves with these tips will not only allow you to quit making love to a computer screen, you’ll also be empowered to use these willpower hacks in every other part of your life—diet, exercise, studying, career, and more.

Let’s get to it!

FIVE WAYS TO HACK YOUR WILLPOWER

1. Debunking the ego depletion myth

The idea of ego depletion is that we have a finite amount of willpower. By using willpower, we use it up, at least until we recharge by eating, sleeping, or relaxing. Since the 1990’s, ego depletion has been a popular theory about willpower supported by the research. 

When researchers exhausted participants’ willpower (like by having them eat radishes and abstain from fresh cookies on the same table), they would spend less time trying hard tasks before giving up.

But a more recent realization has changed everything. Turns out, a lot of studies weren’t able to reproduce this ego depletion effect. Because they didn’t find positive results, they were considered boring and weren’t published like the others.

To find out why ego depletion was only true sometimes, more recent researchers designed different studies. What they found is that ego depletion is only observed in people who believe that willpower is a limited resource. Participants who didn’t believe that willpower was finite did run out of willpower.

The power of their beliefs shaped their reality. Those who believe in a limited supply of willpower are just more likely to give up sooner.

So when you start thinking that you’re tired and can’t be expected to continue doing the hard thing, remember that you’re stronger than that. The only limits on your willpower are the limits you give yourself.

2. Make it hard to mess up and easy to succeed

It seems so simple it’s stupid, right? It’s easy to do easy things. It’s hard to do hard things. So use this fact to your advantage!

Make it as difficult as possible to act on urges to sabotage your goals and values.

Make it as easy as possible to stick to your commitments.

What does this mean practically? If you’re trying to eat better, don’t keep junk food in your house. Don’t stock your shelves with Oreos and ice cream. Instead, find a variety of tasty and healthy snacks to keep handy. Find some healthy recipes you like and learn how to make them. Only go to restaurants that serve healthy food.

If you want to exercise more and get fit, find a way to work out that’s fun and convenient. Get a nice bicycle and commute to work on two wheels. Join a boxing or gymnastics class with a regular schedule. Or set up a carpool to the gym with a friend, so there’s social pressure to be consistent.

If you’re trying to quit porn and get your sexual health back, then use the REMOJO app to block porn on all your devices. Get an accountability partner who will see if you try to get around your protections. And use the Building An Amazing Life course in the app to figure out your triggers and how to handle them in easy and healthy ways, rather than just battling your own mind in a willpower cage match.

3. Flip the endowment effect

The endowment effect means that people over-value what they already possess. So when you think about all the things you’re “giving up” by quitting porn, you’re placing way too much value on XXX content. Instead, flip it! Think about all the things you’ve been giving up for years in order to use porn, things that belong to you by right. Such as: your sexual function, healthy relationships, thousands of hours of free time, your focus, your self-respect, etc.

People overvalue what they already possess. This logical fallacy is the “endowment effect.” In one study on this, participants were given either a chocolate bar or a coffee mug—two items of roughly equal value. What researchers found was that those who were first given a Swiss chocolate bar were generally unwilling to trade it for a coffee mug. And those first given the coffee mug were generally unwilling to trade it for the chocolate bar.

These people were already emotionally attached to the item they saw as “theirs” even though they’d just acquired it a couple of minutes ago.

If you’re thinking you have to “give up porn,” you’re assigning far too much value on the supposed benefits of watching XXX content and far too little value on the advantages of living pornfree. First, let’s break apart these “benefits.”

Illusion: Using porn is pleasurable!

Reality: Is it really pleasurable or just stimulating and frustrating, like looking at videos of other people eating when you’re hungry?

Illusion: I don’t want to give up my access to all this sexual variety!

Reality: There is no variety. It’s just you, alone, touching yourself while looking at a screen.

Illusion: Using porn helps me relax and de-stress.

Reality: Your porn habit is causing many of the problems that are stressing you out–by disrupting your sleep, causing relationship strife, taking time away from work, etc.

Illusion: I have a connection with a cammer or OnlyFans creator I don’t want to lose.

Reality: Stop paying them and you’ll see how real the “connection” is.

Illusion: Orgasms are healthy and porn helps me get there.

Reality: You don’t need porn to have an orgasm. (And if you do, then you definitely need to quit).

Now that we’ve destroyed some illusions, we can actually use the endowment effect to our advantage. Many men think that they have to give up porn in order to gain the benefits that they’re hoping for. But that’s not true. What’s actually been happening is that for years you have been choosing to give up your virility, your time, your peace of mind, your self-respect, and your potential for healthy relationships in order to grasp at illusions. All of these already belong to you by right. Stop giving them away.

4. Mastermind

Be around people who reinforce your goals and live like you want to live. If you’re trying to diet and get fit but all your friends are sedentary junk foodies, it’s going to be extra difficult. You need people around you who reinforce your goals and inspire you forward. That’s why we include a community in the REMOJO app where you can mastermind with others on this journey and find accountability partners!

5. Absolute certainty

I've seen that when people aren't sure that they want to be pornfree but they're trying anyway, they are torn in two directions. A part of them isn’t ready to really escape the porn trap, so the possibility of using haunts them. This possibility is a persistent itch that only gets more intense when scratched.

You may be certain on a rational level that porn has nothing good to offer you and you’ll be better off without it, but the absolute certainty I’m talking about exists on a deeper level than just the rational one. It’s like the certainty that you’re not going to chew on rocks or drive your car into a brick wall. You don’t just rationally know that these things are unpleasant and harmful—you’re so certain that these things are not options for you that the possibility doesn’t even cross your mind. And if it does cross your mind as zany thoughts sometimes do, you just chuckle at how ridiculous that thought was and go on about your day.

Wouldn’t it be great if it was as easy to not use porn as it is to not eat rocks? Once upon a time, it was that easy. Before you knew what porn was or had seen it for the first time, you didn’t have to fight off urges to seek it out. You were just living your life. It can be that way again, and REMOJO is here to help you get there.

What now?

If you put these hacks to use, you’ll 10x your chances of overcoming any challenge that comes your way. This isn’t the final chapter on willpower, however. Audio courses in the REMOJO app like Foundations and Building An Amazing Pornfree Life will go way more in-depth with empowering guidance and tips. Start the free trial today to free your mind and get your vitality back!

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