These last two weeks got me learning a lot of things about myself – my limits, my strengths, my weaknesses, and more personal stuff that I failed to see before. Self-control was a concept that was lost to me, as I just kept saying yes to everything until it was all too much. But now I’m working hard again to get it back, and here’s how I’m doing it.
Self-control is one of those things that the more you use it, the more powerful it becomes. It’s not like time or energy that diminishes in value the more we use it, and so we have to be smart where we spend our time and energy. No, it ain’t like that. Instead, self-control could be more accurately compared to a muscle that we need to stretch regularly in order for it to get stronger. Muscles are weird things – they need to be torn apart so they can repair themselves, this time making themselves harder, stronger. That’s why they call body-builders “ripped”!
I remember before joining the Heirs of the Sun on reddit, I used to not give too much thought about self-control or willpower. You may be aware of an online movement called NoFap, well I joined the subreddit years ago when I was still in college. I used to think, no watching porn for 30 straight days? EZ.
But until now I haven’t beaten the NoFap Challenge. Why?
I think, and this is what I believe, that I focused too much on “not watching porn” that suppressing the habit made it more likely to pop up in my mind and therefore, harder to resist. This phenomenon is known as the ironic process theory and is a popular psychological trick nowadays. Also known as the white bear problem, one common example is saying, “I’m not gonna think of a white bear” but still thinking of the goddamn thing. Yes, psychology has some crazy shit.
So, now I’m back to kind of doing the NoFap Challenge, but not exactly. I’m abstaining from watching porn not just for the sake of beating the NoFap Challenge, but more importantly as a way to improve my overall way of life.
And what I’m doing differently this time is that I have an activity where I channel all my energy that I would’ve just wasted on watching porn. I now regularly practice drawing as a hobby! And it’s one of those things that at first might seem boring, but as I create something wonderful (well not that beautiful yet since I’m just starting) I regain a sense of self-esteem, I feel more confident in myself. And the best part? I don’t even have time to think of “not watching porn” because I’m actually dedicating my time to doing something awesome.
For me, that’s one of the best ways to regain some self-control. If you can’t stop yourself from doing something you’re addicted to, whether it’s pornography, video games, binge-eating, or staying up late online, look for some other activity that you really like where you shall dedicate the time and energy you would just waste on your addictions. And most importantly, you have to want to improve. When you found that thing that you really love doing, regaining self-control will not only be easy but also enjoyable.