“How do I know where I stand in my reboot?”
I get this question often from men in the Porn Reboot program. They’re men who read this blog, watch my videos on YouTube, listen to our podcast, or receive our email newsletter. It’s not that they haven’t made progress; I speak with men in all different stages of their lives. But they have a hard time figuring out where they’re at with their reboot in general?
Sometimes they’re in another form of therapy or participating in a 12-step group. They might follow multiple modalities and get lost in the messages they hear from all these different avenues. These men are making progress but seem to lack a wider perspective or view of the bigger picture.
Are you struggling with this, too? I want to break down the process of addiction to reboot in three steps. Before I go any further, though, I want you to realize this is a very simplified version of the process. It’s going to make things seem easier than they actually are.
There is a ton of work to be done when you zoom into each step and I’m going to dive into deeper detail here on the blog over the next few days. Before we get into the details, though, I want to give you a birds’-eye view of the process. It helps to know where you’re at when you start feeling lost along the way.
This breakdown should give you a straightforward set of benchmarks to measure your reboot progress. In the Porn Reboot program we start off first with your habits, then we work on your lifestyle, and finally we address your self-image.
We’re going to start by building great habits. First, you’ll look at your existing habits and consider how you’re handling things right now. What does your environment look like? How are the boundaries you have in place? Which coping skills do you use to manage your emotions? What kind of accountability do you have?
You’re not going to progress very far with the bad habits you’ve spent years building. We’re going to wipe out your old ones and build a new foundation based on productive habits. A strong foundation makes the difference between getting stuck in a cycle of slips and finally gaining control of your out-of-control behavior.
These aren’t only habits surrounding your porn addiction or sexual behavior, either. The habits we’re going to look at are things like the foods you eat and how much exercise you get. We’ll address your sleeping patterns and daily routine. Building consistent healthy habits creates a sense of discipline and regimen that’s necessary for long-term recovery from your behaviors.
Once you have your habits in place, we move into working on your lifestyle. Your lifestyle includes the people you surround yourself with and the areas where you spend your time. The people and places in your environment play a significant role in the way you behave. If you’re struggling with an out-of-control behavior, that means you need to fix some part of your lifestyle.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “You’re the sum of the five people closest to you.” Who are the five closest friends in your life right now? Are they people who share the same ideals and goals as you or are they pursuing a path you’re trying to step off of? What about the spaces you spend time in? Are these moving you closer to or further from your goals? Do they support your new habits or make them harder to adhere to?
If your friend group and environment aren’t conducive to your reboot, you need to make some changes. This is a challenging part of the process because oftentimes we become comfortable in our environment, even when it’s holding us back. But you have to let go of things that no longer serve you before you can move forward.
After your habits and lifestyle are in place, now we start addressing your self-image. Habits and lifestyle are external factors but self-image is when we move inward. This involves things like the way you see yourself, the beliefs you have about yourself, how capable you think you are, what you feel you deserve, and more.
Looking at our self-image pushes us to dig into the deepest parts of ourselves. Porn addiction and out-of-control sexual behavior can cause detrimental effects on our self-image. We can correct these misdirected beliefs but it doesn’t come without work.
The final stage of your reboot progress involves this self-image work. This isn’t a one-and-done thing, either; self-image work is an ongoing process. You build self-esteem through esteemable acts. The longer you stick to your habits and adhere to your healthy lifestyle, the stronger your new sense of self becomes.
Where Are You At?
Identify which of the above aspects you’re working on to measure your reboot progress. If you’re still adjusting your habits, you’re at the start of the process. Once you’ve moved into the lifestyle portion you’re beginning to make some real headway. As you arrive at the self-image portion, you’re now digging into the deeper parts of your reboot.
Remember – your reboot isn’t a race. Measuring your progress isn’t a way to get ahead of schedule. It also doesn’t mean you’re failing at the process, either. You must be patient with the system and allow yourself to move through the stages at your own pace. There’s no wrong way to reboot; as long as you’re continuing forward to gain control, you’re doing right by yourself.