The Foundational Five

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Our friends over at NoFap have some great, simple ideas to help in quitting porn. The team at NoFap are referring to these as The Foundational Five. We liked it and want to share it with you…

If you put in the time and effort to properly address just these five things, you will be well on your way to a successful recovery (often called a “reboot”) from porn addiction.

Number One: Getting enough sleep

Start prioritizing your sleep. Being under-slept can create of a chain reaction of negative consequences on your entire day.

  • You feel generally “bad” and “off.”
  • You can’t focus as well, which can lead to inadvertent porn use and slipping up on other goals which help you to stay away from pornography.
  • You aren’t capable of making the best decisions when you are experiencing urges to go back to old habits – you are more susceptible to slipping into your autopilot lifestyle instead of making choices to better yourself.
  • Having trouble falling asleep is one of the more popular rationalizations that people use to go back to using porn.

Research supports this too. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of a whole host of physical and psychological problems. These span from an increased risk of heart disease and hypertension, type two diabetes, obesity, mood changes, and anxiety.

Sleeping is our body’s natural way to restore itself, both physically and mentally. Start taking it seriously – strict bedtime schedules aren’t just for children. Addressing sleep will lay the groundwork to help you with the other 4 parts of the Foundational Five, along with every other area of your life.

Here are some tips to get started improving your sleep:
  • Start making sleep a priority. Try to simply “be aware” of how your sleeping habits can influence every area of your life. Ask yourself, “how are my sleep habits impacting my life?” Reflecting on this question can spur you to become more mindful in this area of your life. Read articles or books about sleep. The more your learn about it, the more seriously you’ll take it.
  • Add “sleeping” to your daily schedule. Block out the time in your calendar. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and give yourself enough time to sleep.
  • Stop bringing electronic devices into bed with you. Not only will this help you avoid using pornography in bed, it also might help you to sleep better. Some people even recommend leaving electronics in another room completely.
  • Block out enough time to relax before bedtime. Stop using electronic media within an hour of your bedtime. Alternatively, try reading a book or just having some quiet time before bed. It’s easier said than done, but if you’re not used to it, try to read for even just 10 minutes before bed and see how you feel.

Stop using electronic media immediately after waking up. Take some time to go through a solid morning routine that doesn’t include checking news and social media apps.

Number Two: Eating well

Fuel your body and mind with “the right stuff.” These things can happen if you start paying attention to what you eat:

  • Learning to prepare nutritious meals is a positive and healthy activity to fill your time with, which can replace time used for mindless indulgences in pornography and escape behaviors.
  • Switching from an unhealthy, sugary, fatty, high calorie diet more towards a whole diet will help to improve your self esteem, since proper eating is an act of self-care that helps you feel and look healthier and better.
  • You might better connect yourself with your basic human needs, spuring you to greater awareness about how your daily actions impact your long-term life and short-term happiness and energy levels.
  • You will increase your body awareness, which is also important in pornography addiction recovery. You will learn to listen to your body when it tells you that it is hungry and thirsty and maybe even what nutrients it needs.
  • You’ll be better focused, more energetic, and best-equipped to tackle your sexual health goals – or any other goals that you have.
  • You might gain self discipline and a sense of responsibility, which will make you better equipped for life, your career, and parenthood.
To get started:
  • Some people, especially people who have never tried to eat healthily before, might benefit from simply adding in a healthy food every day. Simply saying “I will eat a vegetable” might be the small step that you need to revamp your entire diet.
  • Attend local events or online groups to help motivate you to reach your diet goals. Even NoFap has a large number of users who are interested in revamping their diets.
  • You can start simple with meal prep. While in the beginning the variety in your food options might decrease, try learning to prepare a few “default healthy meals” that are quick and easy to cook.
  • Check out online menu websites and tools for ideas.
  • Buy in bulk if you can and keep things simple. Eating well does not need to be expensive. Check out local farmers markets to find decent prices on fruits and veggies.
  • If you are in a household with others, such as your family, partner, or roommates, encourage them to get involved too. Collaborating will not only reduce the amount of time that you have to spend alone, it can help you bond with your household by motivating each other and working together on a common goal.

Journal about your diet progress in your rebooting/retention journal at NoFap. It isn’t just for your sexual health goals, it’s also for any other goals you are pursuing as well.

Number Three: Moving

Some people have careers where physical movement is part of the job – and that’s great. You might not need to address this. But for the rest of us, we have sedentary or near-sedentary lifestyles that involve working at a desk (or sitting at school, for younger rebooters) and not moving, then going home to relax by binge watching media, playing video games, watching porn, and otherwise not moving. We get so exhausted from sitting all day that all we feel like we have the energy to do is sit some more when we get home.

This is becoming increasingly prevalent as more and more sedentary entertainment options become available.

Take a stand for yourself.. and your health.

Not everybody likes going to the gym. But we’re all humans and humans were born to move, not to sit around all day with a completely sedentary lifestyle without ever experiencing the world beyond our obligations and then our computer-rooms/couches.

Your excuses are probably just those, excuses. Even the least physically abled of us can often get some movement inserted into their day. Even completely paralyzed people can benefit from assistance in getting some fresh air and having a change of scenery.

  • You should start small. Don’t start off with a 10-mile run, but instead, try going for a short walk. You’ll probably feel better after just a 10-minute walk, and the better you feel, the more energy and motivation you will gain to pursue even more fitness goals. The free Couch to 5k plan is a great option if running longer distances is a goal of yours.
  • You don’t need to go to the gym to get “lifting” exercises in. There is an avid online bodyweight exercise following – which usually requires zero equipment – just your time and effort. You can later add in weights if you feel like that’s the best progression for you.
  • Log your fitness / movement progress in your journal, or using a tracking app such as MyFitnessPal™.
  • If you have some cash to spare, consider a desk elliptical or a treadmill desk while you are using the computer. You can get some exercise in while doing web-based tasks – and it also makes it less likely that you’ll want to PMO. If these aren’t an option, try out some chair exercises instead. Or just stand up while using your phone.

While working or gaming or whatever, take a break every hour to move around a bit, go for a walk, do some body-weight exercises, etc.

Number Four: Media Awareness

Be aware of the type of media that you are consuming. Of course this includes porn, but also other things that might have led you back to pornography in the past.

  • Think about what has led you to porn relapses (or resets). Which websites were you browsing? How did you get there? Try to avoid the same pattern in the future.
  • Install a blocker to prevent auto-piloting. A blocker is not the only solution to quitting pornography – you have to be the primary porn blocker. These are intended for you to not accidentally or inadvertently go to a site, but there are always workarounds.
  • Consider installing an ad-blocker and adding arousing ad-networks to the black list. Some ad networks, such as Revcontent, are removing pornography – and it is good to support the sites that you frequent by white-listing them.
  • Consider taking a break from Instagram or other social media websites through the duration of your active reboot/recovery from addiction.
  • Clean up your following-list. Keep your Facebook friends list to friends and family and unfollow industry performers or people who post sexually arousing content.
  • Consider culling down your follow-list to those you truly gain value from, not mindless memes and time-filling nonsense, but thought-provoking content, humorous content, and things that genuinely make you feel better to watch/read
  • Consider taking a break from social media and deactivate your profiles – instead putting that time into calling and spending in-person time with friends and family members. It is far more personal and fulfilling.
  • One member of NoFap’s team disables images and videos completely while browsing the Internet. There’s usually an option for this in your web browser settings.
  • Write down a to-do list before using the computer and stick to it.
  • Take a break from shows and movies that feature sexual content for your reboot. Maybe you’ll return to them afterwards, maybe not, it’s up to you. But it’s a good idea to avoid them while you’re “rewiring” your brain.
  • Consider cutting down on screen time in general and putting that time and energy into offline activities.

Consider going on a “media fast” for a day, putting your phone and computer elsewhere for an entire day without checking on anything, and seeing how it impacts your life. Some people regularly take a break from media, such as one day every week without.

Number Five: Actioning

It is hard to quit using pornography if you are always thinking about using pornography. While we are happy that many people use our website quite often, in a way it might actually be counter productive. (especially if you’re on it ALL day)

Quitting is challenging if your life revolves around quitting. You have to pursue other things too.

Instead of dwelling on not doing something (your negative tendencies) open your eyes to a new way of life and really see and engage with the people and experiences that are out there for you to enjoy.

Here are some ideas. Take them or leave them:

  • Take this opportunity to further action the other 4 parts of the Foundational Five. Try a new meal, a new exercise routine, etc.
  • Pick up a new hobby, or cultivate an old one.
  • Be open to new experiences and consider saying “yes” more often to invitations.
  • If you have no idea what to do with your newly found free time, try asking yourself “if I could do anything I want without financial, time, or any other limitations, what would it be?” This might give you an idea of things to work towards.
  • Write down a list of things on a piece of paper that you have been thinking about doing or trying (whether it be chatting with someone you want to get to know better at work or school, signing up for that that night creative writing class at the local college, or even traveling) and keep it with you for inspiration.

Now is the perfect time to put more energy into spending time with friends and family. Social connections will help keep you grounded in your journey.

Notice how all of these complement each other. Addressing one of the Foundational Five helps you to address the other four. And addressing all of them, or any of them, helps you to sustainable address porn consumption in your life. And if you can hit all of them, you should be well on your way to living a porn-free life.

Featured user story

“As the days kept going, I felt closer and more connected with everyone around me. I felt more in tune with society in general. I was more aware of my defects, but excited about improving myself. I stopped identifying myself with the “porn addict’ secret label that I always carried and this was very liberating. I was just like everybody else and had the same chances to improve and have a good, valuable life. The porn issue was already dealt with, now it was the time to improve on everything else.

I really felt like my mind was clear, without preconceptions, without extreme objectives, I was here to enjoy life and live it passionately. I did everything with as much enthusiasm and effort as I could. Study, work, friends, body. No pressure to achieve, just the idea of enjoying each thing and making the most of it.”

Click here to read this full user story on the NoFap forum.

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