Another compelling way to strengthen and maintain your motivation to quit porn is to be honest with yourself about how using porn prevents you from living up to your core values and beliefs and meeting your life goals. We know from our counseling work that former porn users are well on their way out of the porn trap when they start saying things like: “Porn is absolutely incompatible with what I really want in life,” “It’s come down to a choice, and I choose to quit porn,” and “It’s impossible for me to be the kind of person I want to be and still be using porn.”

In order to recognize the inherent incompatibility of porn with things that are important in your life, first take the time to identify what you really want out of life, what principles you believe in, what kind of contribution you want to make to your family and your community, and how you want others to think of you. One might think that everyone knows what matters most to them, but many regular porn users have been so preoccupied in the imaginary world of porn that they haven’t taken the time to get clear and stay focused on their important life goals and values. Those who got involved with porn at an early age may not have ever decided who they’d like to be and what they’d like to accom­plish.

Establishing and maintaining a connection with our own values is important for all of us. But, as a current or former porn user, clarifying your values can be an especially beneficial process for you. It not only can help illuminate the inconsistencies of who you are when you’ve been using porn and who you actually want to be, it can also highlight your own inner conflicts about your behavior. Additionally, connecting with your values can provide you a foundation for strengthening your com­mitment to your goal of quitting porn by giving you something positive and personally meaningful to move toward in your recovery.

There are many ways you can become more aware of and connected to the things that matter most to you in life. You can take time every day to think about your values and goals; read books on values, ethics, and goal-setting; and discuss what’s important to you in your life with a family member, counselor, or good friend. You can also become more consciously aware of what is important to you by doing the following writing exercise, “What Really Matters to Me.”