NoFap Lifestyle Change (A 7-Step Guide To Change Your Life)

NoFap Lifestyle Change

If you been reading anything about NoFap so far, you have probably come across the advice that you need to change your lifestyle if you want to do well at NoFap.

Either “change your lifestyle” or “clean up your lifestyle”.

Well, I'm here to tell you that advice is spot on.

In this article I'm going to share 7 steps, or things for you to consider and implement, if you feel that your life is not going anywhere.

I recommend you bookmark this page so that you can come back to it for guidance and moral support as you trudge forward on your journey towards a NoFap lifestyle change.

If your life's a mess you'll have a very hard time…

It's very difficult to quit fapping to porn if your life's a mess, as the desire to escape into the never-ending novelty online is then going to be almost irresistible.

I hate to break it t you, but the fact is most guys who have a messy lifestyle never manage to build really long NoFap streaks either. Sure they might be able to make it once or twice. But the general pattern is then going to be having shorter streaks with some really nasty relapses in between.

What characterizes a messy lifestyle?

Well, for example…

  • Eating too much unhealthy food…
  • Too much sitting – while doing little to no physical exercise…
  • Smoking, drinking or doing other drugs…
  • Lack of goals or direction in life…
  • Not having anything productive that you're working on…
  • Too much video games, social media, internet, Netflix…
  • Too much chasing instant gratifications in general…

Generally speaking, if most of your enjoyment comes from instant pleasures and you have almost no activities you do that can bring you that sense of pride and happiness, then long term, you're in trouble.

Note that I'm not saying that you can't use instant gratification stuff in moderation, because you certainly can. I'm saying, if that is your ONLY source of joy, then you're not gonna do well on NoFap, or in life in general.

You need to have something sustainable that you keep working on. Something giving you a sense of pride and meaning.

Just knowing what NOT to do isn't very helpful…

The advice “clean up your life” can indeed be a bit annoying to hear since YouTubers, or whomever other well meaning person gave it, almost never tell you just exactly how to clean up your life.

So, let's take a look at a few things for you to consider.

Again, I recommend you bookmark this page because it'll be helpful for you to come back to it and read it several times, as guidance.

How to change your lifestyle on NoFap…

While it would be great to be able to just snap our fingers, suddenly do a complete 180, and start living super clean the real world doesn't really work like that.

So changing everything overnight is not going to be realistic.

That would be in a perfect world, but most of us don't live in a perfect world. And no offence here, but I have to assume you don't either, because if you did,  you wouldn't be having problems with porn relapses.

Build it up gradually…

Instead what you want to do, is to build it up.

Take your eating for example. If you can't ditch all your ‘junky' comfort food at once, then try going the first half of the day eating super clean, and save the lower value food until after you're done working for the day.

Then you could, slowly but surely, start improving on that until you have just one unhealthy meal every other day…

…or something like that.

And here's the deal…

In my opinion it's actually ok to leave it at that and not even try to improve it further. Unless you're competing in some high performance sport or fitness program, of course.

Don't make your schedule a tyrant…

The reason for why I believe it's ok to leave your eating at only 85% clean, instead of aiming for 100% perfection, is because we're talking about a lifestyle change here.

That's right. A lifestyle change…

…not a 30 day challenge!

In other words, you want to set your days up in a way so that you still have some pleasure and things to look forward to. A life built only on chores and work may be impressive to behold, but for most people that's not something we would want.

Even though your dopamine system will adjust and things like socializing, reading and working on your goals will become more enjoyable, it's a rare person who don't need any form of instant gratification activities in his life whatsoever.

Take long term sustainability into account…

So when you set your lifestyle goals, set them in a way that take long term sustainability into consideration.

This goes for everything on the page here, of course, and not just your diet.

Especially if you're used to being super lazy, then it's all the more important to take the ‘building approach', rather than the ‘pedal to the metal' approach.

#1 Your diet and eating habits…

So what would good eating habits look like?

Well, in general you want to eat as few processed food items as possible and instead go for whole food items.

I won't start recommending a specific diet here e.g. keto, vegan, paleo etc, because what works for one might not be suitable for another. However, no matter what diet you're on -and you don't even need to follow a specific diet per se- you can't go wrong with choosing whole foods over processed foods. In fact, that is what you should be aiming for.

When in doubt, just ask yourself the following question “would my great great grandmother recognize this item?” If it's a micro oven pizza, a Coca-Cola and a snickers bar, the answer is obviously “no”.

Avoid refined sugar and vegetable oils…

You want to do your best to avoid refined sugar and vegetable oils. The sugar will mess with your blood sugar and insulin and it'll also significantly increase your risk of relapse (the spike and crash in both blood sugar and dopamine levels seriously mess with our self control) and the vegetable oils are very inflammatory.

Try to consume as little as possible of those. And if you do, save them for when you have your small treats at the end of the day, a couple of times a week.

Cleaning up your food will undoubtedly help your NoFap journey – There's no way it can't…

Cleaning up your eating like this is one of the best things you can do for your NoFap journey.

What you eat affects your whole system, especially your brain. And guess which organ is going to determine whether or not you should open up your favorite porn site tonight?…

….that's right, that's your brain at work right there, and not your penis, believe it or not.

Your eating pattern turns into one of the most robust ‘keystone habits' you can think of…

In addition, your eating habits tend to cause ripple effects into other habits in your life. It's very common to see people who have messy eating habits to also be bad at cleaning their house, show up to a appointments on time or stick to their exercise routine. Of course you can find a lot of exceptions to that, but in general it tends to hold true.

This is because clean eating is a keystone habit. Meaning, a cascade of effects will follow.

Example…

  • Clean eating causes better sleep…
  • Better sleep causes better mood and more self control…
  • A better mood and more self control will help with avoiding relapses (self control, obviously,  and a better mood causes less need for escapism – where you want to escape into porn etc…)
  • Good eating habits will also improve your health and the way you look…
  • Both your health and the way you look affect your self esteem…
  • Self esteem is highly involved in how much anxiety or social fear you have…
  • Anxiety often causes addictions — so does low self-esteem…
  • …and on and on….

Obviously there are a lot more causes and effects, as that was merely a very short example, but you get my point. A keystone habit is something that automatically ripples into many areas of your life. So much so that you aren't even aware of all the good ripple effects they are creating.

Action step…

Start improving your diet today and keep making it better and better over the course of the following three weeks, until you can honestly say you're now eating a diet that is at least 85% clean.

It is one of the best things you can do for your NoFap journey, and for your life in general as well.

#2 Goals, ambitions and meaning…

Obviously I can't give you a specific goal that you should be working on during your NoFap journey. That would be kind os silly, given we all have different lives with different values and interests.

However, I still want to include this point because it's important for you to understand that you need to have something that you're working on in your day to day life.

Something that YOU make important.

It's absolutely crucial because…

You can't just build a life around what you shouldn't be doing. I.e. not fap to porn, not eat junk food, etc. You also need a positive vision for you to move towards.

Don't freak about the bigness of it…

A lot of people freak out when they hear things like, purpose, calling or grand life mission. So much so that they get performance anxiety due to the bigness of it. As a result they may feel so overwhelmed that they fail to even think about what their vision could potentially look like.

Don't let that be you!

Here's the deal…

It can feel like everyone else know what they should be doing with 100% certainty, but this is not the case. Not even YouTube self-help gurus have it all figured out. So when they talk about “a burning desire” or “your grandios life purpose”, just know that most people actually just start doing something. Something that they find somewhat interesting, and then the meaning will follow later on.

I.e. they grow into it.

Even if you don't find anything that interests you, you should still be doing something. If this is you, just start doing something that you hate the least.

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Once you've been going at if for a while, it may start to grow on you. If it doesn't then maybe you'll find something similar a bit related, or then it just wasn't for you, and so you'll start looking for something else. Which ever it is, it's ok.  The rule is, get to work and don't stand still. Create your meaning out of something.

As the old Chinese saying goes, Never fear walking slowly, only fear standing still!

Action step…

Take this week to figure out a life vision. Then set a few goals that line up nicely with that vision. Keep in mind that you don't need to feel that ‘burning desire' in order to get going. Heck, you can even feel a complete lack of drive and still get to it.

If you can't find anything that interests you here are a couple of things you can use as a guide…

  1. Think back to when you were 12-16 years old -what did you like to do? (that's a clue)
  2. What subjects did you like in school -where did you get the highest grades? (another clue)

If it sounds interesting, great. If not, still pick something.

Remember, oftentimes the the motivation and drive follows after we've started working, growing and improving on something. Also, keep in mind that if the brain is very desensitized by all the fapping to porn, it can be hard to experience drive, motivation and feelings of excitement. However, the further away from porn you get, the more likely it'll be for you to become fueled by positive emotions. Don't sit around and wait for motivation.

#3 Your mental health…

Your mental health is also something you should make sure to take care of. It is always important, but even more so when you are doing a PMO reboot.

Obviously this is something that isn't fixed with the snap of a finger, but you can start working on it right away. And the truth is, most people will notice improvements pretty quickly. Some within just a week or two.

A) Your sleeping habits…

Your sleep hygiene is the first thing to focus on here. It is absolutely crucial for your overall mental health.

If you're up late at night, partying, playing video games, watching Netflix, then you know what to do…

…make a habit out of going to bed earlier, and preferably at the exact same time every night.

Operation blackout…

Also, turn off all screens at least two hours before bedtime!

I personally call this period of time “operation blackout”, and it is something I do most days of the week.

I often go operation blackout 2,3,4, sometimes even up to 5 hours prior to my bedtime. Unhooking from the modern world's stimuli like this is one of the best things you can do for your brain and mental health. It'll also give you a deeper, more qualitative, sleep.

Screens mess with your dopamine production – even if you're not looking at porn!

Looking at screens late at night will mess with your sleep quality. Even if you're not looking at porn, social media or other stimulating stuff (of course, if you're looking a porn or other stimulating things at night, it's even worse).

There are studies made showing how viewing lights after 10pm disrupts your dopamine production for the following day, sometimes up to a couple of days after.

Action step…

  • Try to go to bed at the exact same time every night.
  • Keep your bedroom cool and never take your phone to bed.
    (Unless you have it on airplane mode and only use it as an alarm clock).
  • Turn off all your screens at least two hours before you're supposed to fall asleep.
    (This may sound scary if you're not used to it, but trust me, it'll pay huge dividends when it comes to your long term mental health).

If you implement operation blackout, you will find that your sleep quality drastically improves. You will fall asleep easier and your sleep will be much deeper. It'll also reduce your risk of relapses, since it eliminates aimless internet browsing during the most dangerous period; the last few hours of the day – when your tired and your willpower reserves are running low.

B) Meditation

If you're not already doing some form of mediation, I recommend you start as soon as possible. Mediation is something that is almost guaranteed to improve your overall mental health.

I personally view mediation as gym training -not for my biceps- but for my brain.

It will take a bit of time before you start seeing results, but trust me, they will come.

And by results I mean…

  • You develop the ability to detach yourself from your mind…
  • This leads to a lower baseline level of stress and anxiety and a higher baseline level of happiness…
  • Mediation also increases dopamine, in a healthy way…

Action step…

Commit to yourself to set aside 10-30 minutes a day for meditation.

If you haven't meditated before, then just start with 10 minutes a day and build from there. I recommend you slowly build it up to you being able to do a 30 minute session once or twice a day.

If you like, you can keep it a 10 minutes a day, as even that has been shown to be beneficial for mental health, but 30 minutes will be even more beneficial. And twice a day will be superb.

If you have no idea of how to meditate, I recommend you download the app “Medito” and take it from there. It's a free app that I use myself and I am not sponsored by them.

C) Journaling

I think most of you recognize yourself when I say; it's often difficult to get a grip on your thoughts as they are so fast and tend to spin around, often very unstructured and sometimes without seemingly any backbone of logic.

Journaling is like thinking on paper, only; you have to organize your thoughts in order to get them down in writing. So, because of its structured nature, writing then becomes like thinking on steroids.  This too is something that is proved to help with your overall mental health.

What to write?

Almost anything goes…

  • Your thoughts…
  • Goals…
  • Feelings…
  • Daily action plans…
  • Insecurities…
  • Relapse dangers…
  • Worries…

…etc. etc.

The strange thing here is that it actually doesn't really matter that much what you write. I know that may sound like a cop out from me, and I'll make up for it in a moment, but it's actually true…

Just the act of writing down some of your thoughts will train your brain to be more structured in your thinking. You'll actually become better in your thinking process during the rest of the day as well, not just during writing.

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Now, obviously there are more or less effective ways to journal, that's not what I'm saying. But I wanted to give you a push to just start, armed with the knowledge that anything you write will actually be beneficial for your mental health.

As far as the ‘more or less effective ways' you do best if you look at journaling as a tool to help you achieve certain objectives, be it things like…

  • Helping you achieve your goals…
  • Coming to terms with your emotions…
  • Helping you avoid relapses…

As an example to the last one there; you could for example start your days by writing down why NoFap is important to you, and what you're going to do if you run into urges later that day. By going it through in advance like that it'll be so much easier to actually stay clean in the heat of the moment. It's like a fire-drill, preparing you for what to do if it happens for real.

Action step…

Just start writing something down on a paper.

As an example I can give you my current journaling protocol…

A) Before I go to bed I write down tomorrows objectives. Not only does this help me organize my day, but research has found that intention wins over motivation. I.e. just the act of writing down what you intend to do makes it more likely that you'll actually do it and follow through.

B) Every single morning I write down what goals I want to achieve (these are not the same as the daily tasks, but more long term goals). I also write down my what my values are, as a short reminder for myself to live the day in accordance to those. Finally, I write down 3 things I'm grateful for. Several studies show how this is helpful when it comes to combating depression as well as developing a more positive outlook on life in general.

The left side of my notebook are reserved for  “A” and “B” and the right side is for anything I randomly feel like jotting down.

Just the act of writing down what you intend to do the following day makes it more likely that you'll actually do it.

#4 Your free time and leisure activities…

Some of you may feel an inclination to skip this part, but I would urge you against doing so because there are a few important things to consider here. For some reason ‘middle ground' seem to be a hard notion to grasp for a lot of young men out there today.

By this I mean; people either have a life that is way too messy, or then they go to the other extreme and create a NoFap life style that only consists of self-improvement stuff.

Both are bad.

Well, the 100% self-improvement route is a bit better, but the problem there is, again, that it is not sustainable. People going that route tend to crash and burn…

…sooner rather than later.

This ‘error' of going too hardcore with self-improvement stuff is particularly noticeable after guys have had a nasty relapse, as they then tend to overcompensate by thinking something along the line of;  I'm going to make my next streak, bigger, better and absolutely perfect. 

You need some fun as well…

Sure, building on your life vision and working on your goals is going to be fun at times, especially when you start noticing progress and the reboot is starting to reverse your desensitized reward system. But to be honest, that will far from always be the case.

There will be days when it's going to take a lot of effort and when the word “fun” is going to be the least appropriate word for describing your current struggle that day. It's better that you think of your life vision more like your mission. Something that you keep on doing regardless of your having a bad day or not.

This is why you also need to have a couple of hobbies that can bring you a bit of relaxation, entertainment and, you guessed it…

…fun!

Action step…

Decide on two to three activities that you normally like doing and put them into your schedule.

When the time comes for engaging in them, do NOT skip them for the sake of work, thinking you're doing yourself any favors in the long run. Just as long as you are following your schedule, engage in them guilt free. Doing so will ensure you're not only having fun, but are actually recharging your batteries so that you can keep your life mission going with energy and vigour…

…or at least, without burning out!

Some examples of what I personally enjoy doing as recreation…

  • Play in a band
  • Go hiking
  • Play disc golf
  • Watch a good comedy or documentary
  • Bowling
  • Playing cards

#5 Physical exercise…

Just like eating habits and NoFap itself, physical exercise is a keystone habit that causes positive ripple effects into other areas of your life.

Physical exercise is crucial for your NoFap journey…

…it is non negotiable!

The only exception is if you have a job that is physically demanding, where you're using your body most of the day.

What kind of exercise should you be doing?

The next obvious question I get when I tell guys this is; well what kind of exercise should I be doing? What kind of exercise is best for rebooting?

In terms of resetting your dopamine system, i.e. upregulating your dopamine D2 receptors, studies point towards anaerobic exercise to be the most effective. Things like sprints, running up and down a hill, or high rep squats etc.

But here's the deal…

The best kind of exercise for YOU is the one you'll actually keep doing. Choose something that you can see yourself sticking to in the long run.

Even if slow cardio were to upregulate your dopamine receptors 45% slower than what anaerobic exercise does (this is just an example, I have no idea about the actual numbers) in the big scheme of things, who cares? You'll get there soon enough, and once again, it is also a matter of being able to maintain it.

Action step…

Just find something you like to do and stick to it.

Sometimes we miss a workout, that's fine, but make a rule for yourself to “never miss twice”. Otherwise that second missed time becomes the beginning of a new habit…

…the habit of you being a slacker and missing workouts.

I personally like to have strong muscles so I prioritize lifting weights. I do make sure to get some cardio in as well, but honestly if I had to chose only one, I'd go with the gym. But that's just me. Again, find something you like to do and then stick with it through think and thin.

Highly related post: 7 Reasons You’re Not Feeling Benefits Of NoFap

#6 Your internet and social media use…

I'm not going to sugarcoat it; today's high stimulating world is not something that's easy to navigate. A lot of people develop not just a porn addiction, but an addiction to internet itself.

Social media platforms are literally constructed in a way that they make you hooked by taking advantage of your primitive dopamine system. This, of course, to make you spend more and more time on there, in order for them to make more money of you.

Ever wondered how social media platforms make so much money without them having anything to sell? Well, they actually do have something to sell: You!  They are selling your attention to advertiser from all around the world. You are the product!

Now, I don't know about you, but I personally don't like to be “a product”.

Your productivity, mood and dopamine system suffers…

Not only are you the product, but your dopamine system and your productivity suffers as well.

Obviously some guys are more addicted than others, and for sure it affects people differently, but in general it's not an overstatement to say that most people are spending way too much time on social media today.

In fact, so much so that the neuroscientist professor Andrew Huberman has frequently said that success among today's young individuals is to a large extent going to be dictated by how well they learn to navigate around all the modern world's distractions.

How much social media is too much?

The less the better, but hold on a second here…

I do want to let you know that you don't need to aim for zero social media use. Again, like I mentioned previously, perfection can be a very destructive thing to aim for, and most often, moderation is good enough.

As a general rule, I would say that 2 hours or less is a daily limit worthy of striving for.

This amount is not something I just pulled out of a hat, but according to professor Huberman, it is when exceeding this amount that we can start developing things like social media induced AHDH etc. Which, by the way, is tied to your dopamine system. And remember, things like low motivation, anxiety and depression are all also, strongly, associated with a disrupted dopamine system.

Action step…

Obviously, setting rules for yourself and then following them is one way to go about this. But honestly, that is not an easy thing to do especially if you work with a computer and you can't physically remove yourself from the temptations.

The same goes with today's smartphones. Most of us want to be available for our loved ones 24/7 and then the temptation to get lost in the endless world of social media also becomes an issue.

Using blockers to create a system…

I personally use a software called ‘Freedom' on my desktop and an app called ‘Lock me out' on my android, in order to help me manage distractions (not sponsored by any of them). These are excellent apps that you can modify to your liking.

Bonus tip: By the way, as you probably know, if you're skilled with computers, every porn blocker out there can be circumvented. Well, you could for example use one of the above mentioned apps to block your access to the porn blocking software during 23 hours of the day (leaving 1 hour open, preferably in the morning, for important changes you actually may need to make). That way you can't access the settings to somehow get around them in order for you to access some dirty website. You then only need to stay strong for one hour a day.

If interested in a good porn blocker, you can read my Covenant Eyes review right here. It's one of the best porn blocker apps out there, for sure.

#7 Your social life…

Having a social life is also very important for your mental wellbeing and general health. It's is especially important if you want to overcome a porn addiction because many a porn relapse actually happen because of you're longing for connection. This is something Josh Hudson, talks a lot about in his excellent online course for overcoming porn addiction.

Now, here it's important to note that everyone is different, and not all of us are going to need a huge social circle. Some people do perfectly fine with just one or two really good friends and then having a few acquaintances on top of that for more “shallow” interactions. Also, family such as parents, siblings and cousins can very well be part of your social circle.

Action step…

It's good to be proactive. Try to be the person who takes initiative here and don't just wait for others to make it happen.

If you feel that your social life is not where you'd want it to be then why not go doing some research on Facebook and reach out to a couple of classmates form your school years, starting a conversation -with the intention in the back of your mind of perhaps having a meetup- and then take it from there.

If you're very socially anxious you may need to start small and build it up. Just becoming active on some online forum, where you comment and interaction with others can be a good first step.

What about romantic life? Is dating important?

For some people it is. However, there are lot's of people who feel completely content with just working on themselves and building their life vision. For more info on this, see the article, NoFap when single.

What it all boils down to is what you want to do.

If you're involuntarily celibate, that can take a toll on your mental health, but if you're choosing that route of your own accord, then that's perfectly fine.

Thanks for reading!

-Scandinavian Bob-

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