MC: “Motivation matters more than method”

I read this article:  http://www.apa.org/education/ce/motivation-autonomy.pdf.  Actually, I just read the abstract, and then thumbed through the rest of it.  It makes a lot of sense to me.  There are plenty of ways to quit smoking. Some people succeed, regardless of the method.  Many people do not.  I tried many times to quit masturbating and using porn before D-day.  I failed again and again.  After D-day, I quit those things cold turkey, and have been clean for over three years.  What’s the common thread here?  Motivation.

Are you starting a diet and exercise program, for example, because you want to do so?  Really?  Or, is it because your spouse or physician said you should?  Is it because other people you know are doing it and you don’t want to feel excluded or look lame?  Is it because some gym owner or pitchman on television made a convincing case that you ought to do it?  If you’re doing it for any external reason, your odds of failure are pretty high.  Alternatively, if you’re just doing it because you yourself came up with the idea and you see how it will ultimately make you happier, you can succeed, almost irrespective of which diet and exercise plan (within reason) you choose.

Similarly, my quest for honesty and fidelity now is much easier than before D-day.  Before D-day, I occasionally thought about trying to overcome my self-pity.  But, I failed because I did not genuinely believe it was totally necessary.  I had ambivalence instead of motivation.  D-day brought the consequences of failure into the light.  I could no longer hide from those consequences.  As a result, I found my own internal motivation to succeed at honesty and fidelity, as well as staying off porn and masturbation.

I feel pretty good about my methods:  counseling, religious devotion, new habits regarding spouse and family, and continued study and reflection.  But, I don’t feel compelled to tell others in my position that my methods are the only ones that could help them.  With genuine motivation, the chances for success increase significantly.

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