“How do I make a plan that will actually work?” Help for Me (2019)
“How do I make a plan that will actually work?” Help for Me
President M. Russell Ballard taught, “Some have difficulty differentiating between a goal and a plan until they learn that a goal is a destination or an end, while a plan is the route by which you get there” (“Return and Receive,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 62). Setting a goal to stop viewing pornography and repent of the effects requires careful planning. In this video, others share their unique perspectives on creating a plan.
The Savior, through the power of the Holy Ghost, will help us become aware of influences affecting us, identify triggers, and make plans. (Read “What influences are contributing to my pornography use?”) As we seek to better understand our motives and behaviors, we need to take into account things that influence us, such as our biological sex drive. Other influences might include things like childhood trauma, feeling distant from God, or certain friendships. We often aren’t readily aware of our influences, but seeking to identify them helps us in our efforts to change.
Triggers are things that encourage us to engage in pornography use. They can include music, movies, websites, or other prompts. As we learn to recognize our triggers, we should seek to avoid these unique stimuli whenever possible.
When we have identified triggers, we want to establish barriers between us and the triggers. For example, establishing a barrier might include putting our phone away at night to avoid reaching for it when we are feeling vulnerable. It could also include setting filters, blocking inappropriate images on social media, or reducing or eliminating contact with those who post or share sexual images or links via messages or social media.
Inspiration in creating a plan will come as we “study it out” and then humble ourselves before the Lord and seek His guidance (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8). Yet we should expect opposition in our efforts, and we will need to make regular adjustments to our plans. Often we learn and become stronger by experiencing setbacks and adjusting our plans. The key is to not give up on ourselves and our plans just because we have a slipup or things don’t go as we had hoped.
If we feel unsure about figuring out a plan that will work for us, we can ask for help, and the Lord will direct us to those who can help us plan and make adjustments.
As we refine our plans and address new insights we observe about ourselves, we can be assured that the power of the Savior, because of His Atonement, is available to us and can help us persevere despite continued imperfection.
Here are some ideas that others have found helpful. Prayerfully consider what actions might be best for you, taking into account that those actions may or may not be listed here.
Learn about your biological, psychological, social, and spiritual influences (Consider reading “What influences are contributing to my pornography use?”)
Study the examples of those in the scriptures who have overcome trials. What can you learn from them? Consider committing to following their examples.
Visit the Church’s How To YouTube channel and learn about self-help topics.
Seek out self-help books on topics that may be affecting you.
Consider consulting with family, friends, a support group, mental health professionals, medical professionals, and others who may be able to help.
Review the advice on seeking support from others found in Support Guide: Help for Spouses and Family of Those in Recovery (2017), 88–89.