Handling Triggers

NoFap Chronicles on knowing your triggers and how to overcome them.


5/23/20235 min read

a toy gun with a santa hat on top of it
a toy gun with a santa hat on top of it

Triggers can be a sneaky bunch, lurking around every corner like mischievous gremlins.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from those obvious temptations like skimpy chicks on YouTube and ads, to the more inconspicuous culprits like your innocent-looking earphones, conspiring to engage your not-so-desirable behaviors (yes, PMO, I'm talking about you).

It's like triggers have their own secret society, infiltrating every nook and cranny of your life, especially if you've been in the habit for what feels like eons.

They can leave you in a hyper focused state, heart pounding like a wild beast, eyes darting around desperately searching for more forbidden fruit.

But fear not! I've discovered a devious plan to outsmart these triggers. It turns out they can lose their intensity if you play mind games with them regularly. It's like a battle of wits between you and your triggers, and you're determined to come out victorious.

Too Convenient For Own Good

Let me first entertain you with a tale of trigger transformation. Once upon a time, my laptop was the grand puppet master, pulling the strings of my desires.

But then, in a stroke of genius (or perhaps a momentary lapse of sanity), I decided to embrace the allure of portability and switched to my trusty phone.

Little did I know, I was descending into an even deeper rabbit hole of triggers. It's like I traded one trouble for another, thinking I was escaping, only to find myself in a trigger-laden labyrinth.

Now, even innocent objects like my wireless earphones became accomplices to my downfall. Every time I laid eyes on them, my heart would do a little salsa, and vivid images of past indulgences would flood my mind.

I found myself face-to-face with an unexpected trigger just yesterday, caught in a rather innocent act of trying to retrieve a previously closed tab from my browsing history.

Little did I know, this seemingly harmless task would unveil the notorious incognito mode, staring back at me with a mischievous wink.

Instant trigger alert! Like a floodgate of memories, it reminded me of the times when I would employ this very mode to indulge in my PMO sessions.

How To Deal With Triggers

So to minimize triggers, I have devised a cunning strategy to handle such situations. Inspired by the great James Clear and his book "Atomic Habits," I present to you my personal master plan.

When triggers like this happen, it was as if the past had resurfaced, whispering its seductive secrets into my ear.

But in that moment, I had a choice. I could succumb to the alluring call of the trigger, allowing it to drag me back into old patterns, or I could stand tall, resolute in my commitment to change.

Taking a deep breath, I acknowledged the surge of emotions coursing through me. I thanked my brain for reminding me of the desires it once craved, but I also reminded it of the newfound knowledge we possessed.

The understanding that instant gratification, fueled by dopamine without effort, is a hollow pursuit—one that only leads to addiction, emptiness, and destruction.

In that moment, I broke free from the chains of association. I consciously chose to disassociate incognito mode from its former purpose.

I transformed it into a reminder of my growth, a symbol of the power I now hold to make healthier choices. With each passing second, I gently eased the grip of the trigger, replacing its allure with a renewed sense of determination.

Triggers may surprise us, even when we least expect them. But it is in those unexpected moments that our true strength is tested. We have the power to rewrite our story, to break free from the shackles of our past.

So, the next time a trigger appears before you, remember that you are not defined by your triggers. You are defined by your choices and the resilience with which you face them.

Of course, relying solely on our willpower can be a risky game, akin to playing with fire. Willpower, much like a muscle, requires time and consistent effort to develop and strengthen. However, we must also acknowledge that our willpower has its limits, especially after a long and demanding day. It's during these moments that decision fatigue can rear its head, causing our willpower to dwindle and leave us running on fumes.

The truth is, expecting ourselves to summon endless reserves of willpower at all times is an unrealistic expectation.

We are human, after all, with finite energy and cognitive resources. Recognizing the existence of decision fatigue can be a game-changer in our journey of breaking free from triggers and old habits.

Instead of solely relying on willpower, we can employ strategic tactics and systems to support our desired behaviors.

By setting up our environment and routines to align with our goals, we can alleviate the burden on our willpower and make positive choices the default option.

Choosing Your Response

Identify Triggers

First, we must identify the triggers lurking in the shadows.

  • Ladies in revealing attire (whether real or anime characters) seem to be omnipresent on YouTube, defying the laws of search algorithms.

  • Infamous toilet-phone combo, a deadly duo that must be kept apart.

  • And let's not forget the solo sessions with our trusted laptop or phone, where triggers can spring from the virtual depths. Incognito mode, the sneaky little devil, deserves a special mention, too.

Removing/Avoiding Triggers

  • Bring a book into the sacred sanctuary of the toilet, transforming it into a literary haven.

  • YouTube shall be banished from the sacred main screen, making way for wholesome podcasts to tickle my eardrums.

  • Behold, the app and website blocking software, my shield against the onslaught of temptations.

  • To thwart the triggers that lurk in solitude, I shall migrate my workspace to bustling public spaces and venture out into the world, reducing the chances of being caught in a one-on-one showdown with my desires.

Create New Routines

Let's embark on a journey of creating new routines that will make those triggers tremble in fear. See how they get replaced with new empowering ones.

  • In the pockets of time that life generously offers, I shall wield my mighty virtual pen and write.

  • No more wasted moments, for every spare second shall be filled with the wisdom of books and the enlightenment of podcasts. Farewell, fanfiction and comics of skimpy wearing women (see Marvel, DC or most Japanese comics), for now I embrace the literary feast.

  • Exercise daily without fail. Inspired to be like Lex Fridmen. He always makes sure he workout some part of his body.

  • Read one book a week.

Habit Stacking

  • Habit stacking is a powerful strategy that builds upon the concept of implementation intentions. It involves linking a new habit to an existing one, rather than associating it solely with a specific time and location.

  • Every morning, as I arise from my slumber, I shall hang from a pull-up bar for 30 seconds, bidding farewell to back tensions and bolstering my grip strength.

  • Once the morning rituals (wash up and toilet dutys) are complete, I shall sit in blissful meditation for 10 minutes, cultivating inner peace and fortifying my resolve.

  • Before sleep, my fingers shall dance upon the keys of the piano for a minimum of 10 minutes, a melody of triumph over temptation.

  • When dining alone, I shall unleash the literary world (book or podcast) upon my senses.

  • Once in bed, I shall offer gratitude to three things, embracing the power of appreciation. And from that place of gratitude, I shall embark on a 10-minute journey of NSDR.


I hope what I shared here can give you some personal examples of how you can come up with your own strategy for handling triggers.

Remember, my friend, that the power lies within you. Triggers may knock on your door, but you have the choice to deny them entry. Take a deep breath, summon your willpower, and let your determination shine.

Thank your brain for its signals, but kindly remind it of the destructive nature of unchecked dopamine. For the path to fulfillment lies in the pursuit of meaningful endeavors, not the hollow thrills of instant gratification.

Let's be better than yesterday.

With love.