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Life is full of challenges and in order to succeed we must embrace them. In this episode of “Sex Addictions and Porn Afflictions,” Craig Perra, certified professional coach and Founder of the “Mindful Habit System to End Compulsive Behavior, talks you through how to set realistic goals for your 6 major life areas.

Podcast Transcription

SETTING GOALS FOR 2017

Hello and Happy 2017 everybody! I am Craig Perra, and this is the Sex Afflictions and Porn Addictions, to help you do two things: to create healthy sexuality for you, as you define it, and number two, to create a great life. This is my goal for you, because these two things are so inexorably intertwined. They’re so interwoven.

I’m so glad that you’re here and truly, truly honored and privileged that you’re paying attention.

So 2017 just started. I’ll tell you about how my 2017 started, and I had plans. I’ve got so many incredibly exciting things going on. Number one, I continue to help men, women and couples profoundly change their lives in my one-on-one coaching. I’m also working on a book, and that’s moving forward. We’re also putting together the early pieces of a show; a TV show surrounding me and my coaching – which is beyond amazing. Who knows where this is going to go.

I’ve got some incredibly talented coaches who are working with me and helping people. We start our next training session for Mindful Habit Coaching Certification in the next 45 days. So many exciting things going on, and I was ready to take 2017 by storm.

I had a nice little break before Christmas. I took a little time off for the first time in a long time, and boom, I came down with pneumonia; like severe pneumonia. Two rounds of antibiotics. Knocked me on my butt, and all of those plans got put on the side. It was kind of depressing. I was pretty low; one, because I felt like absolute shit. I mean, I couldn’t breathe because of the antibiotics and because of the pneumonia. I can’t do my yoga. I’m so excited to do yoga. But, everything had to stop. I had to go back to basics, and I had to become selfish in that I had to prioritize me.

I had to prioritize me because I was sick and I had to get better. I accepted myself for where I was. I took the time that I needed, and I’m slowly, slowly, slowly starting to get my sea legs back. I’m glad to be back. In the spirit of entering 2017 and talking about how things don’t always go as planned, because that’s life. That’s a reality. Right?

The Buddhists of the Four Noble Truths say, life is suffering. Whoa, that’s kind of depressing, but it’s true. Life is hard. We live. We die. We get sick. We’re healthy. Those around us have challenges; challenges with work, challenges with health. Life is so hard, and it’s so important to embrace that reality because if you don’t, you’re surprised when it happens. I’m not surprised when it happens. I know good things are going to happen to me and I know there are bad things that are going to happen to me. I can only focus on me. I can only focus on what I can control.

So, today I want to talk about New Year’s resolutions and give you some tips on how to set some really intelligent goals going into 2017. Goals are so important. Just allow me to state the obvious for a second. You need to know where you’re headed.

I was recently reading an article that one of my clients brought to my attention. It talked about studies in the brain. It shows that we have a quarter of a second to react. So, for you guys who’ve been paying attention, we’ve talked a lot about the habit cycle, triggers, thoughts and action. We’ve talked about how those triggers are biologically hardwired and they’re not going away. So, you have to learn to use those triggers to create positive results.

Do everything that you can possibly do to increase the space in that quarter of a second so you don’t habitually react the way you’ve been reacting, in some cases for decades. That’s a reality. Your triggers are biologically hardwired. Your thoughts are the result of decades of programming.

Our major psychological belief systems, the lens through which we experience the world is wired in us by the time we’re 12 years old, and we all know what happens when that 12-year-old is driving the bus. So you’ve got to learn how to use your triggers to create space.

You’ve got to change your relationship with your thoughts and you have to set goals; Because when you have a clear vision of where and why you’re going in your six major life areas, you can look forward to success.  The six major life areas that I want to talk about today are: Career, finances, health, hobbies, relationships and spirituality, as you define it. Those are the six major life areas that we use in our program.

Here’s some other metrics that I want you to pay attention to as you go forward, and I call these next five things The Fundamental Five, because they are so important.

I have never had a client executing on these five areas come back to me and say, “Hey, I’m slipping.” I have had people come back to me and say, “Hey, I lost my way. I need some help. I need some guidance,” and we talk about their problems, and the first thing I ask them is, “how are you doing with your Fundamental Five: Eating, sleeping, drinking, hydrating, exercise and mindfulness?”

Why is this related to healthy sexuality? What does this have to do with your porn addiction, with your sex addiction? Everything. Because when you have goals and when you’re taking care of yourself, you are honoring the golden rule of behavior modification.

Does anybody know what that is? Say it with me. To break a habit, you have to make a habit. That means your success in not doing the thing, is a function of you doing something else.

Some of you are obsessively not doing the thing, not doing the thing, not doing the thing, not doing the thing and not doing anything about other areas in your life, and you, my friend, if you continue down that path you are destined to fail, because your success in not doing the thing is a function of you doing something else.

When you have goals, when you have a destination and you understand in a very acute, precise way, why you’re here, what your destiny is, where that fire inside you lies and how you’re going to honor that, that’s going to empower you to stay on track. Someone living a fulfilled life, someone living a life where they are honoring and respecting their mind, body and spirit with goals – is not sitting in their bathroom jerking off for hours a day. It doesn’t work like that. Nobody wants to waste their life away.

Here’s the other piece which I think highlights why goals are so important. Your porn addiction and your sex addiction is the symptom.  It’s always the symptom. It’s never the root cause.

Let me put that in perspective before I jump into some of the specific goal stuff that I want to talk about today. I have never worked with a client whose primary problem was sex addiction or porn addiction. I want you to think about that for a second. The sex and the porn is always the symptom. It is never ever the number one problem.

Let me throw a statistic at you just to put this in perspective because what I’m trying to do now is impress upon you how important it is to have a plan, to have goals, to honor and respect your mind, body and spirit.

On day one, 95% of my clients identify their number one problem as sex addiction and porn addiction. Think about that for a second. 95% of my one-on-one clients on day one, identify their number one problem as sex addiction and porn addiction.

By day 30, what percentage of men still identify or say their number one problem is sex addiction and porn addiction? What do you think? Throw a number out there. 50%? 75% What about even 25%. 25%, 50%? How many people still say on day 30 of our work together that sex and porn is their number one problem.

Guys, I’m working with some of the toughest of the tough cases. These are people who have acted out with prostitutes, massage parlors, had problems around fetishes, serious intimacy problems. They have an intimacy disorder so to speak.

The number of men at day 30 who identify as their sex and porn as being their number one problem is zero; nobody, nada, zilch. Not one single person because, they have learned something very powerful about themselves.

Number 1: By month-end they are able to see clearly how the sex and the porn, the out-of-control behavior, is the symptom of something deeper. What do you think that deeper is? What do you think that hold is? What do you think that root cause is?

It’s the same in every single client that I’ve worked with, and that’s the CEO, that’s the actor, that’s the lawyer, that’s the doctor, that’s the guy that works at the supermarket busting his ass for his family, the FedEx delivery driver, the teacher, same thing. Same thing. They all come to the same realization, and I want you to get there quicker.

The lack of love for self.

There is a part of themselves that just isn’t good enough. No matter what they do it just isn’t good enough, so they continue to fail and reinforce that belief system that in the overwhelming majority of cases, virtually all, I’m tempted to say, in every person, is a belief system rooted in their childhood.

So, if you want to numb, cope and escape, what’s the best way to do it? Drugs are good. I went down that road. That works. That will help you numb, cope and escape, but for you here, it pornography. It’s other forms of sexual compulsive behavior.  You feel insignificant.

But, when you have goals, when you are honoring your mind, body and spirit you become significant to you. You operationalize love for self. Let me say that again. Through the execution of goals and honoring your Fundamental Five; eating, sleeping, drinking, exercise, mindfulness, you are operationalizing love for self. You can say you love yourself as much as you want. That’s soft and that’s mushy. We’ll hug a tree. We’ll sing kumbaya. We love ourselves. That’s not what this is about.

There is a softer, deeper part of this lack of love for self and how it gets wired in us. But, what this is about is having direction, having a goal, having plans and being the best version of yourself, because your sex addiction and your porn addiction are symptoms, and it’s critical to counterbalance those biologically hardwired triggers, the decades of programming around those thoughts.

Pay attention to your thoughts. How often do you sexualize somebody? How often do you self-deprecate? Your major psychological belief system is wired in you by the time you’re 12 years old, and here we are, adults with that big hole we’re trying to fill with compulsive sexual behavior or drinking or gambling or whatever other self-destructive thing that you’re doing to yourself.

So, we need to operationalize, incorporate into the organization. You’re the organization. You’re the CEO of your enterprises. Insert your name. I’m the CEO of Craig Lyle Perra, Incorporated. And, when I started to think about my life from that perspective I was able to leverage some fundamental basic, basic business techniques to create a personal infrastructure that allowed me to counterbalance the biologically hardwired triggers, the decades of programming around the thoughts, the negative belief systems that still live in me.

They empower me to navigate the bumpy times; my pneumonia, feeling completely wiped, unable for a bunch of days to get out of bed, couldn’t breathe. I still have not slept lying down in over four weeks. Four weeks I sleep sitting up. When I do sleep, I sleep only a couple of hours a night. I’ll take a nap during the day. So, what keeps me on track?

The question I want you to ask yourself is what is your personal infrastructure? Many of you have jobs. Many of you have worked in business in some capacity. So, you understand the infrastructure is how things work. How do organizations continue to produce great high product quality, high level of customer service, achievement of profit goals, etc., etc.? They do it because their infrastructure is so solid. They’ve got a plan. They’ve got processes. They manage their risk proactively. They’re not a slave to the market. They’re not a slave to the whims of the economy. They have infrastructure, and you need personal infrastructure.

One way to do that is to have strategic goals. What are strategic goals? Strategic goals are goals that are higher in nature. The analogy that I like to use is that you are the captain of a ship and you choose, in your strategic planning, that you want the ship to sail from point A to point B. How you get from point A to point B, those are tactical goals. Those are the details; how you execute on that goal to bring you from point A to point B.

So, I really want you to consider starting this new year setting goals for yourself. Capitalize on the momentum of New Year’s resolutions and, listen, you’ve all seen the statistics. New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Well, I’m going to help you make them work.

I’m going to help you make them work by introducing a very, or revisiting, a very powerful concept. So, as you craft your strategic plan, I want you to have a strategic plan for the six key life areas in your life; your career, your finances, your health, your hobbies, your relationships and your spirituality, again, as you define it.

I want you to look over the course of the next six months. Strategic planning tends to be a year or greater or around a year. I want to shrink that down for these purposes, right. I want you to be able to create some attainable goals within the next period.  If you are successful, what does your life look like in six months? Define that for each one of those categories.

Let me give you those categories again. Career, finances, health, hobbies, relationships and spirituality. For those of you who don’t believe in a higher power, then that spirituality is mindfulness- being in the present moment on purpose without judgement. One of the most effective things that you can do for your addiction, for your shitty life, is to meditate, is to practice mindfulness. The data is absolutely unequivocally overwhelming. It is part and parcel of my practice. My men who meditate stay sober and lead great lives.

So, in those six areas,  there are the two questions that I want you to ask.

  1. What do you want to accomplish?
  2. Why is that important?

Let’s just start talking about #2 for a second. “Why” is important because, why is the fuel. Why is the passion. Why is the fire. Why, to the exclusion of all else, do you plan on utilizing and dedicating your most precious resource of time, to the achievement and advancement of that goal?

Of all the things that you could type on your keyboard, that you could write out with your pen, in the universe of potential things that you could accomplish, why is this important to you? You need to know your why. What do you want to accomplish, #1, and why?

I want to give you some guidance on answering question one. In the creation of goals, have you ever heard the acronym SMART? Some of you in business know exactly what I’m talking about. SMART is an acronym that stands for:

SPECIFIC

MEASURABLE

ATTAINABLE

RELEVANT

TIME BOUND

S = Specific. Is the goal specific?

Here’s a quick example. I want to lose weight. Is that specific? No. It really isn’t.  I know if I lose one pound I accomplished the goal. If I lose 100 pounds I accomplished the goal. So, your goals and the answer to questions need to be specific.

M = Measurable. I want to feel better. Is that measurable? No. It’s not. But, you can identify the attributes in your life that make you happy and craft specific measurable goals around that; performing a hobby, deepening your spirituality, enhancing your relationship, moving forward in your career; etc., etc.

A = Attainable. All of the SMART attributes are important. Attainable is one of the most important, and I want to give you some tips on setting some attainable goals.

R = stands for relevant. Are these goals that you’re setting relevant to your strategic plan? Are they outliers? Your moving in one direction, all of the sudden you’ve got this idea that’s way out here, this idea that’s way out there. Is it relevant to your overarching plan in your life? Does it make sense? Is it relevant.

T =Time bound. Is it time bound? Goals must have a deadline. If not, they’re really just dreams, aren’t they?  

So, in answering question one, I want you to set goals that are SMART. I want them to be specific. I want them to be measurable. I want them to be attainable. I want them to be relevant. I want them to be time bound. They must have a deadline.

So, your assignment, your mission, if you’re willing to accept it, is spend 45 minutes creating a strategic plan in those six key life areas, and that strategic plan defines what it is you want to accomplish and why do you want to accomplish that goal? What does it mean to you? Where is the fire? Where is the passion? Why do you want to do that?

I have absolute clarity on what it is that I want to accomplish and how I want to help people all over the world. I know exactly where I’m headed and when things get tough, when I get pneumonia, when the kids are driving me nuts, when business is going crazy and I’m just losing my mind and I just feel like sometimes I want to scream and I want to act out, I get triggered to use drugs, triggered to act out sexually. That doesn’t go away, guys.

I just want to make that clear. It doesn’t go away, because I’ve already told you your triggers are biologically hardwired. So, yeah, I get triggered to act out sexually. I get triggered to use drugs. But, I’ve got a beautiful plan that’s unfolding before me, and I’m accomplishing things, that I never ever dreamed were possible.

The notion of writing a book, the notion of working with clients in 24 countries, the notion of people all over the world turning to me, to me and the coaches that work for me and my online program and the workbook and CDs you buy on Amazon.

I’m never going to take that for granted. I was in corporate America most of my life; assistant general counsel for billion dollar companies. I ran a billion-dollar company’s compliance department. I absolutely love what I do, and when things get rough, when things get bumpy, when those triggers and those self-deprecating thoughts start flying at me because I’m sick, for example, like I have been, I can quickly open up a notebook and see something beautiful.

I can see a path that I want my life to go on, and since to break a habit you have to make a habit I’ve got a plethora of new habits, new goals, new strategies, new ideas, new concepts that I’m continuing to share with you.

Someone asked me a question a couple of months ago, and they said, well I get this question a lot, but, “What do you do to stay sober?” This was a client we’d been working with for a few weeks, and the answer was, “You just paid me for it,” and I was a little crass. I didn’t mean it to sound crass, and then the phone went silent. I said, “Oh, my god, what did I say that was so rude? I didn’t mean it like that. I didn’t mean it like that.” And then, he had muted his phone and he came back and we were laughing about it. He understood what I was saying.

When I walked out of inpatient I said to myself, “I am never, ever, ever coming back to this place and I don’t care if I’ve got to dedicate the rest of my life to self-help if that’s what it takes.” I had no idea at that low point, that it would bring me to this place; But I am at this place because I’ve learned to use my triggers to drive positive action.

I understand the different parts of myself that want to take over, that want to drive the bus, the part of me that’s not good enough, the part that’s an addict and crazed and numbing, coping and escaping. The part of me that wants to sabotage all the great things that I’ve accomplished, and I have a plan. I have a specific, deliberate plan that carries me through the dark times.

Here’s some advice I want to give you in setting goals.

“Lower the bar. Lower the bar. Lower the bar.”

“Wait a minute. Craig, aren’t you supposed to be motivating me? Aren’t you supposed to be telling me to shoot for the stars and land on the moon?”

Maybe, and I hope I’m motivating you, but my commitment, my goal, is to drive sustainable results. Anybody can pay someone a gob of money and be clean for a period of time. Right? You fork out a bunch of cash, you’ll see how quickly you stop doing the thing. Okay, but that’s not good enough. That’s not good enough here.

I have to create sustainable results with my clients, and when it comes to goal setting what is the biggest problem with the goals that they set for themselves? They’re not attainable. They may be attainable at some point in time, but they’re not attainable right now because of where they’re at.

I love being in this position of being the motivator, conquer the world and, you know, take life by the horns and lower the bar. And, what I mean by that is to create goals that are attainable.  And you do that through the implementation of mini habits and micro goals.

Here’s what I’d like you to do. I’d like you to create some mini habits and micro goals for your Fundamental Five. Eating better, sleeping better, hydrating better, exercising better and practicing mindfulness.

So, we talked about the overarching strategic plan in those six key life areas, but, really, just reflect on this for a second. What level of sustainability do you think that you can create in your life if you’re not sleeping, eating like shit, not taking care of your body, not honoring and prioritizing your mind, body, spirit to the exclusion of all else?

Here’s where we bring in mini habits and micro goals.  Mini habits and micro goals are goals that are ridiculously attainable.

You’ve heard this story before, but I’m going to tell it again, really, really quick. I have a client. We’ll call him Joe. Morbidly obese. I didn’t realize he was morbidly obese when we started because it was early in my coaching practice. I didn’t get a picture of him, and we’re talking about his porn problem and I find out that he weighs over 300 pounds, and this was a man who could afford the nutritionists, the dieticians to cook meals, the Weight Watchers, the whole thing. Anything, that one could do. AND he was contemplating getting surgery.

Here’s what I asked him to do. I asked him to find his running shoes and his shorts and stand out in his front yard for 60 seconds a day. Come on. That’s ridiculous. What do you mean I’m going to stand outside for 60 seconds a day? That doesn’t make any sense. Shouldn’t you be motivating me to run two miles? Well, when’s the last time you ran two miles? Twenty years ago, huh? Why would we set a goal that’s unattainable at this moment?

See, what usually happens with goal setting is that you set goals that, at the moment, aren’t appropriate- they aren’t attainable. They don’t work. Why? Because you can’t attain them. So, lower the bar.

So, I asked this client to stand outside his house. Well, first he couldn’t find his running shoes, couldn’t find his shorts. He finally gets out there and he’s swearing at me, sending me text messages, flipping me off, like this is stupid. Day three comes around, he starts stretching. Day four he walks around the block. Day five he walked around two blocks, three blocks. He just finished, a few months ago, a half marathon, a half marathon and he has lost over 100 pounds.

I cannot begin to tell you the benefit of mini habits and micro goals. They’ve had an incredible impact on my life. And, I’ll tell you where I learned about them first. There’s a website called deepexistence.com, and the gentleman’s name is Stephen Guise, and he’s got a great book on mini habits and micro goals. It’s $5. It’s $10. It’s free sometimes. Get it, and sign up for his information because this guy’s got it going on. He is super, super smart.

His life changed with one pushup a day because that was attainable. He could accomplish that no matter what. He was going to do one pushup. So, one of the places where I typically assign this goal is around mindfulness. Mindfulness is so hard. Sitting and meditating. It’s like the easiest thing in the world to sit and breathe, but to do it for a long period of time is hard. It’s a tough habit to get into. We don’t like being alone with ourselves. Every time we’re alone we act out. So, it’s very, very difficult to get men and women in this place where they can sit and reflect on their breath.

So, I ask them to count their breaths for 60 seconds a day. Count their breaths for 60 seconds a day. And, that produces sustainability because then the fire gets lit and it starts burning and they’re like, “wait a minute, this mindfulness stuff is amazing. Look at all the crazy thoughts that I’m having. Wow. Wow. How can I not attach to those thoughts?”

So, that’s just one example for you, but what I would like you to do in addition to your strategic plan is to set one, one mini habit and micro goal for each of the Fundamental Five; eating, sleeping, drinking, exercise and mindfulness. And, remember, when you set a mini habit and a micro goal you’re going to be almost embarrassed.

If you told anybody this was your goal-setting strategy you might even feel a little bit weird. That’s all you’re doing? Yeah. Yeah. That’s all you’re doing. Ridiculously attainable. And, if you can’t achieve that one, lower the bar. You can’t achieve that one. Lower the bar, and watch your life change, not just in this quick, look I’m on top of the world. I’m accomplishing all these goals, and what does that last for, guys? How long? Two weeks. Three weeks. A month maybe. It’s not sustainable. But, if you start at this lowering the bar place with mini habits and micro goals you begin to build an infrastructure, and that fire in you produces a culture of success. So, bring your goalsetting into your organization. What if your organization set goals like you did? Constantly failing. What would the morale be? What would the retention rate of employees be? What would the success of the organization be? It would suck. It would be an absolute mess. Organizations need to set attainable goals. It doesn’t mean you don’t stretch. It doesn’t mean you don’t push yourself. Okay? But, start small. Start small.

So, you’ve got two assignments, two missions. 1) Create your strategic plan. Make sure the goals in your strategic plan are smart. Identify the why, the fire, the passion, the burn in you that makes these goals the ones that you want to work on. 2) Set mini habits and micro goals for your fundamental five. Eating, sleeping, drinking, exercise and mindfulness, and watch your life change.

I am so excited for 2017. I’m so excited to start teaching yoga in my online program. I’m just beyond, pumped to share this incredible gift that yoga has given to me with my guys and the partners who work with us. An honor and privilege, brothers and sisters. Thank you so much for listening.

This is Craig Perra with Sex Afflictions and Porn Addictions. Catch you on the flip side. Love you. Bye-bye.

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