Episode 74: Pitfalls of Accountability

Uncategorized Jun 13, 2022

How many times have you told yourself that you’re going to quit viewing porn, and then don’t follow through? You tell yourself you’re not going to look at it, or that you’ll finally quit cold turkey one day, and yet, that day never seems to come. So, if your self-trust feels completely demolished, you’re not alone. 

Quitting porn is all about trusting yourself, but when having your own back feels unfamiliar, we seek external motivation. This is where accountability comes in. We’ve been testing out a six-week accountability group inside my program, but there are some pitfalls with accountability that I’ve observed, and I’m sharing them with you today. 

Join me this week if you’re currently seeking an accountability group or partner to help you quit porn. I’m offering why accountability is not the answer to finally figuring out your porn habit, and how to start building the muscle of self-trust so you can accelerate your results. 

If you’re ready to do this work and start practicing unconditional commitment towards quitting your porn habit, sign up to work with me! 

What You'll Learn from this Episode: 


  • Why you’re seeking an accountability partner to help you quit porn.
  • How people rely on accountability as a shortcut to their desired outcomes. 
  • The most common misunderstandings and pitfalls of accountability. 
  • Why building the muscle of self-trust is more important than having accountability. 
  • How to stop relying on accountability, and instead learn to strengthen self-trust. 


Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • Click here to sign up for my free masterclass called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You’ve Tried in the Past! 
  • Click here to sign up to my email list.
  • Follow me on Instagram
  • Simone Seol


Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 74, Pitfalls of Accountability.

Welcome to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast, the show that will teach you how to stop viewing pornography and never go back to it. If you want to learn how to train your brain out of a pornography habit, completely shame-free, then this is the show for you. I’m your host Sara Brewer, a certified life and faith-based coach.

Hey, you guys, welcome to the podcast episode this week. I am so excited to be back with you guys. I mean I’ve been here. I’ve been here but I feel like, I took a couple weeks off of recording podcasts because I recorded a bunch in a row with those success stories. I hope that you enjoyed them so far. I hope that they’ve been really inspiring to you so far. I know they’ve been inspiring to me.

We have a couple more, so I know some of you are listening to the podcast and you’re like, “Wait, where’s my interview?” I will use it. But what we decided, I was going to do a bunch of them in one podcast episode and like I said last week my podcast people were super nice and helpful and patient with me. They were like, “This is going to be over two hours, are you sure? Are you sure you want to do this?” And I was like, “Oh, let’s split them up.” So we will use those other interviews, we’ll scatter them here and there as we want to.

Before we dive into the content today I wanted just to share an awesome review from one of you that I got here on my podcast and just say thank you. Really, thank you so much for sharing these.

When you share your reviews it helps me get my message out there, it helps people find this podcast, it’s such an awesome way to support me and I really appreciate it. It takes just a minute if you haven’t done it yet. You can just scroll to the bottom of your app and click the number of stars and then write a little something if you want to.

But this one, this most recent one says, “Truly a gift. Sara is a gift from God and this podcast helps you realize that you are too.” I love that line. I didn’t realize it said that until I just read that out loud. I must have skipped over that part when I read it. “And helps you realize that you are too.” So good.

“The podcast coupled with her program has completely changed my way of thinking, not just about porn, but life in general. The podcast is worth every second of listening and the program worth every penny.” Yeah, thank you so much. I know that you all, when you listen to the podcast it’s like you’re paying me with your time. And so I want to make sure every second you spend listening to this is worth it to you. So thank you for this awesome review, I really appreciate it.

Let’s dive into our topic, which is pitfalls of accountability. And this has come up for me because we, in the program for those of you who are in there, you know that we have been doing a little bit of an accountability group. We’ve been testing out this accountability group, we’ve been doing a beta one.

And it’s been awesome, we have loved it. And we’re going to continue to do something similar to it in the future. But there are some pitfalls of accountability that have been on my mind as we have been doing these six weeks, these six test weeks of an accountability group.

So first, the thing is is that most people think that in order to be successful they need more outside accountability, they need more outside accountability for their success. And they are wrong. If you’re thinking to yourself, “If I just had some more accountability I’d be able to figure this out, I’d be able to follow through with myself,” you are wrong.

I recently heard one of my coaches and teachers that I follow and love, I’m going to quote her. I screenshotted what she said because I thought it was so good. Her name is Simone Grace Seol, I hope I’m saying her name right, and she teaches people how to have a business that they just love and that fills their soul and does a lot of good in the world.

But she said this, she said, “The thoughts that make people seek accountability perpetuate the culture of reliance on external motivation because people have been conditioned to not trust themselves.” I know that’s a mouthful so I’m going to say it again and we’ll break it apart and talk about it. “The thoughts that make people seek accountability perpetuate the culture of reliance on external motivation because people have been conditioned to not trust themselves.”

So basically what she’s saying is that the reason you aren’t doing what you said you would do isn’t because you need more external motivation. It’s because you have been conditioned to not trust yourself You don’t have self- trust and you don’t have your own back.

And so if you are not approaching your life in this way where you are building your own self-trust and you’re building those muscles of having your own back, it doesn’t matter how much external motivation or how much accountability you have, you will not do what you said you’re going to do.

And so a lot of people seek accountability as almost like a shortcut. Like instead of building those muscles of self-trust we’re going to put that on someone else. We’re going to put that responsibility on someone else to hold me accountable. And that’s where we get into trouble with accountability.

So some of these thoughts, these inner beliefs that you have that make you seek accountability might be, I don’t follow through with myself. I don’t trust myself. I can’t do it. I’m not good enough. Someone else has the answer.

And so even with the best accountability partner in the world, or the most accountability, or the best program, or the best external motivators, or whatever, even if you had all of that, you would never quit porn if those continue to be your thoughts and your energy behind your porn use. I don’t follow through with myself. I can’t trust myself. I don’t trust myself. I’m not good enough. I can’t do it.

And this is why accountability is not the answer. And this is why accountability groups have not worked for you in the past. It is all externally motivated, built on this culture of I trust other people, I trust external things more than I trust myself. Accountability isn’t the answer. The answer is building muscles of self-trust and having your own back.

So let’s talk about that, how do we build these muscles of self-trust? The first thing is realize and recognize it’s a muscle. And so for it to get stronger you’ve got to work it and you’ve got to practice. And it’s okay, right, if I’m lifting weights and I can only do five pounds at a time I’m not going to sit there and be like, “What is wrong with you for only doing five pounds at a time? You’re so weak.”

I’m going to say to myself, “No, I’m starting with five and then I’m going to move to 10 and then I’m going to move to 20, and then I’m going to move to 50 or whatever and then 100.” We’re building up here, we’re building muscles and I’m so proud of myself for building these muscles. So that’s first, you’ve got to be patient and you’ve got to be consistent and recognize that these are muscles that we’re building.

Next is we have to recognize that we don’t build muscles of self-trust if we’re relying on having someone to answer to. That’s like putting our trust in the other person instead of putting our trust in ourselves. Can you be self-accountable instead of just externally accountable?

And there’s a little bit of room for some nuance here, which I’ll talk about at the end of the podcast, but stick with me for a little bit. So how we build these muscles of self-trust is we do inner work and belief work. So those thoughts that I just mentioned, I don’t trust myself, I don’t follow through with myself, I can’t do it, I’m not good enough, we need to start rewriting those beliefs and changing those beliefs.

We also have to learn to regulate emotions and to regulate your nervous system. This is just a fancy way of me saying we have to learn how to feel and work through emotions instead of just escaping with porn, escaping emotion with porn, escaping stress with porn. And this really is the work, this is why you would hire a coach. Not for accountability, but to help you learn how to do this.

This is what we teach in the program. For those of you who do one on one coaching, it's not just for external accountability, but it's to really embody and to become accountable to yourself by learning these skills.

Quitting porn is a direct result of you learning to trust yourself again. It's not a direct result of how accountable we are to someone. It's not a direct result of having the right system outside of us. It's a direct result of learning to trust yourself again and not relying on external motivation, right?

And so many of you with your porn habit, your self-trust has been demolished, right? Because how many times have you told yourself you're going to quit and then you don't? And you tell yourself you're not going to look at it, and then you do. And you do this over and over and over and over again and the self-trust is just gone. You're like, “I say I'm not going to, but I know I probably am.” And you don't trust yourself.

And that's why you turn to accountability. You’re like if I was just more accountable to someone, if I just had someone like a partner who would check up on me, I’d do better. That's not a long term answer, that's a pitfall. The long term answer is to build back that self-trust muscle. And it takes time and it takes patience.

And it's okay if you're not there yet, but looking at it as this is a process of us building this muscle again. It's been squashed, I haven't have been building it, it's been struggling, I want to build this again, that's going to help you get there.

So how we do this, a few other notes for you on how we build these muscles of self-trust are you make goals that are attainable. Okay? You've heard me say we overestimate what we can do in the short term and underestimate what we can do in the long term. We've got to stop overestimating what we can do in the short term. And then at the same time, think bigger about what we can do in the long term.

So instead of saying yourself we're just going to stop, we're going to quit cold turkey. You've got to stop doing that, that is messing with your self-trust because it's not realistic for many of you. So you make goals that are attainable. You trust yourself to do what you say you're going to do.

And then you learn what to do when the time comes. When the urge comes you know how to sit with it, you know how to find safety in your body, and you know how to be okay with it so that you can follow through with yourself.

So to clarify a little bit, let me give you an example. Say I have my work schedule, okay? And I set my own schedule and I do step number one. I really make sure that it is attainable. That the things that I said I would do today is attainable based off of my energy and based off of the time that I have.

What I used to do is I used to pack so much in there and say like, “Okay, let's just see how much of this we can get done.” And that always set myself up for failure. So instead, I set goals every day that are super attainable. So today it was go to my mastermind, do my podcast, write an email. Okay? Super attainable, super easy for me to get done.

And then what happens is it's time to record my podcast and I don't want to. I don't want to sit down and think about it, I don't want to put the brain energy towards it, I don't want to. But I know what to do when I don't want to do something. I know, okay, this feeling of resistance is in my body, breathe, feel it, process it.

The only thing that's keeping me from following through with myself and doing what I say I'm going to do is this feeling of resistance that I don't want to. And it's uncomfortable and I feel tight and I feel a little jittery. And I'm going to breathe into it, I'm going to process this feeling of not wanting to, and then I'm going to do it anyway. Because this feeling is not dangerous and the more I allow this feeling, the less power it has over me.

We've talked about this a lot in other podcast episodes, and we do a deep dive into this in the program but that's just a short example. If you're a little bit new to the podcast I’m trying to help it make sense to you.

And it's really important to me that I do what I say I'm going to do. Because when I don't, that's when I start to ruin that relationship with myself and I start to not trust myself anymore. And my relationship with myself is so important that it's been so vital for me to learn these skills of making and setting goals that are attainable and then following through with them by breathing through discomfort and breathing through resistance.

And I found when I don't follow through with myself and when I don't follow through with my commitments, it's because either, one, I overestimate what I can do, this still happens. And so I have to, like that's kind of my default is I think I can do way more than I really can in a short time. And so when I don't follow through it's because I've overestimated that and I don't really have the energy or time to do it all.

Or number two is I'm not willing to feel my emotions and so I buffer that discomfort away instead of processing it and moving on and doing what I said I would do. So for example, I'm feeling the discomfort of, okay, it's time for me to record my podcast. And instead of breathing through that and processing it, I go lay on my bed and scroll social media, right?

And it's just interesting, when I do that, when I buffer that away, that feeling doesn't go away. I'm still feeling resistance. I maybe escape it for a couple of minutes but then it comes back after I stop scrolling social media.

Anyways, these are all skills that I've talked about before and that I teach in depth in the program, but they're vital to learn. And they're so much more important to learn and to practice than just focusing on having more accountability, external accountability.

And like I said, there's a little bit of nuance here like anything. And accountability can have its place, external accountability can really have its place but only if you are trusting yourself and if you're accountable to yourself first. And only if you're working off of that backbone of self-trust and building that.

So for example when I hire a coach, and I have hired so many coaches, I hire them all the time because I believe in it and it’s changed my life. But when I hire a coach, I do so, like when I click that pay button, I do it knowing that I'm going to get the result that I paid for. I'm going to get the result that I'm looking for.

It's not from a place of, okay, hopefully, with some accountability I can finally figure this out. Or okay, hopefully now with this person, they'll help me figure this out. No, I know, I'm going to get the result that I paid for because that's up to me and I'm hiring this person to teach me and to help me through it and to help me get these results faster.

And I believe in this person, otherwise, I wouldn't be paying for them. And I'm investing in this result, but it's not like I'm hoping that, oh, hopefully they have this magic answer for me, or now I'm going to have some accountability so I'm finally going to do it.

I make that purchase with this knowledge that I am going to get the result that I've paid for. And it's really easy for me to do that now because I've done it so many times. Because every investment that I've made, I get the return that I was hoping for because that's up to me. That's not up to anyone else.

So two examples of this is just yesterday I paid for a mastermind that is specifically about taking a specific part of my business and making it a little bit easier and a little bit more fun and a little bit more organized for me.

And so when I decided and committed to do that, the thought behind it isn't “Okay, hopefully this person can help me.” It's, “I'm ready for this next step. I'm ready to make this easier and fun and we're going to do it. And let's go.” There’s not a question in my mind whether or not it's going to happen, I know it’s going to happen.

Another example is I hired a wake up early coach a couple months ago. And this coach, you guys, it was purely accountability. He gave me some tips here or there, but he didn't like teach me a new process, he didn’t teach me anything really special. It was purely accountability and it was also a little bit of him helping me set realistic goals. And it worked really, really well for me.

And so from an outside glance you might think that that's contradictory to what I'm teaching, right? What I'm saying is, accountability doesn't work, outside accountability doesn't work. But here I am saying that this wake up coach that was just basically an accountability coach who I would message every single morning and say whether or not I woke up, that did work.

And the reason, the reason that worked for me is not because accountability is magic. But it's because when I paid for that service I was saying to myself, “Okay, we're really doing it, we're really committed. We're waking up at this certain time every day, let's go.”

There was no question in my mind whether or not I was going to do it. I was going to make this new wake up time my new norm. And in that instance, paying for that service and talking to that person was a way that I could show myself I'm really serious about this and let's do it. Okay?

So our accountability group in the program that we've been testing out, I’ve loved it so far. People have been very, very interested in it. We got a ton of interest. There's been tons of goodness there and it's an amazing community, it's an amazing opportunity for you to get a little bit more of a community of people who are trying to do the same thing. But we're going to change it a little bit so it isn't just an accountability group anymore.

When we first started I originally thought, oh, maybe we'll do a bunch of accountability groups throughout the year. But instead, we're going to create a results accelerator group. And so this isn't just an accountability group, this is a results accelerator group, okay?

You come in, you come into this group, and there is accountability involved. But the main purpose is to help you get quicker and faster results to quitting porn and to accelerate your learning with the materials in the program. And so you're going to be building those muscles of self-trust and this group is a space for you to start to accelerate the results that you want with your porn habit. Okay, so that's in the works. I'll let you know when we have more details figured out there.

Okay, you guys have a great week. We'll talk to you next week, bye bye.

I want to invite you to come and listen to my free training called How to Quit Viewing Pornography Even if You've Tried in the Past. If you like the podcast, you will love this free training. We talk about, number one, how to not rely on willpower or phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography.

Number two, how to guarantee that you won't fail no matter how many times you've tried in the past. And number three, how to feel good about yourself while becoming someone who doesn't struggle with pornography. You can access this training at sarabrewer.com/masterclass.


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