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How You Measure Change Could Matter More than You Think

You know it’s time for change.  You’ve set everything up: a new diet or exercise plan, a proposed budget, a schedule of counseling appointments, a new program to discipline your children or spend quality time with your spouse.  All your hope is riding on the new plan… [Read more…]

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If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Mindful Monday Tip #6: The Importance of Small Steps of Change

How can I change?  

What must I do to change? 

When will change begin?

These are tough questions, often heard in counseling rooms and frequently heard in  conversations with friends and family.  What we so often forget is that change, like a big journey, often begins with small steps.

Change can seem elusive if we’re not mindful of the progress that small steps reveal.  This reminds me of a big cross country trip I took years ago with my mother-in-law and two young children.   Starting from Northern Virginia, we had to travel more than 2600 miles before we reached our  destination of Santa Monica, CA.  One SUV. Two kids. Two adults. On the road for seven days.  We weren’t out of Prince William County before I heard the first, “How long till we get there?”  I would hear variations of that question multiple times a day for the next seven days.  By focusing on the final goal, it was easy to become mindless of the current day’s progress.  Easy to overlook the wonder of the country through which we were passing.  Easy to overlook the fun of sharing Cheese Whiz and crackers while waiting for Gran to check-in at the nightly hotel.

Think about all the things we may want to change.  Weight.  Anxiety. Depression. Self-esteem.  You name it.  We may be aware of the big change we want to experience.  Shed 30 pounds.  Have fewer anxiety attacks.  Experience hope.  Believe in ourselves.  But where does change begin?  What can the small steps look like?  Maybe today we take a walk or make a healthy eating choice.  Maybe we search the internet to locate a therapist or call to ask questions.  Maybe we check out a self-help book from the library.  These small steps can be evidence of change.

This week’s tip is like a gift: it encourages us to become aware of small steps that reveal change.

Mindful Monday Tip #6: Become Mindful of Small Steps 

  • Identify one area of your life that you wish to change.
  • What small step in the direction of change can you take today?
  • Observe what you experience as you take the step.
  • Repeat daily.

What small step of change will you mindfully take today?

And what will you experience as a result?

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If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Change

In 2011, I read many books about managing finances and investments.  That’s when I discovered this observation attributed to Warren Buffet: the chains of habit are never experienced as heavy until we try to change. Suddenly I had a metaphor to describe why change is so difficult.  Entrenched patterns of living rarely feel burdensome until we attempt to change them – changing lifetime patterns may feel like breaking impossible chains.  Yet change is possible – and this is what I think we forget.  With each healthier choice we make, chains of habit begin to crack and lasting change is reinforced.  The trick is to keep making healthier choices, and to find the support we need to sustain the change.  Providing that support is one thing I love about my role as a therapist. 

 Do you agree with Buffet’s observation?  What helps you to make healthier choices? Where might you find the support to change a habit?

 

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.