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?