One Step at a Time

Rocks on a Hawaiian BeachWhen it comes to personal growth, you have three options: take a step forward, take a step back, or stay in the present moment.

One of the easiest traps to fall into when you first begin therapy is to get stuck on what it’s going to be like in the future when things have changed. But when my clients get upset and angry about how long it takes to work on themselves and feel better, I tell them it takes “one step at a time.”  You wouldn’t start kindergarten and expect to be promoted to fifth grade at the end of the year. It takes time, patience and staying in the present moment as much as you can. Thinking about your future and not paying attention to your present moment is not going to get you anywhere!

Once you’ve taken that trip to the future to see what you think life will be like, come back to the present moment and set it into motion by making a plan. But you can’t just think about it, you have to take daily steps to do it. But you also have to be aware of those daily steps to make it stick.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I often have clients that say to me “This is hard work. I don’t want to get better; I was doing just fine doing what I was doing,” or “I fixed the problem I am okay now; I don’t need to work on me anymore.”

That is like deciding to just keep wearing the same shoes you wore in third grade, even though your feet have grown since then. You can’t go back again after you have begun to change your thoughts, your perspective, and your life. You’ll always feel unhappy and out of sorts. Just like wearing those tiny shoes.

Once you get started and you are serious about change, learning to stay in the present moment and taking each day as it comes with your new tools becomes so much easier. It’s okay to take baby steps. Life has its’ moments when things aren’t so great, but if you take one step at a time and practice what you’ve learned in therapy it is so much more fun!

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