Small steps to big changes

Small steps are essential for sustainable changes. Trying to do big changes instead of breaking a task down makes it more likely that you will either give up or meet an obstacle that you are not ready to address both of which will undermine your self esteem and your confidence. To boost your confidence whilst addressing with issues like addictions, anxiety, confidence, and weight management break your long term goal down into set short simple goals. as you meet each target your confidence will grow and your motivation to take on bigger and more demanding challenges will grow with it.

Learning to be accepting of yourself will allow you to break problems down into smaller stages allowing more mini successes which will help raise motivation and also make your confidence grow over time.

Small steps to breaking habits

One example could be dealing with habits like nail biting. Hypnosis is great a dealing with this issue. One practical thing that you can do to address this can be choosing to leave on nail unbitten. So accept yourself as a nail biter but not someone who bites a particular nail. Very quickly you will establish a different pattern of behaviour and once you have stopped biting that nail and it has grow longer you could then add another nail to leave unbitten. I have used this technique to stop nail biting in conjunction with hypnosis and can not imagine nail biting again.

Be realistic with goal setting

Acceptance is built on being realistic about how much you can change at any one time. To prevent failure when learning to be a different, you also need to be realistic about how long change can take.

With weight management ask yourself how long ago you were at the weight you want to revisit. This gives you some scale of how long weight change takes naturally. You should be looking at no more than 2lbs or a kilo a week and that it will change in cycles, some weeks will be faster than others. Many people fail to reach and maintain their weight because they reject adopting realistic goals.

See the bigger picture

The small steps approach also includes acceptance that there will be obstacles which may need to be overcome, it may appear as if a backwards step is taking place. This is very common when making lifestyle changes like, addressing an addiction, getting fitter, quitting smoking because reverting back to old behaviours is very common after you have started to make changes.

One strategy to employ when making lifestyle changes to keep motivation up and boost confidence, is to view the change journey as a long term event instead viewing it day by day.

Here, the person adopting a new lifestyle is then able to see that, should they experience a small setback, they see it in the context of all the other changes that they are making instead as a big event in itself.

For example: someone giving up smoking who has not smoked for 7 days may view a cigarette today as a failure but viewed over the last year, then this lapse can be seen as progress. Over a year, one day in seven smoking instead of every day is a huge change, and has clear health and financial benefits. This pattern will eventually lead to longer periods of smoke free living until reaching total abstinence. Ultimately, focus on the progress made instead of the minor disruptions to the progress. Using a success diary can help focusing on progress.

Equally, when someone lapses from alcohol abstinence use by taking one drink they can use their next period of abstinence to remind them that they have already made progress with their small steps and should just resume this approach and see how far they get next time.

The process of seeing an event over a long term can further be supported by viewing set backs as areas for further learning. By viewing each set back as a new point of learning a person is able to see this event as a point of personal development instead of a failure. For example someone who is new to a life in recovery may find that they drank when they socialised with their friends. Instead of regretting this and seeing this as a failure they could instead reflect on this and recognise that they needed to plan better next time and either tell people that they cannot drink, choose a venue where there is no opportunity to drink alcohol or not to attend with those people.

Small steps to feel in control

By employing these techniques a person undertaking lifestyle change still feels in control of their destiny instead of a failure as their self esteem is still intact and their motivation to maintain this change is in place as they view any difficulties as planned and necessary to reach their destination.

Ultimately small steps for change are sustainable and easier to maintain over the period needed for the change to evolve into a new lifestyle habit.

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