The Secret Ingredient For Successful Habit Change

Secret Ingredient of Habit Change

So you had a habit change you wanted to tackle, you set a SMART goal – you were very specific in your goals, they were measurable and achievable, you had a specific time-frame – and you still weren’t able to achieve your desired outcome.  What went wrong?

Of course there are many different answers.  But firstly I want to ‘zoom out’ a little in answering this question – widen the perspective and look at some essential ‘pre-steps’ to habit change.  And contrary to the catchy headline, there may be more than one ‘secret ingredient’!

Firstly, the biggest ‘zoom-out’ question

Are you trying to achieve a goal or change a habit?  Mistake number one that many people make is to use the strategies you would use for achieving goals to achieve habit change.  When you think about it, you can see that habit change is a whole lot more complex and harder than achieving a goal.  For example, imagine you have a goal of saving $2000 for a big holiday you have planned.  Let’s say you have 50 weeks to do this.  All you need to do to achieve your goal is to save $40 per week, starting today, right? And hey presto! You have achieved your goal.  If you are already a good saver, it will be that easy and straight forward.  But if the real issue is that you need to be less impulsive with your spending and be more disciplined in how you use your money, a habit change is required.  And that means making good choices multiple times every day.  Which requires a robust strategy, because there are so many things that can cause us to ‘fall off the wagon’ when we resolve to change a habit.

Dike Drummond, in his book ‘Stop Physician Burnout’ talks about the difference between a ‘problem’ and a ‘dilemma’ – a problem is something that has a simple solution of one or two steps, and applying that simple solution fixes the problem.  But many difficult issues in our lives are more-so ‘dilemmas’ than ‘problems’.

So what is a dilemma? A dilemma is a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two alternatives, especially when both alternatives are either undesirable or mutually incompatible.  Issues like ‘work-life balance’ are more-so dilemmas than problems.  And consequently require a ‘strategy’ rather than a ‘solution’.  Resolutions (such as “From now on I’m going to make healthier food choices”) usually require habit change.

The dangers of treating a dilemma as if it is a problem

When we treat issues that are more-so dilemmas as if they are problems, what tends to happen is that we analyse the situation (‘problem’), come up with a solution we think will work and try to implement it, sometimes with some short-term success.  And soon we find that our solution isn’t working or feels too hard to continue to implement.  We feel despondent and may well beat ourselves up and think the we are the problem e.g. “I just don’t have the will-power required” or “I’m not committed enough” or “I’m too lazy.”  Or we start to ‘play victim’ to justify to ourselves why this change is not possible – e.g it’s some-one else’s fault, or it’s the fault of our genes.  And then we might start looking out for a ‘magic bullet’ – the ‘fool-proof solution’ that will fix our problem – the magic diet or exercise programme, the magic time-management system, the magic app or gadget or product.  Which makes us vulnerable to hard-sell marketing for all the ‘new’ (and “simple”) solutions being offered.

And to make matters worse, each time we set goals and don’t achieve them, we start to erode our belief in our own ability.  So the next time we may be a bit half-hearted about our goal because in our heart-of-hearts we don’t actually believe we can achieve it.  Which of course means we are less likely to succeed.

Strategies for Habit Change

Dilemmas require Strategies, not ‘Solutions’

A dilemma requires a longer term approach.  With a dilemma we need to identify the various things we could do that might make a difference to the situation, then choose a place to start.  And when we choose the place to start we choose an action that seems ‘do-able’ and that we think will make a significant difference to the situation.  Then we try implementing this new action.  And we continuously review and ‘tweak’ the plan.  And ideally, schedule a regular time to review our over-all strategy, taking time to problem-solve the things that aren’t working with our first action, and when we have this first step embedded in our life, we then choose the next action which will contribute to the situation  improving.

And a further really important step, when we are ‘in for the long-haul’ is celebrating every small success and tracking our progress towards our desired outcome.

It can be very helpful to have an ‘accountability partner’ or ‘change partner’ when we are tackling big changes – some-one who you share your goals and strategies with, some-one who will be a cheer-leader for you, encouraging you and acknowledging your successes, while also challenging you to persevere when you might be tempted to give up.

This is not a ‘quick-fix’ approach.  But it is an approach that is more likely to succeed.

Creating a robust strategy

And perhaps the most important part of successfully moving towards an outcome that requires habit change is building in strategies for dealing with temptations, doubts, impulses, unhelpful thoughts and those times of the day when your will-power might be low and you are more vulnerable to ‘falling off the wagon’.  And it is this part of the plan that requires special attention in our ‘ongoing maintenance’ – our regular tweaking and reviewing.  Often we are not conscious of what these challenges will be until they happen.  So we may fall off the wagon when these challenges first occur.  But we can learn from each of these experiences and for each challenge we can identify a mini-strategy that will help us to deal with that challenge the next time around.

So What is the Secret Ingredient?

In addition to changing your approach from ‘problem-solving’ to ‘strategy-building’, what if there was an approach or method that enabled you to improve your ‘foundation skills’ for habit change?  What if it was possible to learn the skills that help you stick to your resolutions and not ‘fall off the wagon’ as often, and not ‘give up on yourself’ when the going gets tough?

What ‘foundation skills’ are we talking about here?

How about these for starters …

  • The ability to be aware of unhelpful thoughts, let them go and not take them seriously?  For example, you are tired and hungry and a thought pops up – something like “I never manage to stick to my goals, I might as well give up now because I’m going to end up giving up anyway.” Or “Right now I need a break so I’ll skip going to the gym today” or “I deserve a reward for being so good, so it’s O.K. if I blob in front of tele tonight with a tub of icecream” – or that really seductive thought “just this once won’t really matter”.
  • The ability to be with uncomfortable feelings in a way that enables you to be aware of the feelings and can accept them compassionately and not be over-whelmed by them, and so not have them jump into the driver’s seat of your life.  For example you have a goal of spending less time at home by yourself and going out and doing more things socially.  You are getting ready to go out to meet some friends but you feel anxious, shy, self-conscious and even a bit nauseous.  Imagine if you could calm down that feeling to the extent that you were able to remain committed to your intention to go out, and thus achieve your goal.
  • The ability to notice an urge and be able to ‘surf’ urges without giving in to them.
  • The ability to spend less time ‘dwelling’ on mistakes, regrets and guilt about the past or worrying and feeling anxious about the future or daydreaming about the future.  And therefore spending more time being in the present moment.  Daydreaming and worrying don’t help us to make the changes we want to make.  And dwelling on our imperfections and mistakes take our focus away from enjoying the present. In fact, the only place we can make a difference to the quality of our lives for the future is in the present moment – we can’t change the past or ‘magic’ the future inside our heads.
  • The ability to be less judgmental towards ourselves, to not be constantly putting ourselves down or noticing what we’re doing wrong more than we notice what we’re doing well.
  • The ability to be compassionate towards ourselves and to forgive ourselves and move on when we slip up.
  • The ability to feel gratitude and appreciation, and to pat ourselves on the back for our small achievements.
  • The ability to ‘get perspective’ – to step out of the detail and to step back and see the ‘bigger picture’.  That is, the ability to step into the ‘observer stance’ where we can make wiser decisions, the ability to not be ‘in’ the issue but an observer outside the issue, so being able to be the ‘manager’ of the issue.

Without these abilities, tackling a challenging habit change and persevering over the ‘long-haul’ will be difficult.  These abilities are, I believe, some of the most essential ingredients for habit change and the achievement of challenging goals.  They are not ‘magic bullets’, but they are powerful ‘secret’ or not so secret ingredients.  They take time to learn and develop.  But they are skills that make a difference in so many aspects of our lives, both in solving problems and dilemmas, and in enhancing our wellbeing and happiness.

If you have read my previous blogs you probably already know that I am a big fan of Mindfulness, and you may recognise that all of the things listed above are aspects of Mindfulness.  I can’t emphasise enough how practical and useful Mindfulness skills are in our everyday lives.  If you haven’t already looked into learning Mindfulness, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Mindfulness for Habit Change

But Wait – There’s More: Another Secret Ingredient

Another really important skill, which I see as critical to any goal achievement or habit change is that of using ‘Implementation Intentions’.  Peter Gollwitzer (American Psychologist, July 1999) makes the distinction between ‘goal intentions’ and ‘implementation intentions’ – goal intentions are what we want to achieve, and implementation intentions are ‘pre-decisions’ about the when, where and how of achieving a goal.  They have the structure of ‘When situation x arises, then I will perform response y”.  These are particularly helpful for things that might tempt us away from persevering with our new habit.

And if we don’t ‘pre-decide’ what we will do in these situations it is much more likely that we will ‘fall off the wagon’ (of progress on our new habit).  For example let’s suppose that you are establishing a new habit of avoiding sugary foods.  It is 3.00 p.m. and you have been making healthy food choices so far today.  But right now you are hungry and tired and would love a little bit of added energy.  And you have had a habit of visiting the confectionary bar in your workplace at about this time whenever you felt the need for a bit of added energy.  If you have ‘pre-decided’ how you will handle this situation, having identified it as a potential challenge point, you will have prepared, for example, making some healthy sugar-free snacks and packed them in your lunch box –  in which case you are more easily able to stick to your resolution.  You have an implementation intention for this situation – that is “When I feel the need for a sugary snack, I will eat a healthy snack from my lunch box”.

Implementation intentions that involve a mental rather than a practical response are even more important.  For example “When I have the urge to eat a sugary snack (even when I have a healthy alternative in my lunchbox) I will employ the ‘urge surfing’ steps, and will make sure I have my laminated card with these steps on, in my pocket.  And while I am waiting for the urge to subside I will go to the water-cooler, get a glass of water and sip my water each time I notice this urge.”  If you are not familiar with urge surfing you will find plenty of info on the web.  For example, you will find a good clear description of the process on here

Compass

So let’s look at an example of putting together a robust habit change strategy.

Your goal is to get up earlier in the morning, perhaps so that you can be less rushed in the mornings, not be late for work, fit in some exercise or have leisurely breakfasts with your partner or friends.  If you treat this habit change exercise simply as a goal or as a problem, there is a good chance you may fail to achieve your objective.  The obvious ‘solutions’ if we treat this as simply a ‘problem’ are things like set your alarm clock an hour earlier in the morning.  And for some people, it is this simple.  But for many others a series of habit changes are required to achieve this goal.

So, if, instead, you come up with a ‘strategy’, it might look something like the following.  And this is much more likely to achieve success.

Goal:  To get up at 6.15 a.m.

1.        Identify possible steps to solve the problem e.g. Set two alarms instead of 1, have a friend phone me in the morning, go to bed earlier … etc.

2.       Choose one ‘do-able’ step that you feel you could achieve and that might have a significant impact on the problem.  Let’s say I chose ‘go to bed earlier’

3.       Identify as many of the likely challenges that you might experience as possible, and for each, work out how you will address them i.e. set an ‘implementation intention’ for each.  For example:

a.       I get busy doing something and don’t realise the time – “Half an hour before I need to go to bed, I will set an alarm to ring, then even if I am in the middle of something I will remind myself that I can come back to it tomorrow, and remind myself of my goal and will pack up and go to bed”.

b.      I have a habit of not having everything ready for the morning, so I end up staying up late to get things ready for the morning and then going to bed late. “(When) An hour before bed time (then) I will do everything on my checklist for getting things ready in the morning”

c.       You get the idea.  Identify the potential challenge and put an implementation intention / plan  in place that covers how, when and where.

4.       Identify some of the practical issues that might come up and work out strategies for them

a.       There’s something really good on T.V. (I’ll record it)

b.      I’m so tired that I’m sitting in front of T.V. mindlessly and just ignore my alarm  (put your T.V. on a timer so it turns itself off)

c.       You get the idea.  Again – more ‘Implementation Intentions’.

5.       Identify some of the thoughts, feelings, temptations and urges that might lead you to give up on your goal, and work out ‘Implementation Intentions’ for them

a.        Potential sabotaging thought “I’m not feeling tired and I feel like I don’t need as much sleep tonight”.   Implementation intention:  “When the thought comes up that I don’t need as much sleep tonight, then I will remind myself that sleep works best when we keep routine sleep hours, and that if I don’t keep routine hours I will keep struggling with not feeling sleepy at bedtime and feeling tired when I wake up and wanting to sleep in.  I will remind myself of ‘the big picture’ and will make a choice to go to bed on time, even if I am not feeling tired”.

b.      You get the idea – Again – more ‘Implementation Intentions’ for other potential sabotaging thoughts or feelings you think might trip you up.

6.       Each time you slip up, identify what led to the slip up and what you will do in that situation next time.  That is, create an ‘Implementation Intention’ that will cover this situation.  Then let it go and move on.  Forgive yourself for the slip-up.

7.       At the end of each day, as you lie in bed, pat yourself on the back for all the things that you did that in any way contributed to you making progress on establishing and maintaining your new habit.

8.       Regularly review your strategy e.g. each Sunday evening read over your strategy, identify times you slipped up and create ‘implementation intentions’ for these situations.

I wish you all the very best with any habit changes you are tackling at the moment. I hope that, by employing these not-so-secret “secret ingredients” you have not only greater success, but that you get to enjoy the journey of change that you are on.

Image credit: Dollarphotoclub.com

Please comment:

A penny for your thoughts … (not literally, but you know what we mean – we’d love to hear your opinion and learn about your experiences).

Have you found Mindfulness strategies to be important to you when engaging in changing your habits or achieving challenging goals?  If so we’d love to hear about your example/s.  Or do you use ‘Implementation Intentions’ (even if you don’t call them that)?  Or do you have other useful tips to share.  We’d love to hear about this too on the Comments Board below.

Any and all comments welcome – whether or not you agree with what I’ve written.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Annual Tease of New Year’s Resolutions

The Annual Tease of New Year’s Resolutions

New Years Resolutions written on a note pad.

Do you, like myself and many others do a bit of a mental review of your year (or your life)at New Year and come up with some ‘resolutions’ for the coming year? Some big goals for personal change?  If so, to what extent do you achieve those goals?  I read yesterday that 25% of people abandon their New Year’s Resolutions after one week, and 60% do so within six months.  I didn’t check if there is any research backing up these statements, but they were food for thought, all the same.

I think there are many reasons that their New Year’s Resolutions don’t work for many people, but I will list just three that I think are particularly important.  Hopefully this list might help you to identify some of the thing/s that trip you up if you are unable to persevere with your resolutions.  Or they may even allow you to give yourself permission not to engage in this annual tease, if the time is not right for you.

Your challenging goals – problems or dilemmas?

1.       If it is a challenging enough goal that we need to set a New Year’s Resolution to achieve it, it is most likely not a simple or easy goal to achieve.  Dike Drummond, M.D. in his book ‘Stop Physician Burnout’ writes about the distinction between a problem and a dilemma.  Understandably, we generally  approach challenges with a ‘problem-solving’ mind-set – analyse the problem, identify possible solutions, choose the best solution, implement it and voila!  Problem solved.  This approach works well for straight-forward problems – e.g. there are two people in your house-hold and only one car, but today, you both need the car.  Apply this process and voila!  Problem solved.

But many of our challenges are more of a dilemma than a problem.  A dilemma is a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two alternatives – especially when both alternatives are either undesirable or mutually incompatible.  Or perhaps both alternatives are very desirable – for example “I want to lose weight and I want to keep on enjoying yummy sweet and fatty foods”.  And in the case of the changes we tackle in New Year’s Resolutions, it’s not just one difficult choice, but a choice we need to make over and over and over again, day after day, after day – on days when we’re feeling highly motivated and on days when we are exhausted and don’t have any delicious and easy-to-prepare healthy food in the refrigerator.

A dilemma requires managing, not solving.  And managing requires an ongoing strategy with regular reviews to ‘tweak’ the strategy to find what will work best.  It’s not a quick fix process.  Many people approach their New Year’s Resolutions as if they are problems, when they may in fact be dilemmas.

Maintaining mindfulness, awareness and perspective regarding our goal over the long-haul

2.   When we are working on an issue that requires us to make ‘the good decision’ over and over and over again, we need to be able to maintain a relatively high level of awareness or mindfulness.  Using the weight loss example again – we need to be able to notice the urge to grab a bag of chippies or chocolate bar from the ‘snack box’ at work, before we’ve gone ahead and done it.  We need to be able to resist urges, see the bigger picture – remember our overall goal for better health or losing weight, be aware of the consequences of our actions, be aware of alternatives for healthier choices – to generally maintain a state of awareness, choice and perspective.  These are all mental functions that we can only achieve when we are in a ‘relaxed and focussed’ frame of mind.  When we are stressed out, in the ‘fight-flight’ physiology, we are more likely to be caught in tunnel vision, impatience, impulsiveness, and black-and-white thinking – not a place where we can make wise decisions.

In fact, to have a ‘fighting chance’ of sticking to our New Year’s Resolutions, we need to spend as little time as possible in the ‘fight-flight’ physiology, and know how to change state to the ‘relaxed and focussed’ physiology each time we notice that we are stressed.  In addition to Mindfulness and Diaphragmatic Breathing, Neurolinguistic Programming has some great strategies for accessing and anchoring resourceful states such as being relaxed and focussed.  But first we need to have a good level of awareness of our current state so that we know when we need to change it!  Again, Mindfulness is vital here.

Ironically, at the time when we make our New Year’s Resolutions, we are usually in quite a ‘relaxed and focussed’ place.  We may be on leave from our jobs or on holiday, and are giving ourselves some ‘me-time’ / thinking time where we intentionally choose to enter a place of perspective.  Which is a great place to formulate goals, so long as we stay there long enough to formulate a fairly detailed and grounded strategy that will ensure we are able to achieve those goals.  But many people don’t take the time and effort to formulate a detailed strategy at that time, and then return to a busy life and get caught back into the rut (and ‘tunnel vision’) of being busy, ‘fire-fighting’, and coping or surviving.  It is likely to be almost impossible to stick to resolutions that involve managing dilemmas under these circumstances.

‘New Year’s Resolution’ or ‘New Year’s Wishful Thought’?

3.       Maybe it would help to ‘call a spade a spade’.  We think of these things we set in the new year as ‘resolutions’.  Definitions of ‘resolution’ include: the quality of being resolute, great determination; a mental pledge.  But for many, New Year’s Resolutions could more accurately be thought of as ‘New Year’s Wishful Thoughts’ or perhaps ‘New Year’s Vague Goals’ – if we haven’t developed a long term strategy for implementation which includes supporting our ongoing determination in keeping this ‘mental pledge’ or ‘promise’ that we have made to ourselves.  So my suggestion would be that if we haven’t got the time, or level of commitment to create a good strategy, why not spare ourselves the guilt and disappointment and slight erosion of self-esteem that occurs when we break our promises to ourselves, let ourselves down – again, and just acknowledge the reality of the matter, without judgment – that the time is not right for this particular goal at this time.

So bearing this in mind – choose your ‘thing’.  If not a ‘resolution’, then what?  I do think that setting general intentions without a clear goal can be helpful.  Last year, a friend set her friends the challenge of selecting a quality to focus on for the year.  I chose the quality of ‘spaciousness’ – which I pondered upon many times during the year.  It served as a general sense of direction for the year, and although I didn’t have a specific detailed strategy I frequently revisited this somewhat vague intention, with positive results I wouldn’t have predicted.

Compass

Be kind to yourself, and get real

My words of advice on New Year’s Resolutions

–          Be real with yourself – accept what is, because it is – yourself and your circumstances.  Following the advice of the Serenity Prayer – accept the things you can’t change, have the courage (and determination) to choose to change the things you can when the time is right, and use your wisdom to know when and how to effectively tackle those changes you want to make.

–          Be kind to yourself – don’t set yourself up for guilt and disappointment with unrealistic and ungrounded ‘resolutions’.

–          Consider using this year to put some more foundations in place to help you tackle those important goals that the time is not yet right for.  Look out for ways to develop more mindfulness and mental spaciousness this year – and maybe next year you will be in a better place to tackle those goals successfully.

 

Please comment:

A penny for your thoughts … (not literally, but you know what we mean – we’d love to hear your opinion and learn about your experiences).  Please add your comment/s below.

Do New Year’s Resolutions work for you?  What words of advice would you offer regarding setting New Year’s Resolutions?

Any and all comments welcome – whether or not you agree with what I’ve written.

 

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The Paradox of Personal Change

Paradox of Personal Change

Personal Change is paradoxical.

You might think that the more you hate the way you are, the quicker and easier it will be to change. Not so. The more we disapprove of ourselves and beat ourselves up, the less motivation and energy we have – for everything, including personal change. And without positive motivation our change efforts would have to depend on willpower alone, at the very time we feel depleted in energy and passion – and consequently, willpower.

 So, the Paradox of Change is that we tend to be more successful in making change when we can accept that we are perfectly O.K. just the way we are.

This might seem odd, but when you think about tackling change from the opposite perspective – how easy would it be to make desired changes, and how successful would we be if we start out with the belief and feeling that we are inadequate or not good enough. We would be embarking on our change project feeling depleted of worth and consequently depleted of energy, positivity and passion.

“But”, you may say, “I will be more motivated to change if I tell myself how bad things are, and how much worse they will get if I don’t change.” While it may intuitively feel helpful to use a stick for motivation instead of a carrot, it just doesn’t work that well for most people. Many people who use this method to motivate themselves do so because it’s the only method they know. If that is the case for you, learning new ways to approach change may be very liberating for you.

Being Real

I’m not talking about some ‘rosey-coloured glasses’ approach her. Clearly it is impossible to make a plan for change that has any chance of success without realistically assessing your starting point. The most obvious reason is that you need to know your starting point to know what route to take. This requires us to be objective and realistic in order that we can plan achievable steps towards our goal.

But we also need to achieve acceptance of where we are at in the sense of being compassionate and non-judgmental. If I feel bad or wrong about where I currently am in my life, this will affect my ability to maintain my motivation and my optimism. It may also affect my ability to believe that I deserve this change, and that positive life-enhancing changes are a natural part of my birthright.

Carrot Or Stick / Cheer-leader Or Bully

As I said, many people feel that they will be more motivated if they make themselves ‘face reality’ of just how bad or lazy or undisciplined or whatever that they are, then they will be motivated to quickly change. This doesn’t work. Just think about how you feel if some-one else tells you what an awful person you are. My guess is that this would make you feel smaller and less powerful to change things in your life. On the other hand, think about people who recognize your strengths and positive personal qualities, and are also really supportive when you are wanting to learn new skills or make changes either in your work-life or outside of work life. Most people find positive ‘cheer-leading’ style of support more helpful than ongoing criticism. And if you have ever trained a puppy, you will perhaps be aware that puppies respond better to kindness and rewards for good behavior than harshness and punishment for bad. Perhaps we are all puppies at heart.

What Do You Want, Really Really Want?

So being kind and compassionate towards ourselves about where we are now will help us to change. An important point is that we are talking about ‘where you are now’ not making an excuse and ‘accepting’ that it is OK to stay in this place. If I want to be slimmer or fitter, I need to accept, both in the sense of ‘getting real’ about my current weight and fitness level and also in the sense of accepting that I am a ‘perfectly OK’ person just the way I am – who is currently carrying more weight or is at a lower fitness level than I would like. From this starting point, I am in a good position to make a plan. And focusing on what we want e.g. “I want to be slimmer” or “I want to be fitter” is more helpful than focusing on what we don’t want e.g. “I don’t want to be as heavy and overweight as I am now” or “I don’t want to be as unfit as I am now” can be a lot more motivating. Having got clear about the direction we want to head in (as opposed to the direction we want to head away from) we can then start fleshing out the details of our goal, followed by developing a plan with clear and achievable steps.

Developing Self-compassion And Acceptance – And Making The Changes You Want To Make

For many people, being accepting of themselves, exactly as they are right now is easier said than done. If you are in the habit of constant self-criticism, developing the ability to see yourself ‘through a compassionate set of eyes’ is extremely important to improving personal wellbeing. A very useful tool as you take steps on this journey is Mindfulness. One of the main pillars of Mindfulness is compassion – for ourselves and for others. An attitude of compassion permeates Mindfulness meditation of all kinds, and is a particular focus of practices such as Loving Kindness Meditation. And as we become more aware, through practising mindfulness regularly, we more quickly notice self-critical thoughts and are able to interrupt them and move to a more compassionate focus.

The Change Academy approach is two-pronged – to encourage change, and help you to make the changes that will increase your sense of wellbeing and satisfaction with your life, and to encourage self-acceptance, helping you to develop your acceptance of yourself and your life, and to be able to notice and celebrate the many gifts, strengths, talents or qualities that you have.

Through fully embracing your strengths, you will have more to contribute to the world, and will experience a greater sense of satisfaction with your life.

 

A penny for your thoughts … (not literally, but you know what we mean – we’d love to hear from you)

I’d love to hear your opinion and learn about your experiences:  Please add your comment/s below.  

While we approach some changes with a positive motivation, often we are motivated to change by some ‘pain’ or dissatisfaction.  Something has happened that has forced us to face up to a situation which we have chosen to ignore – or ignore the implications of.  And in these circumstances it can be much more challenging to be accepting of our short-comings and limitations.  Can you think of situations in your life where focussing on self-acceptance has helped you to move forward in some area?  Of have you helped some-one else to reach a point of self-acceptance that has enabled them to move forward.  If so, please share your words of wisdom and tips.  (Please respect confidentiality and be careful not to share details of other people’s situations, just the tips, tools and resources that helped them to move forward).  

Any and all comments welcome – whether or not you agree with what I’ve written.

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