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7 Steps to Making Real Change Last

making real changeWhat’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the term “Mindful Recovery?”

Is it Addiction? Trauma? Depression? Or maybe something else?

Maybe it’s all of those things, but I’m going to pose this moment to be a time to look back on the last year and ask yourself, “What afflictions have I suffered this year that I am in recovery for?” Maybe this last year you let stress get the best of you? Maybe your relationship slipped this past year as you got roped into more television programs or Facebook addictions. Maybe you did slip into abuse with drugs, alcohol, sex, work, or overly accommodating people in life who abuse you.

What’s going to be different in the coming hours, days, weeks and months ahead?

Perhaps the simplest path is to make the intention an awareness of the moments you get sucked into these destructive behaviors that you want to change. In this space of awareness we draw a second intention which is to get curious about what the feeling is that you’re trying to escape from.

I think where we make our greatest error is when we make those resolutions that say, “I’m going to go the gym more, meditate more, start playing guitar or bring the romance back.” This jumps the gun. There are so many steps that occur before taking action with any of these things. There’s already a built up resistance to them and to skip over that is a recipe for failure.

What if these changes you wanted to make were couched in less immediacy? It’s helpful to actually understand what going on with the auto-pilot that lives within each one of us.

Here’s 7 steps to get underneath the hood and give yourself the change of making real change last:

  1. Set a date to do whatever it is you want to do. Whether it’s the gym, yoga, spending more time with family, or getting all the alcohol out of the house.
  2. When that time comes, don’t do anything, just take a seat or lie down.
  3. Open up to the body, what is being experienced? What’s the urge? What emotions are there? Just open up without judgment, exploring this with curiosity, as if this was the first time you were getting to know yourself.
  4. Know you are the ocean, not the waves and urge surf. In other words, watch the sensations and emotions rise, peak and eventually fall.
  5. Put your hand on your heart and thank yourself for taking time out of all your daily busy-ness for your own health and well-being.
  6. Engage with whatever it is you wanted to engage with even if there’s only a few minutes left.
  7. Repeat the practice several times over and over again.

See if you can release whatever judgments are arising in your mind right now about whether this will or will not work. Don’t let yourself be enslaved by the judgments, instead let your experience be your best teacher. This is your year for a mindful recovery.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Photo by Eva Blue, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.

7 Steps to Making Real Change Last


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.


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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2011). 7 Steps to Making Real Change Last. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 4, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2011/09/7-steps-to-making-real-change-last/

 

Last updated: 29 Sep 2011
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