In recovery from PTSD, depression, addiction, or anxiety, the idea is not to revolutionize your life overnight.
It’s not to finally find THE ANSWER that you can immediately use to overhaul how you think, feel, and behave all at once.
(That answer doesn’t exist, anyway. At least, not outside the minds of Internet marketers.)
The idea is definitely not to comprehensively address every problem, in every area of your life, all at the same time.
I know, I know. There are definitely gurus out there promoting systems and techniques they say can do all of the above.
The self-help world has kind of a “go big or go home” ethos that drives it— and that’s definitely appealing to a lot of people, who have struggled for a long time to make their lives work.
I don’t blame them. I’d want that comprehensive, near-magical answer, too…if it existed.
I definitely don’t have that perfect system, technique, or philosophy for you.
What I want is for your recovery to be real.
I want it to exist in the real world— not the fantasy, wish fulfillment world.
I want you to have the most realistic chance of actually changing your life, in the long term, that you can possibly have.
And that’s why my mantra isn’t “go big or go home.”
My mantra is, “if you want to go fast, go slow.”
Often times, when we take too much of a running leap at recovery, we end up biting off more than we can chew.
We sacrifice stability for speed— which leads to neither.
We get our hopes up and set our goals sky high…then, when we get overwhelmed, we get discouraged by the whole process of recovery and life improvement, and we end up going down a rabbit hole of avoidance and self-soothing that can really stall out our values and goals.
How can we avoid this?
In recovery, it’s super important that we don’t try to change too many things at once, or change anything too much at once.
We want to think and move in increments.
We don’t want to leap forward. We want to nudge forward.
You know all of those inspirational memes about how you need to get outside of your comfort zone? That’s true, to an extent…but what those memes neglect to tell you is that you don’t want to leap too far out of your comfort zone at any one time.
You want to take baby steps out of your comfort zone.
A lot of people struggle with this idea, because they really, really want to radically change their lives right NOW.
They’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. They feel they’ve waited enough.
Believe me, I totally get it. I’ve been there. I know what that feels like, and I hear what they’re saying.
But something I’ve learned, over years of work on myself AND training and experience as a psychologist, is that trying to sacrifice stability for speed just doesn’t work.
If you try to shake things up too much, you’ll lose your balance. It’s not a matter of “if;” it’s a matter of “when.”
And when that does happen, you’re likely going to be left in the position of feeling frustrated and silly for having thought you could make that quantum leap forward without consequence…so much so that you might be tempted to give up on moving forward at all.
I know taking baby steps is not the most inspiring thing in the world.
I know that systems and teachers offering quantum leaps forward are flashier and sexier.
But you want to know what’s REALLY flashy and sexy?
Devising a real-world plan for recovery that ACTUALLY works, because it’s stable and sustainable.
Try that on. See how it fits— over time.