The Change Steps

For real and lasting change, you'll need DIPSDetermination, Intention, Practice, and steps?

D for Determination: When we've banged our heads against the wall enough, frustration points us to a new direction.  Yes, this really is a step.  Banging our heads is quite productive.   It produces pain that leads us to an alternative (unless we have learned helpnessness, which is another conundrum addressed elsewhere.)   We are determined to quit smoking, for example.

I is for Intention: To move or change, we need to be clear about what we intend. What is our desire or vision?  What do we want to be free of?   It helps to imagine the outcome of our change in great detail.   Imagining brings our body almost to the goal, and then we are ready to name the actions that will bring us there.  We intend strongly to take those actions that align with our goal.  So, we don't just imagine no cigarettes, we imagine how it will feel, what we will do when we have a craving, what will be the subsitute, how we will breathe after a month, how energetic we will feel, who will support us, and so on.  I can really go on about this.  

P is for Practice: Even when we know what we're doing, we have to practice over and over and over again to form a new pattern.  Relapse is expected and we don't make a big deal of it.  We use it to teach us what we need.  Perhaps we forgot to pack the celery, so when our best friend offers a hit, we can't resist.  

S is for Support: Practicing a new way is impossible without support.  It can come in the form of reminders from friends, written helpers, or any kind of structure that we can lean on.  Believe me, the imprints of history exert such a strong pull that you can easily find yourself sucked back into your old ways.  When you seek support, make sure it is connected to your original intention.  Nagging and criticizing will likely cause you to rebel, but remembering your vision infuses you with energy.  

(bows to Prochaska and Declemente for their research on change--I've sucked up what works for me).

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