Sometimes, when caught up in the day to day, we lose perspective. That is especially true of self-improvement efforts. We have a tendency to want and expect change to come right away. We often forget that we have been alive for years – decades – and that expecting change to come overnight doesn’t make sense in the context of our long lives.
Expect Gradual Change with Setbacks, Not Magic Cures
With any self-improvement effort, whether it’s through therapy or something else, it’s all too common to give up after trying something once or twice and not noticing any meaningful change. But we spent our entire lives becoming who we are today, and we cannot expect to just magic that away after trying something a few times.
In order to see significant, long lasting differences, we have to get into the mindset that these things will always take time. They’ll take patience, practice, and the willingness and ability to respond to setbacks without giving up on the ultimate goal.
Progress isn’t going to be linear. It is sometimes going to feel that for every step you take forward, you’ll take two steps back. But what is important is not whether you feel that improvement “right away.” What matters is that you’re committing to that progress. Taking any steps at all is the victory. Learning to adapt and continue that way forward is what will ultimately bring success.
How to Improve Yourself and Overcome Setbacks
Patience, of course, is hard. One of the reasons people seek therapy is because they’ve reached their limit and they want to see progress right away. But it is always going to be a long term process. It’s just that the process is worth it.
If you’re struggling with patience, consider the following:
- Utilize Your Support System – If you have people in your life that support you, stay connected to them. They’ll help you get over some of the harder parts and help you see that it is worth it.
- Use Self-Affirming Language – Give yourself credit for the efforts you make, and remind yourself that, through the good and bad, the progress your making is progress that matters in the long term.
- Create Personal Rewards – Plan rewards that you can give yourself when you meet different, attainable milestones. These rewards can act as a reminder of what you’ve done, and also serve to help you see the smaller goals you’re meeting along the way.
Progress can feel slow. But life is long. You spent years becoming who you are. Learning to be patient with long term progress is what will help you continue to move forward.