Dr Andrew E Lima

Psychologist – Chester NJ 07930

Mustering The Courage to Change

Mustering The Courage to Change

One issue I frequently encounter in my practice is people who want to change some part of their life and yet struggle to do so. “I’d love to lose weight… I need to be better about my finances… I want to be there for my kids more often… Work less… Drink less… Spend more time reading…” The list goes on and on. And although I am a psychologist, I am not absolved from this curse. I can’t tell you how often I sit in front of my piano with an idea of something I want to work on and only do it for a couple of minutes before giving up and kicking myself later for not spending more time on it. Given that this experience is ubiquitous, perhaps this is all a part of the human experience and not necessarily a sign that something is inherently wrong with you. After all, there is no “Lack of Motivation to Change” diagnosis in the DSM…

There are specific diagnoses that make one more prone to being stuck. For example, issues such as Depression, Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Anxiety, and PTSD can lead to greater difficulty in making a change. Regardless if you have one of these diagnoses or not, here are a few easy ways you can get yourself unstuck.

  1. Recognize that change is hard and give yourself a break. Some days it may feel easier than others. If it continues to feel impossible however, perhaps you need to reconsider the nature of the change being sought.

  2. Take baby steps! A few years ago I was hanging out with a friend who works as an architect. He was telling me about the plans for this massive building he was working on, overwhelmed with the enormity of the project I asked, “how is this even going to come together?” He immediately responded, “one brick at a time dude…” In the same respect, whatever it is you are seeking to improve will only happen slowly and gradually. Step into that and be okay with it while celebrating your small gains along the way.

  3. Try to build rewards for yourself to increase your motivation to change. I’m currently working with a patient who is constantly beating themself up for not completing small remedial (boring) tasks we humans inherently despise doing. You know, things such as paying bills, responding to emails, and fixing minor issues around the house. This person also really enjoys watching television to avoid said tasks. We worked out a system in which this person would set a timer for a reasonable amount of time their attention span would allow (such as 5, 10, or 15 minutes) where they would try to get as much done as possible in that time frame. After the timer went off, they would reward themself with some television. And guess what? It was a success! Finding a way to reward the seemingly mundane is an excellent way to propel us forward in life.

If you continue to feel that you are struggling with making a change in your life, call me today at (201) 212-5049. Psychologists can be quite helpful in accelerating the change process by eliminating roadblocks that might be getting in your way of making a change.

Andrew Lima, PsyD

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