If this title caught your eye, I’m guessing you’d like me to answer with a reassuring “oh, six sessions should do it.” But I’m not going to lie or beat about the bush. Change takes way way longer than any of us really want to admit.
Supposing you cut the thumb of your dominant hand and have a plaster/band aid around it. Suddenly, your attention is focused on the soreness and how annoyingly difficult it is to do things which would normally be easy: pick up the kettle, turn on a tap, put a key in the lock, write, type. With the best will in the world, your thumb is going to take about a week to heal. No amount of cajoling or criticism will make it heal faster. The body just takes time.
Suppose you want to change a behaviour, something important to you like slowing down and being more present. Most likely, way before you had words, your body responded to a perceived unsafe stimulus in your environment (like a dog barking). In that moment of uh-oh, your body naturally found a mechanism to keep you safe, reflecting that whole “survival
of the fittest” theory. Let’s say it kept you on the move rather than shutting down in a freeze response. Just like Pavlov’s dogs, we become accustomed (trained actually) to be a certain way under pressure. It’s a safety shortcut – don’t think (anyway there’s no time) just act to stay safe. Then we practice this over and over again so we become really good at it.
Imagine the top ten tennis players. How many times have they practiced over the decades? Even when they’re playing in a tournament, they keep on practicing in-between matches, reflecting a process called embodiment. It takes 300 repetitions of some action to get it in to your muscle memory; 3,000 repetitions to get something embodied so it’s just your new natural way; 10,000 repetitions for mastery.
When consulting someone like me with a desire to change, one hour a week isn’t going to do much of anything. You need to practice things repetitively over time to grasp and sustain change. Which means homework. Ugh for most of us. And that’s why we often give up on change, lose our motivation, because change isn’t easy. It takes commitment, focus and benefits significantly from support.
If you’d like that kind of support, feel free to email or call to get started.