In the long run, you can avoid frustration and get what you want.
Posted Nov 18, 2014
Patience is valuable for coping with long lines, being put on hold, or interacting with disagreeable people. Without realizing it, however, you might be especially impatient with yourself. Real inner change takes time, and the danger of impatience is that you can end up feeling angry and frustrated with yourself when you don’t see quick results.
Patience takes a great deal of inner strength. In fact, patience is inner strength! And you need a lot of it to stay on the slow road to change and recovery from a food addiction or any destructive behavior. Every breakthrough in recovery, no matter how small, should be considered an extraordinary achievement. All your small accomplishments along the way to recovery add up to the big one—freedom from addiction. There are not quick fixes when it comes to change a lifetime of self-destructive thinking and bad eating habits. It’s a day-by-day process that can go on for many years or even decades. If you have the patience, if you can wait for yourself to get there, it can happen.
Your lack of patience might stem from false beliefs about yourself. For instance, you might think you should be able to handle everything yourself or that you’ll never really be able to change. You might think there is only one way to accomplish your goals and become impatient with yourself when that way doesn’t work for you. For instance, if you’ve been dieting your whole life and you’ve never permanently kept off excess weight, you might feel impatient with the idea of trying a new approach. If you’re impatient, it will be difficult for you to take the baby steps often necessary to reach your goals.
Rather than get discouraged or anxious when your progress is slow, remember that change is supposed to take time. Remind yourself that you are on the path to recovery from an addiction or bad habits that have been with you for a long time. Continue to give yourself credit for everything you’ve accomplished so far.
Short-term goals are useful when you’re feeling impatient with yourself and change is going slowly. Set a small goal for today and think about what you need to do to achieve it. This helps you feel in charge of your life again, because you’re making something happen while waiting to reach your long-term goals.
If you need help developing more patience, try one (or all) of the these exercises:
- Focus on daily, short-term goals rather than on your long-term (bigger) goals.
- Approach life a day at a time, or even an hour at a time, if you must.
- Stay in the present. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Patience means taking the time to gather your resources, doing your homework, and waiting until the right moment to make a big decision. You might want to lose weight and, if you’re impatient, you might be tempted to go on yet another crash diet, even though the odds are against your long-term success. In all likelihood, you’ll lose a little weight, you’ll gain it back, you’ll find yourself in the same place you started, and you’ll have to start again from scratch. In the long run, you’ll have to wait longer for what you want than if you had the patience to lose weight a little more slowly and by healthier, more natural means that are more likely to give you permanent results.