Did you ever watch the movie, the mummy?  There is one specific scene that my sister and I always quote when the other is in a rush or taking their sweet time. Essentially the main characters are about to be attacked, but the female protagonist needs to read hieroglyphics to escape, everyone is trying to rush her, and she <<sing songs>> “patience is a virtue”. The male protagonist then responds, “not right now it isn’t”.  And isn’t that true when we are trying to change habits, or behaviors, or make lasting change? Isn’t it true that patience is a virtue, until the moment we need something to change immediately?!

When it seems like the world is falling apart- the tantrums won’t end- the suicidal thoughts won’t go away- patience is the LAST thing on your mind.  We want a magic wand to fix everything. We work hard to see little progress – and that feels defeating. Yet, paying attention to those small changes is what shows us that what we are doing is actually working! 

When you are in the thick of it, noticing the little changes is one of the most difficult AND important aspects for motivation-ESPECIALLY for children!  One less tantrum a week, or 5 minutes less of a tantrum does not seem like a lot, however, it is an important indicator that there is bigger change along the way.  

Habits don’t form over night, so noticing, acknowledging, and most important PRAISING the little changes, will help to produce the bigger changes in the long run.  It takes 68 to 268 times of repetition to form a habit.  The range of times it takes to form a habit shows how difficult and individualized habits and change can truly be!  Where one individual or child or family member may see results faster, another may need a little more time and maybe even a little more praise.  We cannot compare rates of change – we simply need to accept and celebrate change as it comes. 

When we praise – we’re pushing ourselves and kiddos toward the summit of change. 

Even celebrating what may seem like the littlest of accomplishments,  Letting your kiddo know you noticed that they did not take their behavior as far as it has gone in the past or letting them know you noticed they utilized a coping skill when they were calming down. Noticing that they are making an effort   Acknowledging their hard work and effort during the process will go a long way toward inhabiting and motivating lasting change.  

This goes for your internal praise as well!  Imagine getting to a false summit, and giving up.  You have made it so far – you need to tell yourself KEEP GOING! YOU’VE GOT THIS! And you do.  There will absolutely be false summits along the way – and you’ve just got to keep going and encouraging one another. Are you allowed to be frustrated about the false summit? Absolutely.  Should you give up? No way! A false summit is often an indicator you are ALMOST THERE.

Because once you’ve reached your goal – you have now conquered your goal.  And how special is it to have completed a goal together. Building relationship.  Taking time to sit and celebrate and enjoy the view. “Look how far we’ve made it” “Look how far we came together”.  And can you imagine how it would feel to sit at the summit – and remember the one person who walked alongside of you in your darkest moment?  That is where lasting change and trust and relationship resides and flourishes. 

Leaving that mountain in the dust, and being able to move forward and live life abundantly together to work toward your next goals  {which you can now measure with our handy dandy measuring kit – frequency – intensity – duration}. 

And just like that you’ve conquered one mountain.  Keep climbing-Keep conquering- You’ve got this! 

*The information contained herein is not therapeutic advice nor a substitute for therapy. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health problem. If you are located within the United States and you need emergency assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are located within Colorado you may also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).

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