Solution-focused therapy encourages forward progression in several ways, one of which is to look for past successes (and exceptions to the problem) and build off of those. In goal setting and achievement I encourage my clients to consider the smallest change they can make immediately, as well as the very first, smallest sign of progress they will notice. We are most likely to achieve and maintain large goals in small steps, undertaking one at a time, rather than trying to create an entirely new life or way of being over night.
In general people do not pay enough attention to how successful and powerful they actually are already. Preparing a healthy lunch rather than stopping at Taco Bell just one day is a major change for that day. A smaller change would be to go to the same eating establishment, but order lighter fare instead of the usual. Too often people do not even consider the accomplishment of altering one’s daily pattern and do not count a change until it is a habit. When you are not giving yourself credit for our achievements along the path to a larger goal, you will feel like you have not made any progress and all your hard work has been for naught. Reaching high goals takes time, but you can progress down the path every day. Recognize what you are doing and what you have done. This will encourage you to keep going and increase your self-esteem.
In the same way, recognizing your achievements can encourage you to undertake even higher goals and take bigger steps at a time. As I started back into my running habit, I remembered how far I had run during the Indy Mini without training or preparation. I doubled my normal first day’s run and felt fine the next day. I realized that my endurance is higher than that with which I was crediting myself, and I immediately achieved more. How much more quickly will I meet my recovery goals at this pace?
It is my guess that you have achieved more than you are considering. How have you been successful in your career? What have you done right? What do you do well on a regular basis? On what aspects do you receive compliments? Highlight your achievements, even the small ones. Every day (or every hour!) take stock of what you have done well. Did you order water rather than soda? Did you take the stairs rather than the escalator? Did you order your dressing on the side? These were conscious choices that took effort and discipline. Well done!