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Nothing is Changing

Measuring success in the world of brain and nervous system rewiring can be tricky. It’s a very different experience than most other things. We are all used to clear ways to define or measure success. Score a 98% on a test? Success! Run faster your personal best time? Success! Your boss tells you that you are doing a great job? Success! The rules are often much clearer in other arenas and can get quite murky when it comes to the rewiring process.



The natural inclination is to try and measure success by our symptoms. We all have lots of past experiences where this was an accurate indicator of healing. When you have a cold and your fever starts to go away it’s a sign that you are getting better. When the swelling decreases from a sprained ankle, it’s an indication that your ankle is healing. A small cut on your arm that is no longer red let’s you know that it’s getting better.


But our symptoms go up and down and all around when we are retraining the brain and nervous system. They are not an accurate measure of success or proper implementation of the program. As we step away from using our symptoms to measure success, we often get pulled into using our training zone/capacity to measure our success. As long as we can do more than we were able to the day or week before, we feel ok and that we are making progress.


The problem with this is that our training zone/capacity goes up and down during the recovery process too. It's not a neat and tidy staircase that we continue to climb in an orderly fashion. It's totally normal for it to get smaller at times and expand at others, and we often get pulled into pushing through or feeling like we are stuck when it gets smaller. So it’s not a good indicator of success either.


So how do we measure success? By starting to notice all the things that a client referred to as “the not so fun, sparkly twinkly changes that we all like to share." It’s super exciting to share that we ate pizza for the first time or walked in the park for the first time in years, but then what happens during all the in-between times when our training zone/capacity for walking is smaller or staying static? Look for the not so sparkly twinkly changes:


-your awareness is increasing

-learning to pause

-self-love and self-acceptance are increasing

-you are responding instead of reacting

-setting boundaries

-your capacity to be with challenging emotions is increasing

-your bandwidth for navigating stressors is growing

-becoming aware of the fawn response and working on not getting pulled into it

-learning to be ok with the discomfort that arises with uncertainty

-not pushing through

-becoming aware of your needs and honoring them

-your ability to show up and use your tools when you’re triggered has increased

-stepping into speaking your truth

-self-compassion is growing

-learning to stay calm and not resist symptoms when they arise



The not so sparkly twinkly changes are often challenging to step into and can have some discomfort associated with them. They are also much harder to quantify, which can make it harder to notice the growth and positive change. But they are foundational for healing, so please celebrate them with the same gusto that we reserve for that first bite of pizza.



Want to learn more about measuring success and working on patterns that are foundational for healing?

Join my upcoming Recovering Together Class:





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10 Comments


Guest
May 24

AWESOME! I love how you explained a new way of measuring progress. That's been a stuck point of mine since the beginning. 💓

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I'm so glad it was helpful for you!

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Guest
May 24

Great perspective, Connie 🙏🏼 it’s so important to (get help to) see all the deep but not so sparkly wins ♥️

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It's easy to look over those no so sparkly wins. I'm glad it helped.

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Thank you for this Connie. I really appreciate the list of not so sparkly changes. I know for me each of those represent big changes on the path to who I want to be.

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You're welcome, Faye. So glad it was helpful. 💜

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Guest
May 24

Thanks for sharing. Great article as always. ❤️

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Thank you! I'm happy you enjoyed it.

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Guest
May 24

Super helpful, thank you Connie.

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Replying to

You are so welcome!

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