What Are Gradual Step-by-Step “Choices”? (Article)

By Dr. Patricia Carrington

The Choices Method is a rapid highly targeted method for getting more precise results with Meridian Tapping.  Correct?

Well, most of the time.  Certainly the Choices method can cut right through resistance of the kind that may be encountered with the default self acceptance phrase "I deeply and completely accept myself", and go straight to the heart of the matter.

BUT –– every rule has its exceptions, and I'm going to

EFT Choices Manual

tell you about an exception to the way the Choices Method works.

For some people and under some circumstances a Tapping Choice you think you want and in fact which part of you may want strongly, can actually be ineffective and sometimes contraindicated because it may trigger too many of what Gary Craig calls "Tail Enders" for you to handle comfortably.

Tail Enders, as you may remember, are the hidden objections ––negative self-suggestions actually –– that so often counteract our best worded affirmations. They can undermine what we are trying to do consciously very effectively.  Like an undertow that powerfully pulls back the water on an ocean beach, these negative statements are a form of subliminal speech in the back of our minds which, like the undertow, can defeat our purposes very effectively.

An inconvenient thing about Tail Enders is that you often don't realize they are occurring when they do, This makes it possible for them to undermine Meridian Tapping or any other positive self development method.

Of course one of the ways you can handle Tail Enders is to stop what you are presently tapping on, and turn to the Tail Enders themselves, making them the target of your next tapping session. You will now be tapping on the Tail Enders themselves until they are neutralized.

This can be a very useful way to proceed, but in the Choices Method, we also have another option, and that is to build the antidote to the Tail Ender, the phrase that will eliminate it, right into the Choices phrase itself, and here is where gradual step-by-step Choices can be of great help.

A gradual step-by-step Choice moves you very slowly toward your eventual goal, and because of its non-threatening nature, it has certain strong advantages.  It often bypasses hidden resistance, just seeming to glide right past it. 

Let me give you an example.

Suppose you have an irrational and compelling fear of becoming wealthy (yes, such fears do occur and far more often than you might suspect).  A gradual step-by-step Choice for such a fear would reach for the abundance you want while at the same time dealing with a potential Tail Ender (in the form of a fear of being wealthy). A gradual Choices statement for this problem might go something like:

"Even though I don't like the idea or of being thought of as "rich", I choose to see this in an entirely new light." (this statement is indefinite enough to be non-threatening to most people).


"Even though I don't like the idea of being thought of as "rich", I choose to begin to think about the advantages in our society of having people think that I am rich." ("begin to" does not push one too hard to change too rapidly).


"Even though I don't like the idea of being thought of as "rich", I choose to have a glimpse of a new view of wealth that would make being wealthy a positive and comfortable situation for me."  (a "glimpse" is a gradual step).

Other gradual Choices phrases might be:

"I choose to be open to the possibility of seeing advantages to being thought of as wealthy."


"I choose to be like (someone you know who thoroughly enjoys being wealthy)". (this concept is once removed from you and thus the change can be less threatening).

Any number of other reframes could be used here as a Choice.  The point is that the gradual wording avoids a frightening commitment for most people and they retain control over being forced to change too fast.

Moderate step-by-step Choices are thus likely to lead toward a recognition of new possibilities without causing unnecessary anxiety.

I will give you one more example to clarify this point.

My client, "Jack" was so threatened by the thought of switching careers that he could not even consider using a Choices phrase such as, "Even though I'm alarmed at the thought of changing careers, I choose to find a new career that fits me perfectly." This phrase might work for many people, but for Jack it activated an inner voice that whispered to him,"Oh yeah?  Do you think you're going to find the answer now when you know you've tried hundreds of times and failed to come up with an idea that's workable?…  Remember the last time you thought you would find the perfect career and how you fell on your face and it just didn't work out." etc.

When I suggested to Jack that he use a gradual step-by-step Choice instead, one which would help him to deal with his career issue without causing resistance, he agreed to try the following phrase and it worked for him:

"Even though I'm threatened by the idea of changing careers, I choose to realize that there might be another way of looking at career change that could feel really comfortable."

Tapping on this led to his being able, later, to use the following Choice:,

"Even though I'm threatened by the idea of changing careers, I choose to begin to see other possibilities for a new career that would be enjoyable for me."

The wording of these Choices was acceptable to Jack because it didn't commit him to too rapid change, and he was able to dig into the problem by using regular, strongly worded Choices. Had we not started gradually, however, he would almost surely have backed away from the issue altogether.

Here is a rule of thumb with regard to gradual Choices:

If a particular Tapping Choice seems impossible or outrageously different from anything you have ever known, or if it seems entirely out of character for you to endorse such a Choice, then allow yourself to create a Choice that approaches your goal in small acceptable steps instead of one single big one.  I have seen this do wonders to change deep-seated attitudes in a relatively short period of time.

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