What About Bob? Baby Steps and Tapping!

Written by: Nick Ortner

You might remember the movie, “What About Bob?” starring Bill Murray. It’s a great movie, and I end up watching it anytime I see it’s on TV – one of those that you can laugh at again and again. If you’ve seen it, you might remember the idea of “Baby Steps” from it. It’s one of the central comedic themes of the movie, but there’s actually a lot of truth and wisdom behind the concept.

In the movie, the concept of “baby steps” is made fun of quite a bit, and guess what, it is funny! 🙂 Watching Bill Murray, a highly manipulative obsessive-compulsive, drive his psychiatrist nuts makes for a funny movie. (And as serious as these issues are in real life, it’s so important to keep our sense of humor about them!) Beyond the humor, there’s actually a tremendous amount of wisdom and truth behind what “Dr. Leo Marvin” (Richard Dreyfuss) is teaching.

The concept of ‘baby steps’ actually makes a tremendous amount of sense, especially as we apply it to our journey of personal growth and healing. One of the things that first drew me to EFT Tapping was its speed and effectiveness. I had just never experienced something so profound, where I could see results, sometimes in a matter of minutes.

But as amazing as that is, it also makes it easy to get caught up in the notion that by doing tapping for 15 minutes, everything in your life will be “fixed”. Have I seen incredible things happen in 15 minutes? Absolutely. But have I seen even more incredible things from people (myself included) who made a commitment to taking ‘baby steps’ towards their personal development, spiritual growth, and healing? There’s no doubt about it.

The reality is that a sustained practice of using Tapping to simply address what’s right in front of us, and taking those consistent baby steps, is when the most incredible results happen.

So how exactly can you implement this concept?

The first step is to set yourself up to win. Oftentimes we make these grand pronouncements in our lives: “I’m never eating sugar again!” “I’m exercising every day for the next four decades!” “I’m going to get every item on my to-do list done in the next 24 hours!” “I’m going to overcome this life-long challenge in the next fifteen minutes!”

And, of course, that’s the opposite of setting ourselves up to win; we set ourselves up to fail. Because who can really meet these grand expectations? Inevitably, we “fail” or we break our word to ourselves. Stack these disappointments on top of each other for years or decades and you get to the point where you don’t even try anymore, or you have these limiting beliefs about yourself that say, “I’m not good enough,” “I never do what I say I’m doing to do,” “I can’t change,” and so forth.

How do we change this? Well, I certainly recommend tapping on the beliefs and on the previous disappointments as deeply as possible, but for the sake of this discussion, we’re going to start with ‘baby steps’! That means, address something that is in your way right now, some little thing that will move you in the right direction. Want to overcome a sugar craving? Spend 5-10 minutes tapping on your desire to eat sugar. Even taking a sugar craving down from an “8” (in intensity), to a “5” is a huge victory and a new place and perspective to act from.

Want to start exercising? Spend 5-10 minutes tapping on, “Even though I don’t want to exercise” Overwhelmed by your to-do list? Spend 5-10 minutes bringing yourself back to a place of peace.

Identify whatever is in front of you right now that is SPECIFIC and MANAGEABLE. If you want to overcome procrastination, pick something small you’ve been procrastinating on, think about doing it, and tap while you do so. Keep tapping on, “Even though I don’t want to do this…” until things shift for you.

Stop right now, take a deep breath, and just identify ONE small thing that you can tap on and clear out of the way. Take a baby step right now! Make it silly, make it fun, make progress!

“Even though I don’t feel like taking out the garbage and I’m annoyed that I always have to do it…”

“Even though I’m having a hard time thinking because there’s too much going on…”

“Even though I have this tension in my shoulders…”

Pick something, be specific, give it a number on the 0-10 scale and then tap until you see relief! Do it now (if you’re at work, just do it silently in your head while tapping. If people can see you, go to the bathroom for 5 minutes!)

I’m going to follow up this post with some more ideas around ‘baby steps’, rewarding yourself for a job well done, and patience, so look out for that soon!

P.S. We’re doing this tapping because we want to experience FREEDOM. Freedom from the limiting beliefs, the old patterns, the junk that’s holding us back. We want to fly free..we want to sail with the wind at our backs WITHOUT being tied down.

Watch another short clip from “What About Bob?” to see exactly what I mean! Yes, Bob is sailing, but is he really free? (He is taking a step in the right direction, though! If only he had EFT to help him! 🙂

Share your results below. What did you tap on? What do you think of taking ‘baby steps’? What do you think of ‘What About Bob?’ 🙂

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59 Comments on this post

  1. Meredith says:

    I love “What About Bob!” The message of approaching things in “baby steps” is very important to success, otherwise we do set ourselves up for failure! Thank you Nick and Jessica!

  2. Susan Cowan says:

    I liked this! Thank you – a help.

  3. E Wilson says:

    Feel frustrated when I act because people around too slow so usually I have to come back to the beginning and try again. I tapped on making an appointment to view a house – been going on over two weeks now.

  4. Lilly says:

    I tapped for many written assignments i need to finish before the vacation ends and for the American exams i need to prepare for. First, I went from 7.5 to 3, then from 3 to 0.5. And now it’s like 0.1? I feel so grateful for reminding me to do tapping on every baby step – it’s crucial to accomplish my goal which consists of all of those baby steps.

    Thank you
    God bless you

  5. Angele Garant says:

    Tapping is a super tool for me! I use it every evening to clear the issues of the day.
    While I do this more issues are comming up to my awareness. I can then address these emotions that had been influencing me negatively with more tapoing. Thank ! Angie

  6. Teeder says:

    Good way to get started tapping. Rather than wonder whether or not you have accomplished anything toward your long term goal, I tapped on an outstanding tax requirement and my procrastination in getting it done. Not a big chore, maybe an hour or so of paperwork and calculating, but an important thing to get in. Now its done. Thanks for the help. Baby steps worked right away and took away the skepticism regarding long term results. I believe tapping works more than ever.

  7. Larry D. Hooks says:

    This posting got my attention and I enjoyed the clips ~ I’ve been receiving the e-mails concerning tapping but have not tried tapping yet. I don’t know how. Does it really work?
    There are some things in my life i would like to change ~ baby steps seems possible. What
    do I do? . . . Blessings ~

  8. Trish says:

    I actually tapped on TAPPING!!! I have known about tapping for a couple of years, and have done it OCCASIONALLY, but not really stuck with it or used it as a tool on any regular basis. So after I did a couple of rounds of tapping on tapping, , I then moved to tapping on a personal goal I set three days ago about loving my body, strengthening my muscles, and reducing my weight by 12 pounds by Thanksgiving.
    And I really feel empowered, I believe I’ll be tapping my way towards that goal, because it’s really one I can do.

  9. Malu Afable says:

    Thank you, Nick…I do appreciate getting your posts and I hope if I simplify my daily chores to “baby steps” to get at least one thing done by year-end. I always have to be prodded by friends or associates to get my ass moving. Now that I look at it, It’s like being glued to a chair until someone jolts me out of it. I make to do lists for the week…I’d be lucky if I get one thing from the list done. It seems it’s the same listing I made last year except for the very few that I was nagged about. Truly, I’m the great procastinator…right now, can’t make up my mind where to start those baby steps…stuck with the answer “I’ll think about it.”

  10. irma zanini skeeles says:

    Wonderful ! Made me smile and start doing what I had been putting off for ages.

  11. Janet says:

    I’m a coach and baby steps is a concept we use with great success. I love how you’ve applied it to EFT. I will try it and I may suggest it to my clients as well! I also really want to see “What About Bob?” 😉 Thank you for this great post!

  12. What About Bob? Part 2 | The Tapping Solution says:

    […] (and some great clips!) If you missed that post, you can read it and watch the clips here: today’s post, we’re further exploring the concept of ‘baby steps’ as it […]

  13. marie says:

    Thankyou for the simplicity of these 2 clips – I agree it is so important to keep things simple and one step at a time – that’s what life is all about

  14. marie says:

    i feel desolate today as a tradesman i trusted has stolen my wallet. so I will tap on my feelings about that

  15. LuAnn says:

    I loved the clips and did see the movie a long time ago. Maybe I will see if it is available to me at home today to rent. I taped on apprehension for a mother/daughter relationship that needs healing. My daughter made the first “baby step” yesterday. I tapped for the fear and apprehension I feel about whether that one baby step could lead to others or not. I went from a 9 yesterday to a 5 today (without tapping and just sitting with the new development) to a 1-2 today (with tapping). Sometimes I let my impatience get the best of me. Both the “patience” and “baby steps” hit home with me at a very good time. Funny how it always seems to be that way if you are aware.

  16. Sandi says:

    I must have been hibernating for years 🙂 I have not seen this film but the two videos really made me laugh. I remember this type of lesson when I joined a pain management course and we were given a really good action sheet for reaching a goal. My goal was to write down a full list of all my ‘to-do’s’ and then prioritise. After five days and seven double-sided A4 sheets of things I wanted to do, I realised at least one of my problems !!! Lol. My action sheet consisted of setting a goal to reduce my to do list !! :))

  17. Kimbra says:

    That’s right just take baby steps one at a time one day at a time. Th
    That’s what I do when I feel overwhelmed with a project that may
    Be too big for me to handle. And tapping on the project has helped
    Me take baby steps in completing my project. Way to go Bob!

  18. Kelly says:

    I did the tapping on uncomfortable cramps immediately after watching the video and the pain subsided – I must use tapping every day on small things and then move on to the bigger things – I found by being specific the tapping was more effective.

  19. Nyla says:

    I used to “simplify” which led to an incredible ease in life. With aging I seem to have lost the ability to keep-up with my simplifying. This procrastination is cluttering my life, and stealing my joy. I’m fairly new to tapping, and hadn’t thought to use it for rejuvenating my old power of simplifying!!! Tapping has already cleared some of my health issues; I am positive it will bring back my simplifying abilities, thus my joy and ease in life. SIMPLIFYING IS BABY STEPS!!
    Thank you Nick, for being “My Hero” . . . . Your efforts are a blessing to many . . . Nyla

  20. Linda says:

    I enjoyed baby steps and have always applied one step at a time. However I am now taking a leap to move into a place where I will be nearer my grandson and son. I just tapped and feel good and know this is going to happen I feel it in my bones. Thanks for introducing me to tapping Nick God Bless you and Jessica Linda

  21. Joginder says:

    Great wisdom, ” Baby steps,” can be applied to anything. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Slavoljubka says:

    Thank you so much, I was enjoying every second of your video, laughing all the time, and wanted to watch again and again. It s so good when you mix something serious with something relaxed , and I see how wonderful life model is that. Also, it s so powerful to feel that everything is possible if you take it little by little, but always in direction forward. It s easier to win anything with you, thank you, love from Ljupka

  23. Annie says:

    I have so many different things going on in my life, and wear too many freaking hats, that even the baby steps that i need to take to keep them all moving keeps me in overwhelm, feeling spread to thin, and not effective in any. I think I need to unload about half of them from my plate. I am new to tapping. How would one tap on that?
    many thanks,

  24. susannah says:

    Yeah, that movie is a funny one – as Liz Lemon would say, “because it’s TRUE!” I think the messages within it are timeless. Many older movies don’t hold up as well. Taking baby steps to overcome a block actually gets me laughing – and that always helps!

  25. Vera says:

    Baby steps: good suggestion

  26. Nat says:

    Thank you for the incentive. I have the book, the tapes and the video, and read, listened and watched but still hadn’t been able to get started, Baby Steps was a huge help. I have the movie and love it, just hadn’t applied it to me, oh well! Started with one thing I have been avoiding and will continue with the bby steps. Thank you for the boost.

  27. Helen says:

    My tapping was around my feeling that I have to consult with someone else to make a choice. It could be a little thing or a big thing. During a large part of my life I was not “allowed” to make independent decisions. This is a hard habit to release! I am taking those baby steps to rewire myself to make my own decisions, take responsibility and move forward in freedom!
    Happily tapping on!

  28. Janet says:

    My feeling is baby steps helps you to live in the present at a pace that is easy and effortless. Add up those baby steps over time and you have a will have wonderful shift in how you feel , live your life and grow within…. A wonderful movie,, inspiring and thought provoking…thanks…

  29. Brynda says:

    Thank You…..
    As I have watched and related to this movie…i was more open today
    to your suggestion…
    Thank You

  30. dorothy says:

    I truly understand the baby step concept.But the tapping I don’t understand.
    I have been taking babysteps for nearly 2 years? I am no further ahead of
    what or where I want to be.I’m getting very frustrated.I don’t have a whole lot
    of baby steps left in this direction.When I usually change direction.OOps.
    I can’t chance that anymore.But I could stop the Baby steps and keep on trucking.
    I hope this makes sence to you??????

  31. Harriette Kohorn says:

    I can’t get any picture. I click and click to no avail. How do I get this picture you are talking about.?


  32. Kamala Kadley says:

    Thank you for reminding those of us who have forgotten that baby steps are what each of us began our journey to where we are today!

  33. Jose Rovira says:

    A long journey starts with the first step(chinese saying), and the small wins approach will build up your confidence to achieve your goal.
    Yes, I thought that the clip was great.

  34. Nora says:

    I just love you! You’re so right in every comment… Thanks and greetings from Mexico!

  35. Lisa says:

    Hysterical – thanks for the reminder to keep a chuckle in my day! I’ve been tapping and using tapping with clients…what a huge success. I have been having clients write their own affirmations and we discuss new neuropathways as a means of growth, contentment, and appreciation. In gratitude, Lisa Klein, MA, LMFT

  36. Kyodee says:

    LOVED the clips! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh those baby steps. How I wanted to fly off the blocks for the win 100 yards down the track at an Olympic world record pace! It’s been a VERY long journey for me and patience is still not my best virtue where healthy change is concerned, however, positive change doesn’t happen until the mind is truly ready and able. All I can do is the work and wait, and when frustration kicks in which is often, I can read these comments!

  37. Jim Lentz says:

    Really great advice & encouragement from Nick to remind me that my pain & problems wont just magically disappear always from doing some tapping. But it does work & does make it better. Baby steps are better than no steps toward relief & a more positive feeling in relationships. What can be more important? Certainly not money.

  38. Diane says:

    Loved that film, and yes it was very funny, When he followed the Dr to his house. Bob has that baby face that you really want to look after. Also baby steps are easy to remember We only have a limited concentration. Warmly Diane.

  39. Nicola says:

    I just think it is amazing you posted this today. This used to be one of my husbands and my favourite films. This Thursday would be our anniversary and the early hours of next Monday will be the first anniversary of his tragic and untimely death. I have used tapping since just before the tapping summit and it has helped me incredibly in many aspects of my life. Our 2 children have coped with this crisis in very different ways and I think this Baby Steps formula may be the approach I should adopt with the older one. Thank you Nick for introducing me to tapping and for jogging my memory about Baby Steps.

  40. Audrey says:

    I loved this movie when I saw it, and I am a retired Psych nurse. I think adults have a problem with baby steps – we think we should be beyond this. And most of us need more patience with any healing technique. I tapped on my sore neck I have been dealing with. I tapped longer than usual, and it felt good. I tried to go in a little deeper, and deal with undrlying beliefs. Thanks for this exercise!!

  41. C J Hero says:

    The trouble with baby steps at my age I have’t got to many steps to go and would like to enjoy life to the end.which might not be to far away.Leaps and bounds would be more to my likeing.

  42. Janet Doherty-Anderson says:

    I need this video to remind myself to become more frugal and live within my income.
    I ama widow of 73 years and find myself overspending.
    I need to stick to my budget and eliminate those bad choices which leave me empty handed.
    Thank you!

  43. Gerri says:

    What a wholesome way to live. To just do what we can even if its a little baby step. There is great joy in this.

  44. Liza says:

    Thank you! I did not know about the movie ‘What About Bob’ (also the name of my brother who was somewhat like this Bob)… I enjoyed the clips you offered and it really made be laugh. I love this sense of humour and the wisdom that we can learn from it. I don’t know much about EFT Tapping, but from what I have seen, I am sure that it can be applied to the ‘Baby Steps’ formula. And I do think that it is the best method for reaching our goals.

  45. Terry says:

    Definitely inspirational. Overwhelm for me has led to procrastination on getting things done that I have been wanting to do for some time now. I tap every day on procrastination but after watching and reading this, I think I’ll shift my focus a bit and just pick out the first important thing to do, and then just get that done. Then, the next most important thing and the next and so on until I actually have eaten that elephant and gotten done what I would like to have already completed. Baby steps. Interesting new way to frame it. Now, let’s see if it works. It couldn’t hurt.

  46. Ginny says:

    I absolutely love the movie “What About Bob?” But have not given myself the opportunity to enjoy it for years. How good it was to see the clips again. It inspired me to use the message of “baby steps” in my real life. My baby step today is to remove enough backed up paper works (years worth) so I can sit and work at my home desk. Maybe tomorrow’s baby steps will be to actually do some organizing of my desk. How good that would feel. I feel I could then tackle other things in my life. Thank you

  47. kesavan namboothiri krishnan says:

    I cannot help but keep Tapping my way through this planet. Baby steps is adding to the Spiritual basis and encounter all problems faced by modern society.

  48. marie says:

    Thank you so much Nick! This will help us all to have a better quality of life. I am working with the tapping solution with my clients and it is working wonders. Now I can advise on ‘baby steps’. Great advice and keep the advice going.

  49. Mary says:

    I’m not a fan of baby steps for myself but I think i need to be more compassionate for those that truly need baby steps, and then I can practice patience and endurance.

  50. Nancy says:

    I have followed your Tapping Solutions, sometimes doing them, sometimes not. As to what happened today with this posting was different for me. I used procrastination, since it is 11 a.m. where I am and I have done NOTHING so far, even though I was up early. As I tapped on my chosen subject, other specific things fell out of my mouth unbidden. It was like a mind dump and it took three rounds before all those things had been listed. When I started putting in the positives, I found I really believed them, there was a feeling of “Of course I can” do everything I need to efficiently since I am well organized and find creative solutions to problems easily. I would say I went from a 9 to a 2, so I’m off this computer and into my day. Thanks for the nudge.

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