Transitioning is a good option for those who do not want to do a big chop in order to go natural.
It is a more lengthy process, but if you are not comfortable wearing a short cropped do this is the better option. Here are some things that you should know to help you along with your journey.
During your transitioning phase you are going to be dealing with two textures. Your natural curl pattern and your chemically processed ends.
This will cause two issues for you: inconsistency of texture and a higher potential for breakage.
To work against these dilemmas you will need to have a good moisturizing routine and you should implement low manipulation or complete protective styles to reduce the amount of breakage that you will have.
Your hair in its natural state is more prone to dryness, so you probably want to evaluate the products that you are currently using. Does your shampoo contain sulfates? Is your moisturizer really doing its job?
To increase moisture retention you may want to try co-washing instead of shampooing so often and your moisturizer should contain water as it first ingredient.
Low manipulation styles that are good for transitioning hair included bantu knot outs or twist/braid outs paired with roller sets.
(The rollers or the bantu knots will help to make your texture more consistent by curling up your ends. Complete protective styles include buns, cornrows, or flat twists because you are not manipulating your hair at all on a daily basis.
Eventually when your hair reaches a length that you are comfortable with you can say bye bye to the straight ends by clipping them off.
To help you along the way another great source for info that is solely dedicated to transitioning hair, check out Napturallycurly.com. She has great info and her hair has grown so long since her transitioning days.