So you think you are ready to make a change. To exercise more regularly, to sleep 7-8 hours each night, to become a morning routine person. Maybe you’ve even done it before. Made that commitment and introduced a major, real change to your lifestyle. Why is it easy one time and nearly impossible another?
Let’s discuss “readiness for change”. In his book, Changing to Thrive, psychologist James Prochaska outlines his Transtheoretical Model of Change. Sounds a little ominous but it is describing the 6 stages you experience when you attempt to change a behavior. Over the course of the next 2 months, I will be sharing more about the model and the book. In the meantime, should you desire to learn more, http://jprochaska.com/books/changing-to-thrive-book/
This model involves the state of feeling, awareness, judgments, perceptions, and behavior. The Transtheoretical Model describes the process of change in 6 stages
1. Precontemplation — You have no intention to change or take action within the near future. You may even be in denial that there is a problem. In this stage, you may be uninformed about the consequences of your behavior or you may have failed at previous attempts to change. You may want others to change or you may minimize or rationalize the need for a change. Move yourself forward by educating yourself about your desired change, what are the benefits, how might you achieve the change, etc..
2. Contemplation — You intend to change within the next 6 months. You are aware of both the positive effects and the negative effects of change. This can cause uncertainty as to which approach to follow and result in procrastination and the inability to make a move to change. Take your ideas for change and begin to form concrete, achievable action steps. Focus on the solution not the problem.
3. Preparation — You plan to take action within the next month. You have prepared a plan of action and even made your intention public. . Finding a program of action that would assist with behavior change will be beneficial. In this stage you need to spend time reviewing your plan of action and troubleshooting to give you the final reassurances you may need.
4. Action — This stage has the most visibility to others . The change you make is overt and requires significant modifications in your behavior and way of life. You make the change you have been preparing for in previous stages. A relapse to your old behavior/habit, sends you back to one of the earlier three stages. This stage requires the greatest commitment of time and energy. Stay Focused!
5. Maintenance — You are not working as hard as in the Action mode, but you are working to prevent a relapse. You have confidence that your change can stick. This stage is long and requires consistent attention. There most likely will be relapses but further apart now. This is normal so continue to set new goals and check-in with your progress..
6. Termination — This is your ultimate goal. You exit the cycle of change. Your habit or lifestyle change has become permanent. You are equipped with support systems and back up plans that will get you back on track quickly should you have a slight falter. It is important that you take time to occasionally reflect on the positive impact this change has made for you.
So, what stage are you currently in? Let’s discuss how to move you forward in the cycle.