Change can be a difficult thing deal with, even more difficult is changing yourself: your habits, your routines, and your lifestyle. What leads a person to change? It could be a new achievement, a loss, a trip to the ER, or a mundane event throughout the day.
When it comes to personal change, there are a few steps that we progress through: precontemplation, contemplation, determination, action, and maintenance which can lead to a permanent exit or often relapse. Do you think you are ready to make a change in your life? Are you finally so frustrated that your determination can push you to action? Take a look at the stages of change to see where you are and help motivate you to take the steps you need to finally make that change stick!
Precontemplation is the stage where you don’t see the behavior as a problem for you, even if others do; basically, you’re not even thinking about making a change. This could be how you feel about exercise until you see a compelling Facebook post from your best friend.
Contemplation is the stage where you may be aware of the ‘problem’ but you haven’t fully made the decision to change. Those in contemplation are considering a change and weighing the pros and cons; you may even try out a new behavior without committing to a change.
Preparation or Determination is the stage where you commit to the change and start making a plan for success. This sometimes occurs as a result of some other life event; a family member diagnosed with lung cancer can encourage one to stop smoking.
In the Action stage, things start changing; you’re putting your plan into action and making a change. The new behavior is very conscious in this stage and not yet a habit (but you’re making it one!). This is the point where you start your new workout plan and are choosing to follow through with it.
The Maintenance stage requires less effort in making a change, but rather awareness to prevent a relapse. Coaches and change theorists discuss the differences between a slip or lapse and a relapse. In the Maintenance stage you are likely feeling more confident and your new behavior is a habit. Just like any habit, there are days when things don’t go as planned; in this stage you are maintaining your new habit, making sure you get back to it the next day.
Termination or a Permanent Exit is when the new habit is now a permanent change.
What stage do you find yourself in? What push do you need to get to the next level? What changes have you been avoiding that could be a huge help in your life? Maybe it’s creating boundaries in an unhealthy relationship, quitting a bad habit, cutting an addiction, making healthier lifestyle choices, spending more time with loved ones, or creating some self-care routines. We all have changes that we can make to our routines, habits, and lifestyles that can produce positive growth. It’s about time we started making some of those changes!