Have you ever had the upmost intentions of making your life better but just couldn’t follow through?
How many times do you say to yourself— “I want to get healthier and feel better but I just can’t, I always fail!”
Today I want to introduce a topic called Stages of Behavior Change. The Transtheoretical Model or Stages of Change is a psychological model that helps us understand behavior change.
There are 5 stages of change. Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance.
Pre-contemplation is the first stage. People in the pre-contemplation stage are not aware of a need to change. Let’s use an example as someone who does not exercise. They see no need to exercise are uninformed or unmotivated to make any changes to their current lifestyle in the next 6 months or more.
Contemplation is the next stage. People in contemplation stage are aware there are pros and cons of making a behavior change. They are weighing the benefits and risks of beginning to exercise. They are not ready to take action right away but may intend to change within 6 months.
Preparation is the third stage. People in the preparation stage are ready to take action. They have usually already taken small action steps. They have a plan of exercise or are joining a gym within the month.
Action is the fourth phase. People in the action stage have made specific changes in their lifestyle. There should be an observable change in the behavior change. They have been modifying their behavior significantly within the last 6 months. They have gone from 0 days of exercise to 3 days a week.
Maintenance is the last phase. People in the maintenance stage have successfully made lifestyle changes. They actively work to prevent any relapses into old behavior habits. They can be in a maintenance phase anywhere from 6 months to 5 years before the behavior change becomes absolute. They have been exercising consistently for a year and now are in a solid routine. They actively monitor rest days and make sure not to fall into an inactive lifestyle pattern again.
It can be really helpful to evaluate where you are in the behavior change cycle. I would like to emphasize that it is a CYCLE. People easily take steps backwards and forwards so the process is not linear. In a 1990 Surgeon’s General Report about tobacco smokers 43% of returned to smoking after a 12 month period of maintenance.
Well that’s depressing, right? So how do we make sure we’re not that 43%?
1- Be patient with yourself. Behavior change is one of the HARDEST things to do as a human being. If you stumble a bit just return to your why and evaluate how to proceed.
2- Be realistic with your goals. Setting small, achievable goals sets you up for success (see “last blog” )
3- Be honest with yourself. If you are feeling apprehensive or negative feelings towards change evaluate your current stage. Maybe you need to adjust your thinking or patterns to be more successful.
4- GET SUPPORT! Humans are social creatures whether we like it or not. It is very important to have accountability like minded individuals. When making tough behavior changes, you need to find people who will support and believe in you so you can feed off our their strength.
Remember that behavior change is hard but definitely do-able! You just have to have a great plan, awesome support and overall dedication. I would love to help you explore the changes you should make to CRUSH your goals! Apply for my coaching program 💪🏼