5 stages of change


                                        stagesofchangegraphic

The 5 Stages of Change Model is a very useful framework that describes the series of stages we go through to change our lifestyle habits. The critical assumption that underpins this model is that behavioral changes do not happen in one step, but through a series of distinct, predicable stages. Just realizing the stage of change you’re in may be helpful for you to succeed.

While this model was originally developed in the 1970’s to better understand how smokers are able to give up their addiction to cigarettes, it has since been used to understand changing just about any type of behavior. For the purposes of this article, eating unhealthy foods, or not exercising are the habits we are trying to change.

1) Precontemplation

People in this stage haven’t even thought about making any change to their habits and don’t recognize that they have a problem. They may be pessimistic about their ability to make change, or even deny the negative effects of their existing lifestyle habits. They pick and choose information that helps confirm their decision not to exercise, or eat better.

It’s difficult to reach, or help people in the precontemplation stage, because as they see it, there is no problem. It may take an emotional trigger, or event of some kind that can snap people out of their denial. It’s highly likely if you are taking the time to read this article, you are not in this stage.

2) Contemplation

During this stage, you are weighing the pros and cons, effort, time, finances etc. and benefits of lifestyle modification. You are contemplating whether it’s something that will be worth it. People can remain in this stage for years without preparing to take the next step forward.

I think setting very powerful, motivating goals and visualising your results can be very helpful for someone in the contemplative stage. If you can identify new ways that making a change will benefit you, the benefits will begin to outweigh the costs. We tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain, so the more pleasure you can envision the more likely you will move on.

3) Preparation

People in the preparation stage have decided to change their negative habits. Congratulations if you’re in this category! You may have just set up an appointment with a personal trainer, nutritionist, or other fitness professional, purchased a fitness program, or started a gym membership.

4) Action

The action stage is the process of changing your lifestyle, whether you are exercising more consistently, or eating healthier. Individuals in this stage are at the greatest risk of relapse, so it’s key to leverage any techniques you can to stay motivated.

5) Maintenance

This is the stage of successful, sustained lifestyle modification. If you have been exercising for years consistently and have developed positive habits into your lifestyle, then you are in the maintenance stage.

A lot of people tend to bounce between the contemplation, preparation and action stages, most people are “yoyo” dieters and exercisers. I think one way to prevent this yoyo effect from happening is to make small changes in your habits that over time create something meaningful.

In addition, yoyo dieters and exercisers should understand that maintaining physical fitness and changing fitness are two totally different paths that require different approaches. It’s not that difficult to maintain a given level of physical fitness just by remaining consistent (unless you are at a very high level). It’s very difficult, however, to prepare and take action to change your body. Our bodies are resistant to change, so trying to change them takes a MASSIVE effort that requires a substantial commitment, both mental and physical. Once you’ve changed your body, you can coast without losing that fitness level. It’s a lot better to cut back on exercise and maintain what you’ve gained then to stop completely. Quitters never win.

I hope these 5 stages of change are a helpful framework for you to reference when you are looking to make some type of change in your life.

Also remember that if you ‘fall off the wagon’ you don’t have to go back to the very beginning. For example if you stall at the action stage go back to the preparation, not as far back as contemplation. There will always be stumbling blocks, mental, physical, environmental etc.. the thing to remember is they stumbling blocks not a stop sign.

So, that concludes my article, but if you have any questions please put them in the comments box and together we can all be the best version of ourselves.

Stay hungry.

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Quote of the day

Quote


Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.

-Bradley Whitford

Fuel your ambition


With the new year upon us and a lot of us thinking of how to work off the festive fun here are a few tips to keep your diet in check.

1: Baby Steps

Change is hard. Making small, gradual changes in your eating patterns is the best way to overhaul your diet. Some experts suggest making just one change each week, to give you time to get used to the new behavior. Your ultimate goal is to establish new eating habits that can be sustained for a lifetime.

An excellent way to start is to stock your cupboards and refrigerator with healthy foods, and plan to prepare healthier meals at home

2: Be realistic, don’t over-extend

Most people who need to lose weight set lofty goals, dreaming of fitting into clothing sizes that may not be realistic for them. Yet losing as little as 5% to 10% of your body weight can improve the way you feel, put a zip in your step, and, most importantly, improve your health. Studies show that losing even small amounts of weight can improve overall health and, specifically, lower blood pressure, and blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Set weight loss goals that are attainable, and keep in mind that the recommended rate of weight loss is only 1-2 pounds per week. Slow and steady wins this race. It takes time to learn new eating habits that will last for the rest of your life.

3: Reward not punishment

To keep motivation high, reward yourself after reaching minigoals. After all, losing 5 pounds or making it to the gym five times in a week deserves a pat on the back. (remember don’t give yourself a food reward eg. A huge slice of cake for being good)

On the other hand, don’t be too hard on yourself when you fall off the wagon — everyone does, sooner or later. Anticipate that slipups will happen, and when they do, just brush yourself off and get right back on track. Use your slipup to learn where you are vulnerable, and decide how you will handle the situation the next time without abandoning your diet. My suggestion is try to do your best 80% of the time, and relax the rules somewhat the other 20% of the time.

I’ll put a few recipes together and if you have any of your own don’t be afraid to post them here!

Have a great day

Free your mind 


There are so many people whose minds do not belong to them. There are so many people whose thoughts have been purchased by people. There are so many people who have made people kings and queens of their thought. There are so many people who cannot sleep because of people. There are so many people whose lives are a small percentage of their own self and a greater percentage of others. When the offenses of people occupy your mind, your mind becomes the offenses of people instead of your own mind. To have your own mind and to be your own self, free your mind!
– Ernest Agyemang Yeboah