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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless
– Jamie Paolinetti
Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.
However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “
Moral:In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.
Which one are you?
Rise and grind people
Its Friday, its almost the end to another fantastic working week (unless you are in retail)
So think about all those achievements you have achieved this week (come on there must be some, think)
So its Friday, you’re last day of the week to make an impact. Finish strong and stay hungry!!!