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The Stages of Change

https://experiencelife.com/article/the-stages-of-change/

experiencelife.com

The Stages of Change
Break a habit. Achieve a goal. Transform your life. At one time or another, most of us have embarked on an effort to change some part of ourselves or our lives. We've decided to stop smoking, to start saving, to drop a few pounds, or to get a new job.

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The Stages of Change

The Stages of Change
  1. Precontemplation: Not ready. Not now.
  2. Contemplation: Maybe soon — thinking about it.
  3. Preparation: Ready, taking small steps.
  4. Action: Doing the healthy behavior.
  5. Maintenance: Keeping on.
  6. Termination: Change fully integrated. Not going back.

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Successful behavior change

One potential problem when changing behaviors is that we're too often motivated by negatives such as guilt, fear, or regret.

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Change is a process

... not an event. The transtheoretical model (TTM) presupposes that at any given time, a person is in one of five stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance.

Each stage is a preparation for the next one, so you mustn't hurry through or skip stages.

Precontemplation

At this stage, you have no conscious intention of making a change. People in this stage tend to avoid reading, talking, or thinking about unhealthy behavior. However, their awareness and interest may be sparked by outside influences.

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Pre-Contemplation

In this stage of change, individuals are aware of the behavioral change they desire; however, they have no conscious intention of altering their behavior. They may be strongly influence...

Contemplation

In this stage of change, an individual acknowledges the problem and begins an internal debate about pursuing change. A lot of time may be spent in this stage as many may not be ready to commit to changing.

People often get stuck in this stage going back and forth between measuring the benefits and costs of behavioral change. A thorough cost-benefit analysis followed by a troubleshooting session can be helpful here, especially if it is done in written form.

Preparation

In this stage of change, individuals commit to the intention of changing in the immediate future and have accepted the costs and benefits. What determines the success of an individual in this stage is their commitment to exploring, planning and insuring.

Set up contracts with yourself, by setting specific measurable goals, and detailing how you will accomplish the task at hand, including contingencies in order to stay on track. 

Making a change in behaviour

Making a lasting change in behaviour can be very difficult. It requires a commitment of time, effort, and emotion.

Whether you want to lose weight, or accomplish another go...

Elements in changing a behaviour

To make a successful change, you need to understand three elements in changing a behaviour:

  • Readiness to change: Having the resources and knowledge to make a lasting change.
  • Barriers to change: Finding out what is preventing you from changing.
  • Likelihood of relapse: Consider what might trigger a return to a former behaviour.

Stages of the Change Model

The best-known approach to change is the Stages of Change or Transtheoretical Model, that was introduced in the 1970s as a way to help people quit smoking.

In this model, change happens slowly, and relapses are an inevitable part of the process. It has 6 stages:

  1. Precontemplation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparation
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance
  6. Relapse.