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The 6 Stages of Behavior Change

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-stages-of-change-2794868

verywellmind.com

The 6 Stages of Behavior Change
Change can be difficult and people go through some key stages when making a change. Learn how to apply the Stages of Change Model when setting a goal.

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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 goal, there is no single solution that works for everyone. During this period, many people become discouraged and give up. The key is to try other techniques and find new ways to stay motivated.

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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.

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Stages of the Change Model

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.

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Precontemplating change

During this stage of change, people are ignorant of the problem, claiming their behaviour is not a problem. You may feel resigned to your current state or think you have no control over your behaviour.

Strategies involve asking yourself some questions:

  • Have you ever tried to change this behaviour?
  • How do you realise that you have a problem?
  • What would have to happen for you to think your behaviour is a problem?

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Contemplating change

People become increasingly aware of the potential benefits of making a change, but the costs to make the change creates conflict and uncertainty that can last months or even years. People in this stage view change as a process of giving something up rather than a means of gain.

Important questions to consider:

  • Why do you want to change?
  • Is there anything preventing you from changing?
  • What are some things that could help you make this change?

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Preparing for change

During this stage of change, you might begin making small changes to prepare for a larger change. For example, if losing weight is your goal, you might switch to lower-fat foods or join a health club.

Some steps you can take to improve your chances of successfully making a change:

  • Gather as much information as you can about ways to change your behaviour.
  • Prepare a list of motivating statements.
  • Write down your goals.
  • Find resources such as support groups or friends who can offer advice.

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Acting for change

During this stage of change, people begin taking direct action in order to accomplish their goals. But resolutions may fail because the previous steps have not been given enough attention.

  • If you are taking action towards achieving your goal, reward yourself for any positive steps you take.
  • Review your motivations, resources, and progress to refresh your commitment and belief in your abilities.

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Change: the maintenance stage

This stage of change involves successfully avoiding former behaviours and continuing with the new behaviours.

If you are trying to maintain a new behaviour:

  1. Look for ways to avoid temptation.
  2. Try to replace old habits with positive actions.
  3. Reward yourself when you successfully avoid a relapse.

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Change and relapse

Relapses are common in any behaviour change. You may experience feelings of failure, disappointment, and frustration. Don't let these setbacks undermine your self-confidence. Instead, take a good look at why it happened. What triggered the relapse? How can you avoid these triggers?

The best way forward is to start again with the preparation, action, or maintenance stages of behaviour change.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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: ...

Successful behavior change

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

  • Research found that long-lasting change in behavior is mo...

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.