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One potential problem when changing behaviors is that we're too often motivated by negatives such as guilt, fear, or regret.
... 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.
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.
At this stage, you're aware that the behavior is a problem, but you still haven't committed to taking action.
To move on to the next stage, make a list of the pros and cons, then examine the disadvantages and consider how to overcome them: If one 30-minute exercise is too much, how about two 15-minute sessions?
At this stage, you know you must change, you believe you can, and are making plans to do so soon. You've also taken some initial steps.
At this stage, you've changed. You are able to face the challenges of life without the old behavior. For example, if stress tempts you to eat, you can use healthy coping strategies such as exercise.
Be clear about your motivation; write down your reasons for making the change and remind yourself daily. Get support.
Once you've practiced the new behavior for six months, you're in the maintenance stage.
Shift your focus to integrate the change into your life and prevent relapse. It may require other changes, like avoiding situations or triggers associated with the old habit.
The path between stages is seldom straightforward. Most people relapse at some point and recycle through one or more stages, though you usually won't go back to square one.
Every time you relapse, you will learn something about yourself. Next time, you can use what you learned, make changes, and be wiser as you continue on the path.
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