Acting for change - Deepstash

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 most likely when it's self-motivated and rooted in positive thinking.
  • Studies have also shown that goals are easier to reach if they're specific.
  • You should also limit the number of goals you're trying to reach to prevent overtaxing your attention and willpower.

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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 influenced by pressure from others who are aware of their problems.

Instilling motivation towards change within is key in this stage. This can be done by educating oneself on the behavioral change that is up for debate. 

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