We are often told by our physicians, healthcare providers, and sometimes our significant others or loved ones that we need to get healthier. When informed of our need to change, we are seldom given the directions on “how” to get started.
Have you ever been there?
If you have, you’re not alone!
Changing Your Behaviors Can Be Hard!
Too often people are led to believe that the only thing required of them to change their lifestyle behaviors is to make the decision to change and motivation will take them from there! This assumption is far from the truth and often discouraging. Once you have made the decision to change, you start off with great excitement and zeal and then you hit a wall and lose your desire to keep going.
Can you say frustrating?
Have you ever experienced this?
We’ve all been there and it goes a little something like this.
This Time, I’m Going To Do It!
You surf the internet and finally seek out help to get you started in the right health and wellness direction. This help could come in the form of a personal trainer or health coach. You clean out your refrigerator, buy new exercise equipment and workout clothes and you sign up to your neighborhood gym.
For about a month or two you’re fully committed to getting healthier, but seemingly and all of a sudden you just can’t stick with it. In your mind you know what you need to do. However, you just can’t change your unhealthy behaviors! My friend, allow me to tell you that you are going through the stages of change!
Yes, your behaviors have stages of change!
Therefore, allow us to explain the five stages of behavior change and why changing your habits can be very hard to accomplish.
Stages of Change What?
Over the years, I have sat with hundreds of frustrated individuals who want to change their unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, but they don’t understand why changing their behaviors is such a challenge.
As one can imagine, not having a “WHY” behind what you desire to change can be discouraging and often a barrier to becoming healthier. To help you avoid or discontinue feeling this way, we will provide you with the 5 stages that occur when you consider changing your behaviors.
If you have a journal, we recommend you take notes.
What are the Stages of Change?
The five stages of change include: Pre-Contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, and Maintenance. We will also discuss a possible stage known as the relapse stage.
Let’s discuss what occurs during each stage of change.
Stage #1 Pre-Contemplation: In this stage of change, a person doesn’t recognize that she/he needs to make a change and doesn’t plan on doing anything different within the next 6 months, regardless of what they hear from others. The individual in this stage of change often ignores or denies their current condition (Example: Someone tells Alice that it would be beneficial to her health if she started walking to shed some unhealthy weight. She gets up and walks away and says, “My weight is fine just the way it is.”).
Stage # 2 Contemplation: In this stage of change, an individual begins to think about making a change within the next 6 months and begins to weigh both the pros and cons of making a change (Example: If I start eating healthier I could possibly lose weight and be taken off of my blood pressure medication).
Stage # 3 Preparation: In this stage of change, an individual begins to make the necessary plans to begin their process of change (Example: Sally went to her community YMCA and signed up for their group fitness class.)
Stage # 4 Action: In this stage of change, an individual is actively doing the things that they need to do in order to reach their desired goal (Example: Sally has been eating small healthy meals every 2-3 hours and she’s logging all of her meals in her meal planner for the last 2 months).
Stage # 5 Maintenance: In this stage of change, a person is maintaining their new behaviors and is less likely to go back to their old lifestyle behaviors. (Example: Sally has been eating healthy, working out and getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night for over 6 months. She feels and looks great.) The longer a person remains in the stage of change the less likely they will revert back to old lifestyle behaviors. The new healthier behaviors become more automatic and a part of their lifestyle routine.
Relapse: In this stage of change a person goes back to their old behaviors. This is often triggered by stress or unsupportive environments. If or when a person goes back to their old behaviors it is essential to identify the triggers and determine new coping mechanisms and support systems to deal accordingly.
Now That Wasn’t So Bad Was It?
At the beginning, it may have seemed to be a lot of information, but keep in mind, you’re learning new information and it doesn’t mean that you have to understand or apply all of the information you’re learning at one time. Learning how to change your old behaviors is a process. However, every small step forward is one to be celebrated!
If this information was helpful to bring awareness of where you may find yourself today in the change process but you still need more help, contact us today for a health and wellness consultation with a dynamic team of health and wellness experts! Complete our health coaching form now and one of our wellness experts will contact you.
About Author: Featured on TV stations such as Fox 40, ABC 10, and NBC News as well as featured in over 30 health and fitness magazines such as Oxygen Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, Strong Fitness and Flex Magazine as a thought leader on population health, women’s health and minority health, Laticia “Action” Jackson is a Fitness Olympian, 13 x Wellness Author, Globally Recognized Health and Fitness Expert and Owner of Well Content 4 U! Her passion is to help prevent chronic illnesses and empower individuals to take control of their health and well-being. take ownership of their health and well-being by providing relevant and evidence-based wellness information delivered through content, wellness workshops and online wellness programs. Learn More about Laticia “Action”Jackson Here!