I have recently posted a lot about change in social media, being ready for change, and seeking changes at work. The following information can assist your awareness and understanding of the Stages of Behaviour Change and provide the foundations for your successful navigation to successful realisation of your goals.
How to get started changing your habits or behaviour
Whether you want to lose weight, change jobs, or run a marathon, you may need to try several different ways to reach that goal. The key to maintaining focus on the change that you want is to find ways to motivate yourself and have small wins.
Understanding the stages of change and the steps that you will most likely go through will help you to work through each stage and reach your goals.
By taking the idea of change into smaller steps or elements it is easier to recognise the ways to work through each stage to help you achieve and motivate yourself for the total change to occur.
The three most important components of changing a behaviour involve being ready to change, recognising any barriers you might find to that change, and having strategies in place if a relapse to the former habit crops up.
The Stages of Change
One of the well-known change models is the Stages of Change or Transtheoretical Model, introduced in the late 1970s by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente who based their study on ways too help people to give up smoking.
Stage 1: Pre-contemplation
Not aware of a problem and no willingness to change. Regular self-analysis to assess your behaviour is recommended to avoid any negative or problem behaviour.
Stage 2: Contemplation
You might become aware of benefits of making a change, but some factors create a sense of conflicted emotions about changing. Strategies include evaluating your readiness and ability to change; and identifying barriers to change. This stage in the model can last for substantial periods of time.
Stage 3: Preparation
Beginning with small changes in preparation for a larger change, or steps being taken with the intention to make real changes shortly. Strategies can include writing out your goals, preparing action plans and positive affirmations or other motivating elements such as visualisation boards.
Stage 4: Action
Start some direct action to make real change in your life. Enjoy new ways of doing or thinking about your goals and celebrate any positive steps you have taken. Support from friends or your coach is very important in helping maintain your positive steps forward. Take time to refresh your progress and written goals to maintain momentum and motivation.
Stage 5: Maintenance
This stage involves successful behaviour change and importantly successful mindset to a new way of thinking. New strategies for coping with temptations and rewards for new milestones met are important to cement the change. Your chances of lapsing into old unwanted behaviours is now much diminished.
Stage 6: Relapse
If you do relapse, remind yourself that you have made fantastic progress so far, and this disappointment is a minor setback. Call on the commitment to your goals that led to your changed behaviour, identify the triggers to that led to this upset, and recognise any barriers. Remain positive and motivated to continue success in your new state and reaffirm your goals and self-confidence.
If you find a need for a structured support program to reach the action and maintenance stages, then engaging a coach or other professional program would be advisable.