By Melonie Dodaro
“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” ~ William James
Change can be a very scary thing for so many people, even if change is what it will take to move forward in life to achieve goals and desires. Change is a natural part of life and nature. Seasons change, the weather changes, seeds grow into plants, and plants die and change back to soil. Such is life–humans change even when they resist change; change happens.
The following is a Model of the Stages of Change developed by Professor James Prochaska at the University of Rhode Island (1992).
Model of the Stages of Change
Pre-contemplation: The initial stage, where there is no thought about changing. In this beginning stage, people are likely to resist the idea of changing, as they aren’t motivated to do so.
* This stage is when people don’t know that they don’t know. They are unaware that they have the power to change their habits and beliefs. They are sleepwalking through life unconscious, believing that others simply have more willpower. They would like to change the way they look and feel about themselves, but have little to no motivation or have tried before with no results.
Contemplation: In this stage, people begin to think about changing, and are weighing pros and cons, considering if the long-term benefits will surely outweigh the short-term costs. Usually in this stage people will state their intention to change within six months.
* At this stage, people may begin to see family and friends making changes in the way they are living their lives; they’ve changed their eating habits, have more energy and are more positive about living. They begin to think, “Maybe I could do that, too.” A shift in awareness is beginning to take place. “I’ll think about it.”
Preparation: In this stage, people actually begin to look into what steps they could take to make the change. They gather information about what resources are available. Usually when someone is in the preparation stage, they are intending to make an effort within the next 30 days.
* This is the time when people begin to develop strategies as to how they may change. They may discover the benefits of meditation and yoga or look at eating more nutritiously and taking better care of their mind, body and spirit…simply becoming more aware of who they are and what they desire to have in life, and how they can make the changes to get it. This is a time for self re-evaluation.
Action: This is the stage where we actually do something for the sake of change. This can take many forms, but probably will be using one or several of the available resources discovered in the preparation phase. This stage can also represent significant one-time changes, but more likely reflects a series of actions and behaviors toward a long-term goal.
* The action stage is when people are actually involved in taking the steps to reach goals and make the changes desired. They take action and become more conscious of daily life and making better choices that empower…simply being responsible for their lives and how they feel, opening up to committing to a lifestyle change.
Maintenance: In this stage, people try to consolidate and maintain gains from the actions taken in the previous stage. It can be viewed as trying to preserve the momentum of any changes.
* Maintaining the momentum and staying on task can be challenging. Returning to old patterns of eating and feeling guilty can result in negative self-talk invading your mind. This is the stage where strategies to stay focused and remain on task are developed. A support group is an excellent way to maintain and help prevent relapse to old behaviors as well as listening to motivational CDs and using affirmations.
The following is a summary from Professor James Prochaska:
Prochaska and his colleagues say it is important to note that while these stages are presented and discussed in a linear fashion, one does not necessarily have to proceed through them in order. It is entirely possible and natural to jump around and shuffle back and forth. People certainly start at “Pre-contemplation” and move to ”Contemplation” to ”Preparation” back to “Contemplation” to jump up to “Action.” Especially if the first attempts at change fail, people move back into “Preparation” and “Contemplation,” hopefully to try again with a better plan.
Getting back to the beginning
Change happens whether we participate or not, so why not take charge of your life and make the changes you want to have happen in your life! Creating your own support group is a great way to stay focused on your goals, whether they may be weight loss or any other goal you may have. To learn more about creating your own support group, visit www.MindBodyFX.com.
Visit our site for more information on living a healthy and happy life at your ideal weight www.MindBodyFX.com.
About the Author
Melonie Dodaro is a weight loss expert, author and speaker. Her approach to weight loss incorporates showing people how to master their mind-body connection for lasting results. To learn more tips and techniques like the ones included in this article please click here: www.MindBodyFX.com.