Monday, October 13, 2014

Are You Ready to Change?

The Stages of Change Model

There’s more to changing than just waking up and saying, “Today’s the day.” Change is not simply like flipping on a light switch. It’s a meaningful process of transformative self-enrichment. Imagine a room filled with unlit candles — you light one and things begin to emerge. You start seeing things you never noticed before — around you and in you. You light more and more candles until you are bathed in a new, warm glow. You’ve more than illuminated yourself, you’ve illuminated your world.
While it’s important to embrace your desire to change, the first step is to know just what “Stage of Change” you are in. According to Dr. James Prochaska, creator of the Stages of Change model, “[The] stage of change predicts the likelihood of success in our attempts to change more accurately than anything else about us.” In other words, knowing where we stand on the path of change helps ensure we’re as successful as we can be as we take the journey.

Dr. Prochaska identified five stages of change:

·         Pre-contemplation (“I’m not ready to change.)
·         Contemplation (I’m thinking about changing.)
·         Preparation (I’m getting ready to change.)
·         Action (I’m actively taking steps to change.)
·         Maintenance (I’m sustaining the change I’ve made).


Before figuring our what stage you’re in, it’s first important to realize that change is very personal. We all have our own path, and progress through the stages of change is neither linear nor same for everyone. This does not mean that progress isn’t being made, but rather that different people face different challenges that are sometimes outside their control. It’s possible to get briefly stuck at one stage or even regress to earlier ones. This is natural and should be expected. And knowing in advance that it can happen empowers us to be prepared to overcome any fear or feeling of failure. Remember that for some, baby steps can be giant leaps, and so long as you never give up, you are making progress.
The following assessment will help identify the stage of change you are currently in for the personal or health-related behavior you want to change. Simply and honestly answer “Yes” or “No” to each of the four questions.

Stages of Change Assessment
1.      I solved my personal/health behavior more than 6 months ago.
2.      I have taken action on my personal/health behavior within the past 6 months.
3.      I am intending on taking action on my personal/health behavior in the next month
4.      I am intending to take action in the next 6 months.

Your Stage:
Pre-contemplation:  If you answered NO to all statements, you are in the pre-contemplation stage. You are not thinking about, and have no plans to change your behavior at this point in time.

Contemplation: If you answer YES to number 4, and NO to all others, you are in the contemplation stage. You are thinking of or have intentions to change “down the road”, but not right now. You may be weighing the “pros and cons” of changing, or facing what you consider serious barriers to change.

Preparation: If you answer YES only to number 3 & 4, you are in the preparation stage, and preparing to actively commit to change. 

Action: If you answered YES to number 2 and NO to number 1, you are in the action stage, and in the midst of changing your desired behavior.

Maintenance: If you honestly answered YES only to number 1, you are in the maintenance stage, and taking the steps to successfully sustain your changed behavior.

Now that you’ve determine which stage of change you are currently in, it’s important to realize you may not actually achieve the degree of change you desire within the timeframe you originally intended. Remember, change is a process and it can take time.  But once you commit to making change happen, it will, because you are your own master of transformation. You are a personal change magician.

Let your magic begin.

In future blogs, I’ll share helpful tips, inspiring stories and proven techniques to help you move through the stages of change and closer to action.

Content from: Change Your Mind: 7 Ways to Harness the Power of Your Brain to Achieve True Well-Being - Available on Amazon

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