Considering the Stages of Change
Changing for the better is sometimes difficult, but it can lead to a sense of self-assurance in a healthy way. Maybe you are considering a lifestyle change for your health. Perhaps you are thinking about increasing your commitment to exercise, eat well and give up harmful habits. Maybe you want to improve your communication habits with loved ones or become more organized. Whatever your goal is that will make your life better, you are realizing it is important to you to make a commitment to change.
You might find it helps to plan the changes and it could help to consider a process or a model that describes the stages of change. One model is the Stages of Change or the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change.
The Transtheoretical Model describes five stages:
The first stage is before you are really considering making a change. You have information about a lifestyle, but have not really considered adopting it on a personal level. When you move to Contemplation, you start thinking about what it would mean for you to change. You start considering the good reasons that you would like to be different and make a change. In the third stage, Preparation, you begin planning how you would make the change. In the fourth stage, Action, you begin to make the changes you planned and to experience the benefits of your different choices. In the last change, Maintenance, you continue the new behaviors so that you are able to continue the new lifestyle.
Stages Overview graph used with permission © 2011 Pro-Change Behavior Systems Inc.
If you are reading this article, it is likely that you are past the first stage. If you read the other article, I wrote about change, you might be preparing to make changes in your life. Gathering information can help you identify information, you will need to make a plan and follow through. You may learn better in a class or having the support of other people who are making a change.
Families In Focus offers seminars, support groups and coaching to help people at almost any stage of change. If the change is necessary for your mental health, you may need counseling. However, you may have changes that you decide to pursue to make your life better. We can help.
See our new list of upcoming seminars on Eventbrite. You can register online or mail a check.
We look forward to helping you succeed.
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Margaret Cook, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor