Change: The Only Constant in Life
As humans, we generally avoid change when we can, as it can be uncomfortable when the outcomes of said changes are uncertain. However, we are built for change- it is how we have evolved thus far. Our bodies can quickly adapt to new changes and unique circumstances. And to continue growing both mentally and physically, it is good to reevaluate goals and push toward the next accomplishment continually. You may have some health and fitness goals that you are looking to accomplish. These may be the same goals you have wanted to achieve in the past and never saw through, or they might be completely brand new. When setting out to make a change in your life, it is always good to evaluate where you are in the process of change. One standard method for assessing how ready a person is for change comes from the Transtheoretical Model developed by James Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo DiClementi. This model breaks the process of change down into six stages.
This stage includes people who are not ready for a change. They either deny there is something for them to change, or they have tried to change a particular habit or behavior in the past and gave up. Sometimes, a person in this stage has convinced himself or herself that they will never be able to change.
People who are contemplating change have recognized that they have habits or behaviors worth changing. People in this stage of evolution will readily accept tips and tricks regarding how to change; however, this is a stage where many people become stagnant. People can be stuck in limbo at this stage for years before they muster the spark to make the change.
A person who is preparing for change is on the cusp of making that change happen. People in this stage are often putting together their plan of action and may have already begun to alter certain things in line with their desired change. Although they are not entirely focused on understanding the root of their problem, they are taking actionable steps toward improvement.
A person in the action stage is already in the process of making their desired change. Often this includes the individual following a plan. Such as a meal or workout plan they created, or a coach or trainer has designed. The more comprehensive a program is, the better the chance of success the individual will have.
After six months of following a specific action plan, the individual will have reached a stage where he/she has integrated the specific changes into their daily routine. The process will feel more habitual at this point. However, there is still ample opportunity for setbacks in this stage of growth. The stresses of everyday life will always pose a threat to the good habits a person has been working on creating. It is also common for a person to feel that they have already solidified a change at this point, even if they haven’t. They may be more inclined to let their discipline slide and can quickly revert to their old ways.
The word termination often has a negative connotation; however, in this model of behavior change, this is the point in which the change has become integrated into a person’s life. The chance of a person returning to old habits at this point is improbable.
To give yourself the best chance of making a lasting change, you must truly understand the reason responsible for your current behavior. Once you have pinpointed this, you can begin to follow a plan that addresses the underlying factors and give yourself the best shot at success.