All of us have wanted to make some kind of change in our lives, and New Year’s is the time that we think about it the most. Every one of us goes through each of the following stages of change. Understanding this cycle will help you be more sympathetic to others who are not changing as fast as you might like, as well as to help us understand ourselves.
Stages of Change:
1) Pre-contemplation: This is the stage where everyone else thinks that you need to make a change, but you do not agree.
2) Contemplation: This is the period where you are thinking that maybe you need to lose weight, stop smoking, or any other type of change in your life.
3) Preparation: This is where you research all of the options and make a concrete plan for how you are going to make your desired change.
4) Action: This is the time where you put your chosen plan into action. Join Weight Watchers, go to the gym, talk to your doctor and start your smoking cessation plan, etc.
5) Maintanance: This stage is where you keep truckin’ on with your action plan. At some point in this phase, you will fall off the wagon. It may be days, weeks, months, or even years. But, the important thing to remember is that this is not a failure, it is just one phase in the stages of change. And you will go through this cycle and reach your goals again.
By Dr. Terra Caudill, MD, MS