``The only thing that is constant is change. `` - Heraclitus
Our power lies in being intentional with our choices, and controlling the direction of change in our lives. For some of us, a desired change might be improving our diet and exercising, while for others it could be breaking a drug or alcohol addiction. Regardless of the issue, discovering where we are at in the Stages of Change is helpful to being motivated to move forward one stage at a time.
The Stages of Change model created by Prochaska and DiClemente (1983) includes six stages, and works in a cycle:
Pre-contemplation – Are unaware there is a problem or have no intention of changing behavior.
Contemplation – Aware a problem exists but with no commitment to action.
Preparation – Intent on taking action to address the problem.
Action – Active modification of behavior.
Maintenance – Sustained change. New behavior replaces old.
Relapse – Fall back to old patterns of behavior.
If you find yourself in the early stage of contemplation, weighing the pros and cons of changing or not can sway your decisional balance. Once convinced that change is worth the effort, setting a goal that is specific, realistic, and has the ability to measure progress will increase success.
Setting smaller goals that are easier to achieve first enforces the belief that change is possible and builds self-efficacy. As these are accomplished, bigger goals can be made to reach the overall vision for change in your life. Further, looking back at what has worked or been helpful in the past will guide you to your best resources. Finally, sharing your plan for change with a friend will give you some one to celebrate your accomplishments with, as well as keep you accountable.
Even with the best intentions, change is difficult. Often people see the risks of making a change in their life and give up before they have even started. We are our own worst critic, and silencing our own negativity towards what we are capable of becoming is crucial. It takes a lot of courage to let go of what is comfortable, and reach towards something challenging. Viewing change as an adventure where life is continually being found in the movement towards something better, over rides any excuse.
``What do I have to lose by not changing? ``
``Who do I want to be? ``
``Who do I want others to see me as? ``
``What do I want to be remembered for? ``
Embrace the only thing that is constant – Change!
Carlin Gall - Rachelle Gitzel
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