Have you ever felt like you’re ready to start thinking about change- whether it be a habit, a relationship, or even your hair- but you’re not exactly ready to take the steps to make the change? Don’t be too hard on yourself. This could be due to the fact that you’re simply not in the stage of change that you aspire to be in just yet.
As humans, we are constantly evolving, and as we grow, we find ourselves in different phases of life where we’re ready to make a change for ourselves. Researchers Carlo C. DiClemente and J. O. Prochaska created a list of stages of change that can be very helpful to know about to understand where you, or a friend, might be in one’s readiness to change.
Stage 1: Pre-contemplation – This person is not ready to think about changing their behavior yet. They may rationalize their problem behavior, think their friends and family are exaggerating the issue, not like it when people tell them what to do, or the problem behavior simply might not be fully conscious to them yet.
Stage 2: Contemplation – This person is starting to think that they might need to alter their behaviors. This person may be ambivalent or on the fence about changing anything, but they are willing to consider that there may be a problem with their actions. A pros and cons list may be very helpful in this stage as one is considering what to do next.
Stage 3: Preparation – This stage is when a person is ready to do exactly what the stage is named, prepare! Ambivalence isn’t gone completely but it’s not a huge barrier any longer. At this stage, creating a concrete plan can be helpful to progress into the next stage.
Stage 4: Action – Here, the person is ready to follow through with their plan. Letting your support system know about your readiness to follow through with a plan can be very helpful in maintaining motivation and can help hold a person accountable as others watch and cheer you on.
Stage 5: Maintenance – The person in this stage is working to continue their progress of change. Temptation to return to the problem behavior will arise but not as frequently or intensely. Relapse’s may occur in this stage, but that’s part of growing and learning, and relapses often strengthen a person’s resolve to continue in their progress. Being aware of one’s coping techniques during this stage can be very helpful when temptation arises.
Stage 6: Termination – At this stage, the person feels as if the problematic behavior is no longer a concern, and they have confidence that they can cope without fear of relapse.
To learn more about your stage of change, one of our therapists would be able to provide more education on the matter and work to create a treatment plan specifically for you. If you want to read more about the stages of change, that a peek at this link.
Written by: Jasmine Tyson