It's that time of year again! The time when so many are making New Year's resolutions to lose weight, be a better person, drink more water, stop smoking, spend more time with family/friends, etc. Did you know of the 41% of American's who make New Year's resolutions, only 9.2% were successful in achieving them? With slightly more than 50% making it past the first month.
What if you could make permanent lifestyle changes vs a "resolution" to change? In order to Change for Good first you need to understand how successful change occurs. It is a process that takes place in stages, according to Prochaska, Norcross and Diclemente. And as the old saying goes, "timing is everything!" Knowing what stage you are in can make all the difference between success and failure.
6 Stages of Change:
1. Precontemplation - In this stage, the people around you may be suggesting something needs to change rather than you yourself wanting to change. You are a "pre-contemplator" if you are in denial you have a problem that needs changing, feel your situation is hopeless, or your defending the problem you have.
2. Contemplation -- People acknowledge they have a problem and start thinking about how to solve it but they don't have plans for taking action anytime soon. Do you know where you need to go and how to get there, but just aren't quite ready for the journey? Then you are a "contemplator." You will know you are beginning to transition to the next stage when you begin to focus on the solution vs the problem and think more about what the future would look like vs the past.
3. Preparation -- During this stage, most people are planning to take action in the next month or so. You may have even made some baby step changes already, drinking less soda for example. Are you committed to the plan, ready to start, but still need a little convincing that taking action is what's best? If so, you are in Stage 3 of the change process. Making your intention to change public is an important step to keep you moving to the next stage.
4. Action -- This stage requires a lot of commitment of both time and energy. Keep in mind modifying behavior isn't the only form of change. Changing emotions, self-image, thought process, awareness of the problem are all areas of change. Many of these take place in the previous stages mentioned. Change doesn't end here!!
5. Maintenance -- The greatest challenge in this stage is working to consolidate the gains from all the previous stages and to prevent putting the breaks on the whole process or relapsing.
So as you prepare for the new year, can you identify which stage you are in? If you have more than one problem, don't assume because you are in one stage with one problem you are in the same stage with other problems. Are you struggling to identify which stage you are in? Or maybe you are ready to take action but don't know where to start? That's where I can help.
Hiring a health coach can help you be even more successful in your quest to make lifestyle changes. A 2014 review found that health coaching plays a key role in promoting healthy behavior, and can be used to motivate a willingness to make lifestyle changes. With another study suggesting telephone coaching for those with chronic conditions can improve health behavior and health status. A health coach can help to identify barriers to changing your behaviors/habits and work with you to develop a customized plan with measurable goals, as well as serve as an accountability partner. Why not make 2018 the year of "NO to resolutions" and instead the year of "YES to permanent lifestyle change."
If you would like to learn more about health coaching or are interested in getting started on making some permanent lifestyle changes, send me an email at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
Prochaska, James O., et al. “Chapter 2.” Changing for Good, Media Production Services Unit, Manitoba Education, 2013.