The five stages of behavioral change can be applied to all behaviors, from exercise habits to addictions:
In the pre-contemplation stage, you are not contemplating behavioral change because you do not recognize a need for change. You may simply not see that a problem exists. In this stage, it is important to identify the problem and make a plan for change.
It is very difficult to make changes in your life if you are not ready to do so. The first step is to acknowledge that there is a problem and then figure out what needs to be changed and how it will happen.
You acknowledge that it’s time to change, and begin to think about how you can change.
Contemplation is a process of thinking about the future. You acknowledge that it’s time to change, and begin to think about how you can change. It is a time of reflection and introspection.
We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it. While we are unable to change what’s happening now, we can be present and open to it. We don’t have to like what’s happening now, but we can accept that this is how things are. With these contemplations in mind, you’re ready to start making changes for the better.
In the preparation stage, you plan for change and determine which habits you aim to break and how you will make this happen. Preparation is a stage in which you plan for change and determine which habits you aim to break and how you will make this happen. There are many different ways of preparing for change.
One way is to set up a support system. This could be done by joining a group or signing up for an online course. Another way of preparing is to focus on the desired outcome and visualize it as if it has already happened.
The preparation stage can be seen as the time in which we decide what we want to do, and how we want to do it. It’s also the time where we take responsibility for our own actions and their consequences, whether they are positive or negative.
The action phase is the most difficult phase of behavioral change. It requires you to have a plan and be willing to make sacrifices to achieve your goals.
In the action phase, you’re committing yourself to a set of actions to lead you toward your goal. You’re taking on the responsibility to make changes happen and follow through with your plan.
The most important thing about this phase is that it requires commitment. This commitment can be emotional, physical, financial or spiritual – it doesn’t matter how it manifests as long as you’re willing to put in the work necessary for success.
Maintenance is the process of actively trying to keep a desired behavior, health, or other condition. It’s different from the process of achieving a goal. It requires you to be able to maintain consistency within in that goal, and striving to make it a lifelong change.
The Relapse Phase
Professionals recognize a sixth stage in the change model. Relapse occurs when individuals fall back into old patterns of behavior. Do not let a relapse deter you from changing your behavior permanently. This is a natural part of the change process, and the model is based on the notion of an upward spiral, which means that we are inclined to learn from each relapse and eventually reach a point where the desired change becomes permanent.