We all know that changing our behavior rarely happens overnight, but did you know there are actually five stages that we go through before a change happens? In fact, the Healthy Lifestyles program is designed to help you move from one step to the next at your own pace. Here are the five distinct stages of change. Do you fit into one of these phases?
- PRECONTEMPLATION: In this phase, you’re not thinking about making a change, and you’re not interested in any kind of help. You’re still defending your bad habits and you may be in denial about how they are affecting your health.
- CONTEMPLATION: Once you’ve gotten to this stage, you’ve acknowledged the unhealthy behavior and its consequences – but you’re still not sure you want to do anything about it. You are weighing the pros and cons of making a change, but you have not made any plans. Try making a list of the positive effects of making the change.
- PREPARATION: You’ve made a mental commitment to make a change. In this phase, you’re making plans to change your behavior. You’re gathering information and asking yourself what you can do. Don’t skip this step! Making a plan can set you up for success down the road. It may be helpful to write down your goals and how you will overcome obstacles or avoid temptations.
- ACTION: This step is where your commitment and willpower come into play. You’re putting your plans into action. You’ve given up junk food, started exercising or quit smoking. Remember to reward yourself for reaching small goals along the way. When you get stuck, look back to your plan from the previous step.
- MAINTENANCE: You did it! The changes you made are now a habit. You recognize the benefits of your healthier lifestyle, and it’s easier to avoid any temptations.
There is no set amount of time it takes to move through each phase of change – everyone is different. Be patient with yourself. The most important thing is to keep moving forward.
Are you ready?
Log in to Healthy Lifestyles and start tracking your activity. It may be the first step to making a healthy change!