Changing our lifestyle habits can be a challenging endeavour. The “5 stages of Change” is a model that describes the series of stages we go through to change our habits.
Having an understanding behind the psychology of change, can be integral in helping you succeed with developing new lifestyle habits. The critical assumption that underpins this model is that behavioural changes do not happen in one step, but through a series of distinct, predictable stages. Simply realising the stage of change you are in may be helpful for you to succeed.
The 5 stages of change are outlined below:
1.Precontemplation- In this stage, you may be unaware or not ready for change. You may be pessimistic about your ability to make change. This stage is often referred to a the ‘denial stage’, where you may selectively filter information that helps confirm your decision not to make change.
2.Contemplation- During this stage you are weighing up the costs (e.g. effort, time, money etc), and the benefits of lifestyle modification. Identifying new ways that making a change will benefit you can be very helpful in this stage and may help you to recognise that the benefits will begin to outweigh the costs.
3. Preparation- This is the planning stage. It involves taking the first steps in implementing change. You may have made an appointment with someone to help you in this process such as a Naturopath, personal trainer or Nutritionist.
4. Action – In this stage you begin to find alternatives to bad habits and replace them. Change has started and now these new behaviours must be turned into habits.
5. Maintenance- This is the stage of successful, sustained lifestyle modification. This is the stage that is often omitted. Your work is not done just because you have achieved your goal. It is so important to continue with the change and surround yourself with positive people who support your changes.
Hopefully these 5 stages of change are a helpful framework to refer to when you are looking to make some type of change in your life. If you need some help in implementing change, our experienced Naturopaths have many resources and skills to help you change unwanted lifestyle habits.