Finally the sun is showing its face and peeking through the clouds. It is going to be 19 degrees today in old London Town and things are only going to get better.
One week of signs of the sun and longer days and I am starting to receive so many more calls and enquires. This got me thinking about the stages of making personal change and what thought process people go through when taking the first steps to start exercising.
The Transtheoretical Model of Change describes how people modify a problem behaviour or acquire a positive behavior. The model was originally explained by psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente in 1983. This model has been recognized world wide not only for exercise habits but also addiction.
People pass through a series of stages as they move towards changing their behaviour. These are:
PRECONTEMPLATION (Not ready to change)
In the precontemplation stage people are not thinking seriously about changing and resist offers of help.
"Ignorance is bliss" - people in this stage tend to defend their bad habit(s) and do not feel it’s a problem.
CONTEMPLATION (Thinking of changing)
In this stage people are ambivalent about change.
"Sitting on the fence" – people spend time weighing up the pro’s and cons of quitting or modifying their behaviour. It may take as little as a couple of weeks or as long as a lifetime to get through the contemplation stage. Sadly some people deliberate endlessly about starting an exercise regime and may never get beyond this stage.
PREPARATION (Ready to change)
In this stage people have made the commitment to make a change.
"Testing the waters" - this is sort of a research phase in which people gather information, sometimes by contacting instructors/gyms, eg emailing me ;)
ACTION (Making change)
This is the stage where people believe they have the ability to change their behaviour and are actively taking steps to change their habits by using a variety of different methods, such as going to the gym or attending a pilates class.
MAINTENANCE (Staying on track)
The bad habit’s been kicked (Hooray) and you’re on your way to a healthier happier you. The good behaviour still requires maintenance, but you have now adopted this into your daily routine and you will feel incomplete without it. At this stage people are less tempted to relapse and increasingly more confident that they can continue their change.
RELAPSE (Fall from grace)
This refers to falling back to the old behaviors after going through other stages and is often accompanied by feelings of failure. But don’t despair. Along the way most people experience a relapse. In fact, it is more common to have at least one relapse than not.
What stage do you think you sit in? Wherever you are in the process you can make the change - just keep going! :)