Do you want to make a change in your life, and feel frustrated that you can’t just ‘make that change’ immediately?
If you can hear yourself procrastinating and saying things like, I’ll do it after I get back from holiday, or I can’t afford to do it now, or I’ve got too many things going on for me at the moment, this simply means you aren’t ready (yet) to actually make the change.
And you might disagree with me now, and be thinking, of course I want to change! (it’s just because of all those other reasons that I can’t do it now).
You will do it when you are ready, and not 1 day before that.
Most people who are faced with change are not ready yet to take action.
Change is painful and can feel impossible sometimes because it triggers our body’s inner alarm system. The alarm in our brain, the amygdala, doesn’t like it when something is different. Different could mean trouble.
So the alarm tells our body to pump out the stress hormones and pulls up distressing thoughts and feelings from our memory centres, in order to drive us to get back to what seems like a comfortable place of old habits.
The change cycle model by Prochaska & DiClemente (1983) shows a variety of stages that we can expect to go through when modifying our behaviour.
These are various stages of the model (and the behavior expected of us when we are experiencing change):
Pre-contemplation: A logical starting point for the model, where we have no intention of changing behaviour; we may be unaware that a problem exists or too unwilling, or too discouraged to change within the next six months.
Contemplation: We become aware that there is a problem, but have made no commitment to change. In contemplation, we are thinking about changing a behavior within the next six months.
Preparation: We are intent on taking action to correct the problem. In determination (preparation) we are seriously considering and planning to change a behavior within 30 days and have taken steps toward change.
Action: We are in active modification of behavior. Several stages must be passed through BEFORE action occurs. The action stage normally takes 3-6 months to complete.
Maintenance: Sustained change occurs and new behaviour(s) replaces old ones. In maintenance, we continue to maintain behavioural change [for at least six months] until it becomes permanent.
Relapse: We fall back into old patterns of behaviour that we have begun to change and thus return to one of the first three stages. Each time we go through the change cycle, we learn from each relapse and grow stronger so that the relapse is shorter or less devastating. It can take around 4 cycles of the change model to completely overcome some unwanted habits.
The End of Change?
The model does not show an end to the process of change and suggests that a person is ever-progressing in the cycle.
Can you identify with any of these stages? If you recognise that you are not 100% ready to make the changes that you want to, don’t worry, because you have already begun the process for change. You are likely to be at the contemplation or preparation stages.
I believe that these can be the most frustrating stages, because you know that you want to make some changes but you just don’t seem able to ‘make it happen’.
If you want to unburden yourself from all the thoughts that are racing around in your mind right now, I recommend you to book for my single session of three hours, so that you can clear your mind and perhaps this will be the trigger you need to move you to the next stage on the change cycle.