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The process of change – HOW?

I’ve always said the longest journey is from the head to the heart.  There is a ladder to success in change.  Prochaska developed the theory on the stages of change as; precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.  Let’s put these in more adequate terms:

  1. Aware – first we have to be introduced to the idea that something needs to change.
  2. Thinking – here we begin to think about the possibility that change needs to happen.
  3. Research – we begin to read about the issue, we talk to others and investigate possibilities for change
  4. Action – We make a decision and a plan to change and begin putting it into action.
  5. Maintenance – we carry out our plan of action                                                                                                                             a. Relapse – During the maintenance stage we may relapse and go back to a previous stage, have to regroup  and then begin again.
  6. Lifestyle – the change has taken place and it becomes part of our lifestyle. We no longer have to consciously think about the issue.

No matter what we want to change we have to go through theses stages before they become part of our lifestyle.  These are not easy stages to work through and many people get stuck in the maintenance and relapse stages and never make it to the lifestyle stage.  Depending on what type of change we want to make in our life will depend on the pain involved in making the change.  Because of the pain involved we may or may not be able to achieve the stage of lifestyle, where the change becomes and everyday, almost unconscious action in our life.

At the end of each year we want to make changes in our lives and we begin the new year with the best of intentions however few of us succeed.  The answer to this challenge is breaking down the issue of change into very small segments and patience. We need patience to accept ourselves when we do relapse and need to start over.  These relapses happen and we need to be prepared for when they happen.  We need to ask ourselves questions in our thinking and researching stages in preparation to handling these set backs.


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