UNDERSTANDING CHANGE

Figure5“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

-  Charles Darwin

How do you kick a habit that you just can’t give up – a problem that just won’t go away?

Prochaska and DiClemente may provide some powerful solutions and lead you on a path of life changing success.

In the late 70s and early 80s, James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente developed the Stages of Change Model (SCM) at the University of Rhode Island.  The model was originally designed to study and determine how smokers were able to give up their addiction.  What is interesting about SCM is that it is currently being applied to a broad range of behaviors including weight loss, injury prevention, and overcoming drug problems, etc.

The SCM does not happen in a single step.  Behavioral change occurs through a progression of different stages at our own rate, which creates the formula for success. Simply telling someone to get off their ass and exercise will provide fruitless results, because the individual may not be ready to change or even recognize that they have a problem with their behavior.

Several months ago, I signed up for the gym’s “90 Day Weight Loss Challenge.”  The grand prize was a free gym membership for one year, travel to the mainland, and $500.00 in cash.  After consulting with my coach, I left the gym feeling so confused and ambivalent about what he said.  “You have two choices:  1) eat less or 2) burn more calories starting tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?  Was he serious?  Why tomorrow?

SCM offers self-determination. The decision to change begins with the person.  SCM is self-regulated.  Each stage of the change process is completed at an individual’s own pace. SCM is self-governing.  A person must decide for themselves when a stage is completed; and therefore, when its time to move on to the next stage in the change process.  Above all, SCM demands that we pay close attention to five critical stages in the change process  – precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and relapse.

Prochaska and DiClemete description of each identified below:

  1. Precontemplation is the stage at which there is no intention to change behavior in the foreseeable future. Many individuals in this stage are unaware of their problems.
  2. Contemplation is the stage in which people are aware that a problem exists and are seriously thinking about overcoming it but have not yet made a commitment to take action.
  3. Preparation is a stage that combines intention and behavioral criteria. Individuals in this stage are intending to take action in the next month and have unsuccessfully taken action in the past year. 
  4. Action is the stage in which individuals modify their behavior, experiences, or environment in order to overcome their problems. Action involves the most overt behavioral changes and requires considerable commitment of time and energy. 
  5. Maintenance is the stage in which people work to prevent relapse and consolidate the gains attained during action. For addictive behaviors this stage extends from six months to an indeterminate period past the initial action.”

The change process is in your hands.  What would you like to change?

 

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