6 Steps to Changing a Behavior
So you’re finally ready to take that first step and move out of the gray area, where you’ve been stuck for years, but how? What should you do first?
The question isn’t so much how or what, but why?
Why do you want to do this?
The base of a solid foundation needs to start with why. You must have a strong enough reason to want to move forward. It can’t be a wishy-washy “why”, it has to be a strong enough reason, more than just curiosity or interest.
6 steps to changing a behavior
Making a change for the better is a process, and usually begins with having some level of awareness to experiencing emotional and social pressure to change. We can look at the Transtheoretical Model of Change as an example.
Where do you find yourself? Let’s look at the stages in more depth.
The pre-contemplation stage
This is where you may have been evaluating your risk to remain with the behavior. You have awareness, but you’ve turned a blind eye, so to speak, hoping it will just go away on its own. You’ve thought ahead to what it might look like, but not ready or willing to take action. Typically, you’re not considering change within the next six months.
The contemplation stage
This stage is having one leg over the fence, sitting on top, but not quite ready for action. You’re becoming more aware, can visualize what it might look like, but remain idle for now.
*If you are in the contemplation stage, you’re also in the gray area. You’re in the in-between stage. As you read this, know that you’re on your way! Take a deep breath and know that you can do this. Keep going!
The Preparation stage
This stage can also be called the determination phase. You’re gearing up to take action within the month. You re-evaluate your pros/cons list. Maybe you’ve read a book on self-help or reached out to a therapist or coach. You’re putting one step in front of the other and determined to gain control of your life once and for all.
The Action stage
The next stage is where the rubber meets the road. It’s important to set yourself up for success with measures in place to avoid relapse. Don’t do this stage alone. Find a group, coach, therapist, or physician to assist you on the journey. You will be working on behavioral changes and modifications and this takes time. It requires a commitment to yourself while allowing grace knowing you’re not perfect. Have the mindset of progress rather than perfection.
The Maintenance stage
The maintenance stage is having a keen awareness of your successes. Celebrate the small wins while maintaining a strong commitment to yourself. It’s not time to let up on the pedal. Typically, this stage becomes easier over time with a lower temptation to relapse. It’s daily work of “filling your tank” to remain strong and intentional.
The Relapse stage
The stage that we try to avoid at all costs but may happen. If this occurs, it’s a matter of picking yourself back up, re-evaluating the reasons as to what drove the action, and diving deeper into self coping skills once again.
Change isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to be free of the things that hold you hostage.
Mark Twain quoted:
“The only one that likes change is a wet baby”.
Start with your why. Make a list of the reasons you want-need-should change. Seeing your reasons on paper will start the process of moving you from the contemplation stages into preparation and action.
So, what happens next?
What lies on the other side is magical. That may sound far fetched to you at the moment, I get it. I thought that was such b.s., but it’s not. There was no way I could imagine what my life would be like now. I was too frightened to be without my wine, not realizing that my fear of giving up the wine would allow me to have MUCH MORE in my life.
I could only see the limitations, not the limitless possibilities that are now a reality, and every day, it gets better and better!
Don’t you want that too? You can have it. You deserve to have it. If you’re on the fence and would like encouragement to decide, join the 7-Day D.E.C.I.D.E. series today.
Take action. I promise you, the hardest step is this first step. I will be here to guide you through the rest. It’s time. Find out more about the Gray Area’s of Life.