Stages of Change

Change not always come easily but it is a necessary part of our personal development. From changing eating habits to getting more positive attitude to life to quitting smoking to ………(put your own desire), whatever it is you want to achieve or get rid off, you can do it. Changing any behaviour is a complex issue though. It requires us to recognize the problem and put action to replace it with desired option. The choice is always ours, whatever we decide to do or not to do. But if we want the desire become something more than just a daydream, then the action needs to follow. Otherwise a dream will never be realized and always will be only a dream. When we put enough desire to our dream and back it up with action, that is when the change happens. So what are the stages to the change? Lets look at that.

Stages of Change

Two researchers, Prochaska and DiClemente, developed a way of describing The Cycle of Change. In order to make behavior changes, most people seem to go through at least 5 distinct stages:

  • pre-contemplation
  • contemplation
  • preparation
  • action
  • maintenance

and sometimes additional step of relapse.

We move in a spiral pattern upwards through the stages.Sometimes we experience some back-sliding between stages, some other times we go through relapse. But it is all part of the learning curve.


We all are familiar with those steps. If not consciously, then without even realizing, we followed them before.

Pre-contemplation -the stage when maybe somebody suggested a change to you but you didn’t think it’s needed.You potentially never thought about needing to change a particular behavior or you’ve never thought about it really seriously.

Contemplation– It is a switch point when you recognize a need for a change. This stage can take from a moment to a really long time.It all depends when you are going to find motivating belief to move to the next step.

Preparation– you begin preparing yourself mentally and physically for action.

Action– the stage when you making the move for which you have been preparing in previous stages. It requires your commitment of time and energy.

Maintenance-This is a very important step. Maintaining a new behavior is the most challenging part of any behavior change. Try to establish good habits and routines which make things easier.  Remember that change is a process and not an event.

Relapse– this stage is extremely difficult to avoid. Although you probably will experience this step at some point, don’t get discouraged. It’s not a failure, take it as a lesson.

Sometimes we need to go tree or even four times through the stages before we make it through the cycle without a hiccup. Every slip from the full cycle of change will give us another opportunity to learn something about ourselves 🙂 So enjoy the ride and embrace your failures!


“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
― Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”
― Eckhart Tolle

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
― Wayne W. Dyer

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”
― Madonna


What is your approach to change? How easy/difficult is it for you to go through the stages of change? Please share your experience. 
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