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:
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.”
What is your approach to change? How easy/difficult is it for you to go through the stages of change? Please share your experience.
Would you like to comment or ask a question- please leave your comment below.
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12 thoughts on “Stages of Change”
great article as always!!!!
Thanks Aron, I’m glad you liked it!
Thanks for the post Elektra, I think the most difficult stages of change are acceptance that it must change and then acting on it.
I find that a reward at the end of the change brings about an easier acceptance of the necessity of change.
I have heard that if you do something for about 30 days it becomes a natural action.
I take it the relapse stage is if you cannot either accept the change or the new action does not bring enough benefit to your life. How do you reduce the likleyhood of the relapse stage?
many thanks in advance
Hi Phil, appreciate your comment!
I think it all depends on how much motivation or discipline you have. I talked about it in my post “Discipline vs motivation- what is more important for your success”– check it out 🙂
Relapse is the one for me! I’ve tried to give up smoking so many times and failed. To be honest, I really do enjoy smoking so I find it so difficult. I’m trying to recondition my brain into thinking that I don’t enjoy smoking but it’s not working …. yet
Great article, well written and easy to understand and relate to
Dear Dawn, we all have our relapses 🙂 Just learn from them 🙂
About your smoking- it is very hard to get rid of habit (especially if you still like it). Maybe you should replace it with another good habit? Have a look at my post about “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. Good luck!Also have a look at my other post “Power of daily rituals. Why we need habits?”
thank you for this approach for change. I think it is very important to show people that it is possible to leave their struggles behind and that there is another way of going through life. Your 6 steps are really interesting. I think that people need to be aware of their own thoughts and beliefs in order to start changing their lives. We need to be more conscious and aware. Personally, I do meditate in the morning and in the evening to be aware of my own thoughts, goals, and dreams.
I think that the real change comes when you really take action as you said very well in step 4. If we leave our fears behind, and start pointing our minds in the direction of our goals we can achieve everything.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with everyone and for this great website.
Thanks for your comment Simon! You are right that fear sometimes can slow us down, but as long as we are taking at least little steps forward, we can achieve our goals.
I do agree. It’s not easy to change but it’s not impossible either.
I think if you set your mind to succeed you will make it. But it requires new skills and you will have to do something you’re not familiar with. That takes time, effort, dedication, and trust. Both trust in yourself and the universe. That the universe will help you to change and give you what you desire.
Thanks for sharing an important matter.
Thanks Tove, great to see you again! Everything is possible as long as you believe you can do it and keep your motivation 🙂
Another great article Elektra! This is such an eye-opening and reassuring read for every single person, as change is an eventual part of life and self-improvement.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks Andrea! I’m glad you like the post 🙂