The 5 Stages of Change: Change a Habit, Limiting Belief, and…

imageAre you feeling “stuck?” Struggling with a bad habit? Not believing in yourself? There’s actually a way out of this mess and begin installing hope into your life. I learned about these stages about five years ago. This framework has really helped me to reframe things in my life, my attitude, motivation, and self-acceptance. The 5 stages of change is a summary taken from researches Prochaska and DiClemente called Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM).

1. Precontemplation-this is where you have no self awareness of the behavior to change, or that there is a problem to change. For instance, if you love to drink coffee all day and you are also a person with a lot of anxiety and stress, you might not realize the caffeine from all that coffee will make you a more anxious and stressed-out person.
2. Contemplation-you begin to realize there is a problem and you think about your situation. You are not making any decisions at this point but you begin to process what is happening. You self evaluate the pros and cons, and you look at the barriers to the change. You may ask yourself, “Why should I stop drinking coffee.” You tend to see more of the benefits of making the change. This stage can last for a few months or a lifetime. Most people stay stuck at this stage.
3. Motivation/determination-you have found a reason to get started on changing the behavior. Motivation can come from your desire to make your life more gratifying and less stressful. Maybe you were told by your doctor you have high blood pressure from all that stress. You face the fact that you want to live a long life so you can be with your family. You are determined to work this out for your benefit and you have found solutions to help you move through the barriers of the change.
4. Action-you are now in the process of moving forward and making the behavior change as your goal to achieve. During this stage, it is important to have support, encouragement, and positivity surrounding you. Refresh and engage in self-care activities to help you push on through.
5. Maintenance-you have made it! This is when you have moved into the new behavior and you are no longer repeating the behavior you were determined to change. You need to find ways to avoid temptations and make sure to reward your success. If you have a setback of relapse, just know that is normal. It does not take away from your efforts. You just keep moving forward and try it again. Avoid staying stuck about being too hard on yourself because that could lead into negative, hopeless feelings. Instead, allow yourself to not be perfect and shift your energy that will instill hope and happiness!!

The process involved in moving from one stage to the next is reframing your belief system that is optimistic and hopeful. It goes without saying there are periods of relapse and starting over. Sometimes in the beginning there is a lot of unwillingness. It may take you a few attempts before you shift your way of thinking about the lifelong commitment to making the change of the behavior. Good luck! Please share your efforts and what you found helpful or challenging. I know from my own personal experience.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer


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