Change is not something that happens quickly or easily. Change is a process that takes time and thoughtful consideration. If you think back to times when you have made major changes in your life, you may find that you took a similiar approach to making change. I am working my way through a book called, "Changing for Good," by Prochaska, Norcross, and DiClemente, which talks about a certain approach to change that entails six stages. These stages are:
1. Precontemplation: no intention to change and typically deny having a problem.
2. Contemplation: a problem has been acknowledged and begin to seriously think about solving it.
3. Preparation: a person is ready for change but is still showing signs of ambivalence; convincing themselves to take action is typical for this stage.
4. Action: a person overtly modifies their behavior and their surroundings.
5. Maintenance: a person works to consolidate their gains attained thus far and struggle to prevent lapses and relapse. Without a strong commitment to maintanence (which can last anywhere from 6 months to a lifetime), a person will usually relapse to the precontemplation or contemplation stage.
6. Termination: a person's former addiction or problem no longer presents any temptation or threat, the behavior will never return, and you will have complete confidence that you can cope without fear of relapsing.
It is helpful to know what stage you are in and prepared for because if you try to advance to quickly, you are more likely to fail. I will be talking more about these different phases of change over the next few weeks as New Years approaches. If you are a person that loves making New Years resolutions, you will enjoy diving into these posts as they will help you make those resolutions STICK!