Stages of behavior change.

Stages of behavior change.

"By consciously dealing with change in stages...it's easier to apply appropriate strategies at the appropriate times".

1. Pre-Contemplation Stage
Pre-Contemplators aren't willing to consider making a change ("I've never exercised, and I have no desire to start now").
Strategies:
Consciousness-raising activities are important--a doctor's warning about a patients health risks that are due in part to lack of physical activity; a life event such as the birth of a grandchild or one's 50th birthday; reading the Surgeon General's report, Physical Activity and Health.
2. Contemplation Stage
Contemplators know they need to change and begin to think seriously about it. The problem is that people can get stuck in this stage for years. Some people wait for the magic moment (you need to make the moment) or engage in wishful thinking (hoping to get healthier without changing behaviour).
Strategies:
Write down the benefits you hope to obtain from physical activity. Next list the perceived roadblocks and how to get past each one. More consciousness-raising is in order, not to convince you that you need to change, but to propel you into the next stage.
3. Preparation Stage
Most people in this stage are planning to take action within a month" says Dr. Prochaska. "They think more about the pros of a new behavior than about the cons of the old one."
Strategies:
Develop a firm, detailed plan for action. Set a date to begin and make this public. When making your plan, it's important to choose an activity that you'll like and that will fit in your schedule. Time saving tips: record your TV programs. If you watch 2 hours per day, you'll save 1/2 hour in commercials--use this for your physical activity. How about getting more organized with your meal planning and go shopping only once a week--you know what to do with that extra time!
4. Action Stage
People in this stage have begun to make the changes for which they have planned. It's easy to let perceived excuses turn into roadblocks, then to relapses and then a move back to the Contemplation Stage. (See related articles Beating the Dropout Odds and Staying on Track.)
Strategies:
It's a good idea to do your physical activity with others, at least until the behavior becomes a habit. Round up co-workers, friends, or relatives and form a walking group (even if it's only you and a partner). Make a ground rule that the only excuses for not attending are being sick or injured. (When traveling, take your walking shoes and walk wherever you are).
By the time you are in the Action Stage, the phrase "Just do it" will have more meaning for you.by Deborah Mullen

This Article Provided Courtesy of Deborah Mullen

Reviewed and Published by Health Discovery

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