We are now well into the New Year, have you been keeping your New Year’s resolutions?
Making a significant change in your life is not easy. From working out 30-minutes a day to cutting out sugar, change is not always easy. It goes against human nature and what is routine, familiar, and stable. However, successful people know that change is necessary in order to grow.
Understanding the elements of change, stages of change, and tactics to work through each stage can help you achieve your goals. Below you will find the Stages of Change Model for developing a healthy fitness routine which includes precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.
This is the earliest stage in the Change Model. During precontemplation, a person has no intention of changing. Usually, the person is in denial due to the fact that they don’t see their behavior as a problem. If you are in this stage, you have feelings that you are happy in your current state or believe you have no control over your fitness. For example, you are not working out currently and you have no intention to work out in the next 6-months.
If you or someone you know is in this stage, begin by educating yourself with workout YouTube videos, fitness blogs (like this), and talking to friends and family who workout regularly.
Start to challenge yourself with some questions:
- Do you think you need to work out in order to live a healthy and happy life?
- Have you ever had a fitness routine in the past?
- Do you consider yourself healthy?
In the contemplation stage, a person becomes more aware of the potential benefits in making a change, but the cost of the change stands as the biggest barrier. Right now, you currently do not exercise but might be thinking about exercising in the next 6 months.
The best strategy to use for contemplators is education. You need more information to make an informed decision and might still have some hesitations on the time, cost of a gym membership, and making this life change.
Try creating a pro and con list digging into:
- What are the pros and of working out?
- What are the benefits?
- What are the barriers?
During the preparation stage, you will have started making small changes to prepare for a larger life change. You have started to occasionally workout and believe in the benefits of exercise. Although you have unrealistic expectations for the change that you hope to achieve. Often times these expectations can lead to a high risk of an early dropout.
In order to improve your chances of successfully making a lasting life change you will want to:
- Prepare a list of motivating statements. Here are a few to get you started!
- Create SMART goals and expectations that are realistic.
- Continue to educate yourself on the importance of exercise.
- Build a support network at your gym, with friends or on a social network to get support and encouragement.
In the action stage, a person begins taking direct action to accomplish their goals. Here you have started working out, but you haven’t maintained this behavior for 6 months yet.
If you are currently in the action stage, give yourself a pat on the back you are well on the way to achieving your goal. Although, you will want to review any barriers to exercising and anticipate upcoming disruptions. For example, do you have a vacation coming up? How will you overcome this barrier?
Continue to educate yourself on fitness with YouTube videos, blogs, and more in order to stay motivated towards your goal.
In the fifth stage of change, a person has maintained change for 6 months or more. You have successfully avoided your former bad habits and are keeping up with a steady fitness routine.
Keep your eye on the prize and avoid temptations for relapse. Start replacing old bad habits for new healthy ones. For example, if you usually hang out Saturdays for brunch opt for meeting up at a smoothy bar and taking a long walk instead. Reward yourself for avoiding a relapse and remind yourself to stay strong through minor setbacks.