Habit Change--Six Steps to Success
As every New Year approaches, many of us are doing the usual?thinking, "This year will be different. I'm going to change?(fill in the blanks)?my work habits, my attitudes. I'll lose those pounds; I'll make that difficult choice that's long overdue." We re-make these resolutions throughout the year.
But will really follow through until the goals are accomplished? Or will this new "determination" be like the others?lots of good intentions, plenty of wishes, but basically, life goes on as usual?
Research on personal change (Prochaska, Norcross, and Diclemente; "Changing for Good") has demonstrated that successful change comes in six well-defined stages. Perhaps the failure to recognize these stages has been responsible for your past frustrations and failures in following through on self improvements.
You see, each of these stages has a series of tasks that must be completed before you can progress to the next. You set yourself up for failure when you either try to accomplish changes you aren't ready for or when you stay so long on tasks you've mastered (such as understanding your problem) that you become stuck indefinitely.
Think about your past experiences as you read what happens in these six stages.
STAGE 1: PRECONTEMPLATION When you're at this stage, you aren't even admitting you have a problem. We've all seen unhealthy denial in others. We often have trouble seeing it in ourselves.
Writer G.K. Chesterton said, "It isn't that they can't see the solution. It's that they can't see the problem."
Precontemplators don't want to change themselves. They think others are to blame for their difficulties. Likely, others are experiencing the precontemplator's problem and may be applying pressure for him or her to change. The responses?denial and resistance.
Are you in this stage? Chances are, you are with at least one of the destructive and self-defeating behaviors you need to change.
STAGE 2: CONTEMPLATION When you move to the Contemplation stage, you acknowledge you have a problem, and you want to get unstuck. You begin to think seriously about solving your problem. You try to understand its causes, and you begin to investigate your options. At this point you have indefinite plans to take action within the next few months.
However, you can stay stuck in this stage for months or years. (Is this where you are now?) You know you need to change, and you intend to?someday?just as soon as?after?when the rush is over (when would that be?). You know your desire and your destination, but you're not quite ready to go.
Fear of failure can keep you searching for an easier, more dramatic, or more complete solution to your problem. The irony is, failure is guaranteed if you don't move on to the next stage.
STAGE 3: PREPARATION "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
You greatly reduce your success probability if you suddenly wake up one morning, say "This is the day," and dive headfirst into a change without realistically and specifically planning how you will make the change happen.
At Stage 3, you develop a detailed plan of action and you may announce your intentions publicly. Your awareness is high, and you may have already begun small behavioral changes. Before moving ahead, however, you need to know exactly how you will keep your awareness and commitment high throughout the struggles of the next stages.
STAGE 4: ACTION This stage is the one that requires the most commitment and energy. It's where you actually DO IT! You receive the most recognition and support during this stage, because others can see that you're working at it. You follow the plan you've made in Stage 3, make revisions as necessary, and "keep on keeping on" even when it's inconvenient or difficult.
Here's a caution: Action doesn't necessarily mean that lasting change has been made. It's an essential part of the process, but the failure to do what's necessary in the next stage, Maintenance, can sabotage the progress you've made so far.
STAGE 5: MAINTENANCE The maintenance stage is a long, ongoing process. From my experience, it's the most difficult. (How many times have I dieted, for example, only to gain the weight back?)
The Action stage must be followed by constant vigilance and a systematic plan for dealing with those temptations that can draw you back into the old, destructive pattern. It's hard work to consolidate the gains you've made during the first four stages and to prevent relapse.
Celebrate achieving your goals, but don't relax and tell yourself, "Whew! I'm glad that's over!" Develop a menu of mental and behavioral coping strategies that will take you through the times when your feet begin to slip. (More on that in the next article.)
STAGE 6: TERMINATION There is lively debate about whether this stage is possible when the behavior you've changed is an addictive habit. The ideal would be that you no longer feel tempted, and the habit is absolutely not a problem for you. Some say, however, that you must always maintain a life of vigilance.
I tend to agree. Some can progress to the point that they are not constantly tempted, nor do they think about it every day. However, I believe that once you've had a deeply ingrained habit or addiction, you are always more vulnerable than if you'd never had it. Keep a level of awareness, especially in times of stress. Studies show that in times of stress or conflict, people are most likely to slip.
NOT A LINEAR PROGRESSION
Wouldn't it be nice if we smoothly progressed from one stage to the next? It's possible, but not probable. Most people have episodes of backsliding into Contemplation or even Precontemplation before trying again. In fact, studies show that New Year's resolutions are made, on average, five times before the changer moves all the way to Maintenance! (That's average. You don't have to do it that many times if you know how to move more effectively through these six stages.)
Don't give up! If you have a setback, don't stay there. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again?this time with a revised and better plan.
Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist who has worked with organizations across the globe for over 20 years. Her high-energy, high-content, high-involvement Magnetic Workplaces (r) programs provide dozens of practical strategies and skills that can be put to work immediately to:
Review a complete list of her programs available for your convention or corporate meeting at the website, www.MagneticWorkplaces.com.
A Quick Observation of the Low Class
We can all learn a valuable lesson about the types of behavior and attitudes to avoid like the plague, simply by observing the characteristics of people we all know are low class. Being low class is not a function of the lack of money or social status. I've seen rich people and those high on the social ladder who were very low class. I've also observed folks who were living below the poverty level and low on the social scale who were very high class people. It also has nothing to do with race or ethnic background. Instead, being low class is strictly a matter of behavior and attitudes.
Self Confidence: How To Build Your Confidence In Three Simple Steps
To Feel Confident ? A C T
Your Dream Can Be Your Future
Here is a basic truth you must accept and believe if you are to achieve your dream?
Five Great Ideas From Aristotle
It was Socrates who said that the purpose of philosophy is to help each of us become "an excellent human". That seems like a respectable and reasonable big-picture goal for every person on the planet.
7 Key Steps to Unshakable Confidence
Do you remember that day? Perhaps it was your first job interview. Perhaps you were speaking to a group for the first time. Maybe you were starting a challenging new career or meeting a special person for the first time. Your throat became dry and your knees wanted to shake.
Ambitiously Pursuing Your Own Self
(Excerpted from The Power of Ambition series)
Remember, Worse Things Can Happen At Sea, So..... Dont Ever Quit!
Throughout the many pages of scores of motivational books, with the Bible being at the forefront, we are encouraged to "not give up." We are told to believe that we can come through any situation and be victorious in life. Ask yourself this question: Am I up-beat or am I beat-up?
Are You Addicted to Selling?
The definition of Motivation in Webster's Dictionary: Motive - the sense of need, desire and fear. Based upon this definition, some sources of motivation can be dysfunctional and that is why it can be so addictive.
Motivation: No Finish LInes
There is a saying that goes something like "getting to the top is easy, the hard thing is staying there once you get there."
The Time to Act
Engaging in genuine discipline requires that you develop the ability to take action. You don't need to be hasty if it isn't required, but you don't want to lose much time either. Here's the time to act: when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong.
17 More Things Ive Noticed Along the Way So Far
Three areas of life in which we get very little training, yet we all seem to have a strong opinion on: marriage, parenting and money.
It's early January as I sit down to research and write this newsletter. I launch my web browser, surf over to MSN.com, surprised to find the feature article displaying a picture of Santa Claus with the caption "It's not too late to have your presents arrive on time." Somebody's been procrastinating - either Bill Gates or me (maybe I didn't refresh my browser). Or maybe my computer is trying to give me the hint to stop procrastinating and set about the task of writing this newsletter. Nah... Bill Gates must be the guilty one!
Motivation: Tearing Down Your Own Limitations
Q.: I've always been sort of cynical about all this motivational stuff. Lots of rah-rah but no how-to. Now I see all these commercials that talk about no limits, no boundaries, etc. But there are real limits, and I think this stuff misleads a lot of people. What do you think?
Take a Turn at Tenacious!
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." Calvin Coolidge
Taking action about our current station in life involves taking responsibility for our current state of affairs. When we acknowledge that we are the main culprits with regards to where we are now, we will more likely take responsibility for creating the future we desire.
That One Thing That Guarantees Your Unlimited Motivation And Success
What can you do when you do not feel like getting started? When procrastination takes over...
My Grandmother Never Had a Degree
There were four generations sitting at the kitchen table, smacking on Mommy's delicious meal-somehow we never made it to the dining room. I smiled to myself when I thought of how fabulous this truly was--sitting here, next to my grandmother, my mother, my father, my sister, my children and my niece-celebrating Mother's Day.
Motivation: The Power of Vision
Here's an interesting story from the world of race car driving. One of the most important things that beginning race car drivers learn is what to do when they lose control of the car and go into a spin. The natural reaction is to focus on the wall or other object they want to avoid. Because their focus is on the wall, that's usually where they end up. Instead of focusing on the wall, the drivers learn to focus on where they want to go. This allows them to avoid the walls, stay on course and go where they want to go.
Free Will To The Rescue
Today's society and your private world are the results of free will. We have arrived here today through intention, ignorance or abuse. Some people understand and use free will daily. Some people completely deny it. And other people simply mock it and complain it "doesn't work."
Do You Have Staying Power?
"If you are going through hell , keep on going" - Sir Winston Churchill
|home | site map|