Over the years, we’ve learned that our clients have some things in common. And if you’re like them, being healthy is usually on your mind, but incorporating good habits in your daily life is the most challenging part.
Sure we know what we should be doing, but for whatever reasons, we don’t always stay on track. Acknowledging the triggers or situations that cause us to derail is important to setting yourself up for success.
As dietitians we strive to help people change and encourage them through the stages of change to reach their goals. Knowing what these stages are is important and can help you identify where you are at, and what to expect next.
Can you figure out where you are in the process of change? If you can identify where you are, it will help you to understand why you do, or why you don’t, make health changes that you set out to make. Most of our clients find themselves in the Action, Maintenance or Relapse (after the holidays) Phases.
- Pre-contemplation: In this stage most people are not considering change. They lack readiness, and through self-exploration they can bring about awareness of their need to change.
- Contemplation: People at this point are ambivalent about change and are evaluating the pros and cons of changing their behavior. Realizing that the decision is yours to make and finding new ways to achieve your goals is important to getting the positive outcomes you desire.
- Preparation: This is the planning stage where finding your ideal conditions and problem solve to overcome your obstacles. Seeking social support is helpful and planning change in small steps is also a recipe for success. Talking with a RD, personal trainer or reading a self-help book can help bring out the personal skills you need to change your habits.
- Action: This is the first 3-6 months of change where motivation is high and self-efficacy develops. Believing that you can change is important and keeping the long-term benefits in mind will help the lack of short-term results discourage you.
- Maintenance: This stage is the longest and hardest to do since over time you can become compliant and change your priorities. It’s important to really incorporate these changes into your everyday life and have a way to deal with the obstacles which are inevitable. Realizing that relapsing into old habits can happen, but that moving back and forth between these stages is normal.
- Relapse: If you do end up in this stage (as you may very well be after the holidays), just re-acknowledge your original motivations and identify your triggers and barriers. Plan for your New Year’s resolutions to be stronger and better for 2012!
With our blogs, we hope to get your wheels turning and bring about a new sense of awareness about how to be healthy. What stage do you feel you are in right now?