By: Mike Aguirre
There are many thoughts, opinions, excuses and fears about stepping foot into a gym and creating a new healthy lifestyle that you have pictured in your mind. Typically there are two types of people. Type 1, the person who struggles to consistently bring himself or herself to training sessions and also struggles equally to eat right. This type of person does not like going to training sessions or likes changing their nutrition habits. It is viewed as a chore, quits, restarts and falls off the horse more than once. This person has yet to make the transition. Type 2, the person who has embraced a healthy lifestyle, consistently making their training sessions, has their nutrition and eating habits under control, hates to miss a workout and doesn’t need to be nudged any further to be hit their goals. This person has made the transition. There is no one strategy that works for everyone but there is a psychology of change that I want to introduce you to if you have not yet heard of it already. It is called The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change. Scientists and psychologists came up with this model to explain processes of stages that behavior change typically occurs according to research.
There are six stages of change and it all starts with stage one which is called precontemplation. This is a point where people don’t even consider taking action within the upcoming six months. The reasons as to why are all over ranging from scared about their inability to change after failing in the past, consequences of their current behavior etc. Typically in this stage they avoid reading, writing, talking or thinking about their behavior because they don’t want to change. Often characterized as unmotivated.
Stage 2 of this model is called contemplation. It is informally known as the “thinking about it stage” In this stage you might find someone intending to make the change within a 6 month window. In this stage someone is more aware of the pros but also well aware of the cons. The pros and cons can cause hesitation and keep people stuck on the fence.
Stage 3 Preparation, It is the stage where someone really intends to take action within 30 days. Most of the time the have already taken one significant step toward their new goal behavior such as seeking a gyms in Scottsdale AZ or searching for training information online.
Stage 4 is the action stage. Someone in this stage has already made specific changes to their lifestyles in the last 6 months. Although action is great and it is the driving factor it should not be looked at as a successful behavior change. You might ask why? That is because not every effort can be looked at as sufficient enough to reduce risks for falling off the horse yet again.
Stage 5 the maintenance stage. In this stage modifications have been made similar to stage 4 but they are further along because they do not need to apply change processes as often as during stage 4. Working on preventing falling back into their old behavior patterns and are more confident they will continue with their changes. It was estimated this part of the change last approximately six months to about five years.
Lastly, stage 6 termination. Once this stage is reached there is zero temptation to fall back to old behavior. 100% self-efficacy which results to the confidence in their own ability to achieve their desired results. No matter how, bored, tired, stressed, fatigued they may be they will not return to their old self. They behave as if their previous habits and lifestyle were never lived by them at all. Recognize your stage of change and use it to evaluate yourself and use it to benefit you to reaching your goals.
DiClemente, C. C., & Prochaska, J. O. (1982). Self-change and therapy change of smoking behavior: A comparison of processes of change in cessation and maintenance. Addictive behaviors, 7 (2), pp. 133-142.
Hall, K. L., & Rossi, J. S. (2008). Meta-analytic examination of the strong and weak principles across 48 health behaviors. Preventive medicine, 46 (3), pp. 266-274.
Michie, S., West, R., Campbell, R., Brown, J., & Gainforth, H. (2014). ABC of Behavior Change Theories: An Essential Resource for Researchers, Policy Makers and Practitioners. UK: Silverback.