Stages of Change
When you embark on a self-development journey and you're stepping into making changes in your life that are more aligned with you, it can take time to get where you're dreaming of being. This can often make you feel frustrated and like you'll never be able to make the changes you're thinking about. It can be helpful to understand that when we're looking to change something, we walk through the stages of change.
Precontemplation - in this phase you don't recognize that you need to make a change and it may not even be on your radar yet that change needs to happen. You may say something like "everyone keeps telling me that I need to figure my shit out and I don't see the problem."
Contemplation - in this phase you understand change needs to happen and you are aware of whats not working for you, however you have no intention of taking action yet. There is no plan in place. You may say something like "I really need to go to the gym and start eating better" - with no action or plan to move forward.
Preparation - in this phase you are preparing yourself for change, there is intent on making change to address the disconnection in your life. This preparation stage can often be missed and not have the focus needed to make the next action phase successful. It's important to give attention to the preparation phase when you are stepping into making change(s). This stage determines the outcome of the remainder of the stages. During this phase it can be helpful to seek outside support and guidance, so you're able to follow-through. You may say something like "What do I need to do to make this happen? How can I make this shift? Who can help me get there?"
Action - in this phase you are actively modifying your behaviour. You are working in real time to shift your behaviour and navigate life differently. Often times we forget that during this time failure happens and is an important part of the process. Failure helps teach us how to continue moving forward. Failure is not a judgement on you as a person - you are not a failure - you have just gained more information on how to move forward and gain the change you're looking for. Stay curious in moments of failure, adjust and remain consistent with your practice of change.
Maintenance - in this phase your new behaviour has now replaced the old behaviour and you are in a moment of maintenance. Maintaining the changes you've worked hard to achieve and witnessing your world around you shifting. You are now navigating and perceiving the world differently than before. Acknowledging and celebrating yourself and how far you've come can help to maintain the change during this phase.
Relapse - in this phase you relapse back into old behaviours. This is part of the process and something that is normal within change. Relapse does not mean you are a failure, again this means you have more information on how to move forward. When you become aware that relapse has happened it can be helpful to acknowledge where you are in the stages of change and what you need to step back into the preparation and action phases. Reach to your support and guidance when you need to.