Change is hard!
Matter of fact, I wrote a blog about it last year, you can check it out here.
Recently, I have been really working on strengthening my mind so I can do some things that I have always wanted to but never seem to get around to doing.
For example have you ever said something like…..
“I want to get up earlier and exercise.”
“I’m going to try to start eating healthier.”
“I really need to take more time to relax my mind.”
“I should spend more time with my family.”
To be fully transparent these are all things that I have said at some point in my life.
This got me wondering why is change so hard? Especially if it is something that we claim we really want to do?
I decided to do some reading and I came across the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). I have read about this before and was introduced to it during my formal education but honestly, I never really took the time to analyze it and see how it applies to my own life.
Just to give you a little history, the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) was originally developed by Prochaska and Diclemente in 1984. The model focuses on the individual and their intention (plan) to change. According to this model, change is a process that has stages that each individual moves through at their own pace.
There are six stages of TTM:
During this stage a person may or may not be aware that there is an issue. They do not have a desire to change and tend to blame others for their problems.
During this stage a person recognizes that there is an issue and wants to make a change but doesn’t take any action. They will weigh the pros and cons but there is still some uncertainty on if they are ready and willing to put in the work at this point.
You are ready for change and may have already implemented small changes to your lifestyle. You are now developing a plan of action and may publicly declare the intent to change.
In this stage, you are actively changing your behavior and adopting healthier habits. Action requires the most time and energy and is also the stage that becomes visible to others that you are making a change.
You will continue to demonstrate changed behavior. Being conscious about your actions and making efforts to prevent relapse are key to this stage. The maintenance stage is a continuous effort.
This stage is the ultimate goal! At this point, there is no desire to return to unhealthy behaviors and the fear of relapse is non-existent.
As you can see changing behavior is a complex process. In order to effect a change in lifestyle you must first become aware of the bad habits that are inhibiting you from reaching your goals.
If you do not recognize there is a problem, how can you move towards change?
If you blame everyone and everything else instead of holding yourself accountable then it will indeed be difficult to change until you address your attitudes and beliefs.
After carefully reviewing the six stages I realized that in some of the areas I wanted to change I was stuck in the contemplation or preparation stages. Meaning I’ve been thinking about and may have made a few small changes but there was no consistency in my behavior.
The simple truth is the only person that was stopping me from taking action and being consistent was me. There was no one else to blame.
We can talk about all the things we want, should, plan or need to do but it will never get done until we take action on those thoughts.
In order to successfully make a change, I realized that I needed to change the language I was using and also surround myself with things and people that provided support for the lifestyle changes I desired to make.
Here are a few changes that I have made to help me work towards the life I desire :
The words we use are very powerful. Using words like try and should do not encourage you to take action. Instead use phrases like “I will” and I must”.
What we read, listen to and watch all have an impact on our behaviors. If you are working towards changing a particular area in your life be sure to expose yourself to things that will encourage that behavior. I read books, listen to podcasts and join groups/organizations that encourage me to take action on my goals and remain consistent.
When you are working on changing unhealthy behaviors temptation is real. I’m pretty sure you have heard the phrase out of site, out of mind. So in other words, don’t put yourself in situations that will cause you to back track.
This is so important to remember! No one is perfect, no matter how it appears. If I have a bad day, or back track I just start fresh tomorrow and move on. What we do with today is what matters most.
As humans, we are very emotional creatures. But we must not let our emotions control our behaviors. I make a conscious effort to not make decisions based off of how I feel at the time. I now take my time to respond to situations versus reacting. This takes practice but it is so worth it.
So I leave you with this…….
If you really do desire to change your life, it is up to YOU to do so.
Change is a process and it takes constant effort. In order to get where you want to be you cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. Eventually you have to decide to just do it and stop talking about, after all, talk is cheap!
“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”
Find Health in Every Day!
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