Everyone has things they want to change or work on. It could be the reason why you go to therapy. Whether it be quitting a bad habit, losing weight, or stopping unhealthy patterns in relationships. Often times people can change for a short while but then revert to original behaviors in the long term. Two researchers named Prochaska and DiClemente developed a way of describing it they called the Stages of Change Model. Though originally developed in the context of smoking cessation, it's five core stages actually can be applied to change for almost anything.
These are the stages:
This is the stage where we are thinking about what we want to change. Perhaps you have high cholesterol, so you need to adjust your diet.
This is where you fully wrap your mind about the idea of changing. This could be a moment or last longer. You might think about obstacles that could deter you. It is easy to get stuck here.
Often known as the determination stage. In this stage, we begin preparing ourselves mentally and often physically for action. You need to prepare to quit your habit and plan anew.
This is the most important part, where we begin. You may wake up and start eating healthier, go to the gym, stop smoking. Wisdom in the form of behavior finally manifesting.
This is the hard work and keeping it going that is most challenging for people. This is the hardest part of the process of change and dependent on mood. When you're feeling good, getting yourself to exercise, for example, is easier because the belief that you should exercise remains powerfully stirred up and therefore motivating. The key, then, to maintaining new behaviors...is to be happy! Which is why it's so hard to maintain new behaviors.
Sometimes relapsing can feel like you're failing but this is completely normal. It is an opportunity to reassess your resources and techniques. Reaffirm your motivation, plan of action, and commitment to your goals. Also, make plans for how you will deal with any future temptations. Resolutions fail when the proper preparation and actions are not taken. By approaching a goal with an understanding of how to best prepare, act, and maintain a new behavior, you will be more likely to succeed.
At CCM, we have a team of therapists that we match with individuals for counseling and therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy to make long-lasting, positive changes in your life. We have expertise in anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, relationship and family issues, job stress, autism, major life crises and life transitions. Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation to find out if one of our team members can help!