Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Time For Change: Stage 1 – Precontemplation

Changing our lives is not easy and as discussed in our last blog post there are five distinct stages that we must go through in order to achieve this change.  These changes can be as little as drinking one less cup of coffee each day or as big as entering a workout regimen in order to prepare for an Ironman.  Stage 1, precontemplation, is where almost 50% of the public is currently situated and getting past this stage can be very difficult.

This stage is marked by you not even thinking about change.  Your physical therapist, physician, spouse, family member, or friend may be urging you to make a change, whether it is working out more or eating better, for example.  During precontemplation you hold onto the belief that nothing needs to change and you think that things are fine the way they are.  You read a blog article or see a billboard explaining how much changing your health matters but you ignore it.  You sit there and say to yourself, “I am healthy; I am in good physical shape.”1  In your mind you are immune to any health problems that your peers or physical therapist is trying to explain to you.  If you have found yourself constantly dismissing the advice of others you may be stuck in this phase; here are some ways to move on to the next stage.

Weigh Your Options – In this stage “people tend to focus on the downside of adopting a healthy new behavior while ignoring the upside.”1  Get past this by making a pro and con list.  Take out a piece of paper.  No, I mean right now, take out a piece of paper and write five to ten pros of changing to a new healthy behavior. On the other side write five to ten cons for changing.  Look at the two columns. “Is there a stronger case for or against making a change?”1

Find a “Change Partner” – It is hard to take nutrition advice from someone who is extremely overweight.  Find someone who has made a change in their life that is somewhat similar to the change that you want to make.  If you have a physical therapist, friend, coworker or anyone else who wants to change or has changed their behaviors, start a conversation with them.

Just talking about your issue will catapult you into the next stage, Contemplation.  So start today.  Don’t worry about changing your unhealthy behavior now, just start to think about it and the consequences if you don’t change. Keep coming back as we will continue to talk about the next four steps, what they entail, what needs to be overcome and how to move to the next stage.

Image: http://www.integrityfirstreverse.com/pros_cons_files/stacks_image_51_1.png

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