Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Time for Change: Stage 2 – Contemplation

After reading our last two blogs you are now ready to start giving some thought to changing your behavior.  In this next stage, contemplation, you start to think “maybe I should go to a physical therapist for my back pain” or “I should start working out so I can become healthier.”    Although you are beginning to have these feelings your plans remain distant and indefinite.  “When you talk about the possibility of change, there is always a ‘but’1  You have a good reason to make a change in your life but there is always an excuse to follow such as you don’t have enough time or it may cost you some extra money that you weren’t planning on spending.

In this stage you go back and forth from wanting to change and wanting things to stay the way they are.  Many people get stuck here for weeks, months, or even years.  These are the people that every January 1st, make the same New Year’s resolution but never even begin to make the change.  It’s on your mind but you can’t get out of the rut and just make the right decision.  It is best to stop thinking about all the obstacles to change and focus more on the problems that you truly want to change.

Give your Mind a Nudge – Every time you catch yourself making a ‘but’ statement, push yourself to examine it more closely.  In the example where you’re ‘too busy’ to exercise, you might ask yourself: ‘If I don’t have a 30-minute block of time for exercise, do I have three 10-minute ones?’ or “If I like to watch TV in the evening, could I do it while walking on a treadmill?’”1

Track Your Problems and Progress – Make a daily journal and keep track of every time you are in pain or every time you think about being unfit.  Did you try to put on a pair of pants and they don’t fit the way they used to? Write it down!  You will be able to look back at this journal and find patterns.  Maybe you notice that you are more bloated after eating certain foods - Change your diet!  Maybe you find that you have more pain after being inactive and sitting for long periods of time – Go see a physical therapist! Do you become aware of gained body weight or lost muscle mass – Begin an exercise program at Hayashida & Associates Physical Therapy.

Stay Tuned: In next week’s blog we actually start to make the changes that we have been talking about this past month.  We will then follow up on the hardest stage of them all, maintaining the change in your life over the long haul.

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