We are ten days into January 2019.
How are those new year resolutions holding up?
In this video and below, I take a look at the five stages of behaviour change and some tips to help you remain on track.
Five stages of behaviour change
According to research, there are five different stages of behaviour change.
In this stage, you are probably not too aware you have a problem with a particular behaviour. It may be somewhere in your mind but not quite in your conscious awareness. Others may have told you about any negative behaviour they see, and you might acknowledge it exists. But you be aware of all the negatives of changing your behaviour, and these will defiantly outweigh the number of positives that you can see.
You’re aware that you have a problem in your life, you want to change a behaviour or transform your life somehow but you aren’t ready to make that change. You’ll perhaps stay in this state for up to six months before you move onto the next stage.
Now you are getting serious. Plans start to be made you may even put some stakes in the ground. Choose a date that you’ll quit smoking, quit drinking start to diet and exercise.
You are on your way. You start to take action, you go to the gym, start looking for a new job and apply for positions, start and drinking less. This is where you’ll require the most effort and motivation to keep your new behaviour or lifestyle on track.
After around six months of continuous action, you’ll hit the maintenance stage.
Give yourself a high five!
You aren’t out of the woods yet, and you might still relapse at this stage.
Changing yourself, your life and your behaviours is hard work, and sometimes it can take years to break free from addictions and stubborn behaviours.
It is reasonable to relapse especially in the action stage of behaviour change and even in the maintenance stage. Life events and the unknowns can get in the way and throw you off balance. But the longer you stick at making the behaviour change, the greater your chances of finally breaking through.
Tips for success
One of the biggest reasons for failure is taking too much on too quickly and going from zero to a hundred miles an hour.
Part of your preparation stage should be spent considering a realistic plan to achieve your lifestyle changes. You are probably going to be overly optimistic about what you can achieve in a short space of time. And most of your gains will come later on in the process.
Get in in touch with your why
If you are changing yourself to get something from others, then you are doomed to failure. You want to lose weight to get others to like you more, get more dates, find a better partner you are fooling yourself.
Reasons for personal growth and change have to come from deep within yourself.
This intrinsic motivation is the only thing that will keep you going when it is dark, wet and cold and you are three weeks into to your couch to 10K running plan.
Take into account the unknowns
There are lots of different factors that will come out of nowhere and derail your plans for life changes. Some of these you’ll have very little warning about and they may stop you for months or years on end.
Stress, depression and anxiety all affect your motivation levels managing these may be your first step before you try to take on substantial lifestyle changes.
Acceptance and commitment training is a proven behaviour change model that helps you cope with all the negative emotions that will seek to hold you back to becoming your new and more improved self.
Not just a plug for professional training but get help and support from friends and family. Being open about our lifestyle changes to those that are close to us and asking for there support is key to sustaining your change.
Professional help and support can take you to a new level of behaviour change and help you make changes faster and ensure that they stick.
Whatever you are looking to change in 2019!
I wish you all the success and happiness that you deserve!