A new year has begun, and we all want the best 2020 vision for the year ahead. As we start to get back into our regular routine whether that be at work, studying or training, you are probably thinking about the goals you have set for yourself and how you are going to maintain it. In the words of our January topic; how can I keep the momentum going?
The maintenance of change is often considered to be the hardest part. Changing your behaviour or your lifestyle requires a lot of dedication, grit and PATIENCE. Patience is important as change does not happen overnight. It is normal to face setbacks while trying to change. Sometimes you can fall back into old patterns as you become impatient waiting for change to occur. And that is okay. This is where patience plays a role in getting yourself back on track.
What does ‘change’ actually mean?
The easiest way to understand change is through a model developed by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente in the late 1970s. It is known as The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) or Stages of Change Model. This model comprises of 5 stages.
The first stage is known as the Precontemplation stage.
This is where an individual is not considering or even thinking about changing their behaviour any time soon. A characteristic related to this is denial of the problem, or saying that you have no control over it. An easy and commonly used example to demonstrate this is exercise. When someone is in this stage, they would often say “I am just not a person who exercises, it’s not for me”.
The second stage is the Contemplation Stage.
This is when an individual is aware of what the problem behaviour is doing to them and are tossing up the benefits of changing that behaviour. This stage can last a while due to the uncertainty of the what is required to change. Using the exercise example, people in this stage would think “I am aware that I do need to start exercising but I just don’t know where to start and what to do”.
The Preparation stage is the third stage of the model.
This is where you begin to make small changes that will set you up for the major change you are aiming for. You do this by gathering more information about what you need to do and taking those first steps. For example, researching about gym clubs and finding a club that suits you and your goals.
The Action stage is when you start acting on reaching the goal you set for yourself.
If you have made a new year’s resolution, you will currently be in this stage. The action stage usually lasts between 1-6months. This is where patience and persistence are needed. To help you stay on track, positive reinforcements can be used to help keep you motivated. For example, if you went to a gym class today at the club, you can reward yourself going out for a bite with friends or doing nothing at all!
The fifth stage is the Maintenance stage.
This is when you have done at least 6 months of the new behaviour or lifestyle and it has been consistent. This stage is generally hard, as you have now implemented the change and are focused on continuing it. As mentioned earlier, setbacks are common, especially during this part of the model. It is important to not be hard on yourself if you were to lapse. Instead, use that time to identify what triggered the old behaviour and how can you bounce back from it.
Where to from here?
It is no surprise that change can be difficult. But with the right mindset, knowledge and support network around you, it is possible. To maintain this change during 2020, remember to learn from the good and the bad, track your progress and reward yourself when you have performed your desired behaviour. Keep working on yourself, your goals and make 2020 your best one yet!
Our Psych Up! resources in January focus on how to keep this momentum going. Make sure to stay tuned for our weekly blog post updates, as well as our podcasts and webinars.