Updated: Jun 16
Here’s a scenario we can all relate to: You’ve decided you want to set a goal or start a new habit. At first, you’re motivated by the grand vision of what life COULD look like if you change. The adrenaline kicks in, you make a to-list and buy stickers and planners... your enthusiasm has you convinced᠆ This is it! THIS IS MY AH-HA MOMENT!
Fast forward about twenty minutes, Your mind begins to wander to all of the action steps it will take to create that change you so desire. You have to wake up earlier, which means you also have to go to bed earlier. You have to buy a food scale. You have to commit to cleaning out your closet. You have to figure out healthy dinners that EVERYONE in your family will enjoy.
Suddenly the to-do list (even with the new pack of shiny gold stars) seems daunting and might even stir up a little anxiety. So you stop goal-setting and start scrolling through social media instead, catching up on the latest celebrity gossip or looking at someone’s Instagram-perfect life and making excuses as to why yours will never be like that.
Been there? Us too. So has every single client we’ve ever coached. The good news is...You are not alone and what you’re experiencing is actually totally normal. You’re simply making your way through the five stages of change:
This is when you’re unaware that a change is necessary or even warranted. Maybe your work is offering free health screenings or your doctor mentioned that maybe you should start eating more green veggies in your diet. Maybe your best friend is dragging you to her yoga class. You might have even read a post that piqued your interest. If you’ve ever uttered the phrase “I'm just here because my (insert person) made me come” then consider that precontemplation.
If you are aware that a change needs to be made but have mixed feelings about making the change, then you’re in the contemplation stage. Maybe you’re ordering fast food and thinking to yourself you should start packing your lunch. Or perhaps you notice you are having a hard time waking up early in the morning and think you should start going to bed earlier. You might not make a decision to start a new habit, but you're definitely at least considering it when
you’re in this stage. “I probably shouldn't eat out for lunch but I just get lazy in the morning and I'm always running late so I hardly ever pack a lunch”
Okay, so you’ve decided to make a change. Welcome to the preparation stage! This is when you start thinking about everything you need to do in order to make that change in your life. You might journal about it, google new recipes, or even buy a yoga mat. You’re not making the change yet, but it’s definitely coming.
Here we are! It’s time for the action stage! This is actually the hardest stage because you have to expend physical energy. Even if that energy is to go to bed early, you are actively doing something to make your life better.
Whether you’ve been consistent for six months or made a goal, the next stage is maintenance. You’re still at risk for reverting back to old habits, so this is not a stage to take lightly! If you’ve ever celebrated losing ten pounds by going out for pizza and ice cream, then you’ve probably not spent much time in maintenance.
Oh and don’t forget---You can actually be in multiple stages at one time! [this should be a sigh of relief not create anxiety]
If you are consistently making meals at home but getting bored by the menu, then you might go to the preparation stage and look for new recipes. If you want to keep working out but try a new program, then you’re at the contemplation stage. Shifting is okay and part of the process!
Just make sure you’re always aware of your stage. And if you feel like you’re talking yourself out of change, give yourself a pep talk.
Yes, change is scary.
Yes, it will be challenging.
But you’re worth it.
And don’t you ever forget it.
Let us help reduce your fears about working through the stages. We're here to provide the framework for success and the guidance to make goal-setting smoother with our FREE Habitize Roadmap Action Guide.