Embracing Change: Understanding the Five Stages, and Where You Stand Today

Let’s talk about a struggle as old as time: changing those pesky bad habits. Seriously, if it were easy, we’d all be flawless, right? No matter what the bad habit is (maybe it’s the 5th cookie after dinner, or late-night online shopping), understanding your readiness to change a behavior can make the process smoother.

To find your readiness to change, let’s get a bit academic for a second. Ever heard of the Stages of Change model? It was developed by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, born out of their years of research on behavior change. Basically, it helps you gauge how ready you are to change a behavior – whether it’s financial or otherwise.

So, it’s important you know the 5 stages of change, so you can identify your readiness to change a specific behavior. This helps you identify and prepare the hurdles that come with being in that stage.

Let’s explore the 5 stages of change:  

1. Precontemplation 🙈: Picture this – you’re cruising on autopilot, blissfully unaware of any need for change. The thought hasn’t even crossed your mind yet! You might be thinking, “Change? What change? I’m chill where I am.” Ignorance is indeed bliss… for now.

2. Contemplation 🤔: This stage is where the gears start turning. You’re mulling over the idea of change, weighing the pros and cons. “Hmm, improving my health sounds nice, but where do I even begin?” Congrats, you’re on the brink of something big!

3. Preparation 🙋: You’ve made a decision, and you’re committed to making a change. This stage includes figuring out what you need and creating a plan to take action. It’s an exciting stage, and an important one to set yourself up for success.

4. Action 👟: Action is where the rubber meets the road. You’re actively making those changes happen. If your goal is to improve your health, then that means you’ve started exercising regularly and/or eating healthier. The previous stages are important to this step in the journey, because roadblocks usually show up once we take action, and having a solid foundation helps us push through challenges.

5. Maintenance ⚙️: You’ve successfully met your goal or are routinely practicing the new behavior you’ve been practicing!  Now it’s all about keeping those newfound habits alive and kicking. Example: “I’ve been keeping up with my workouts, and I feel fantastic!” Keep up the good work!

Remember, each stage is an important step in the process: jumping from precontemplation to action might cause you to flounder or burn out. Success means moving through these stages at your own pace, so give yourself grace no matter where you are. Change takes time. Embrace the journey, one stage at a time.