Therapists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and others who study human behavior (parents, for example) actually know a great deal about how people move through major life changes. We move in stages. What is a major life change? We’re not talking deciding between the raspberry torte or bananas foster here.
Quitting smoking is a major life change. Quitting your job and moving to Montana is a major life change. Divorce is a major life change. Transforming your lifestyle from sedentary to active (a surefire way to lose weight) is a major life change. The transition from the active abuse of drugs or alcohol to addiction recovery is a major life change.
That thing in the back of your mind that you’ve been meaning to do for a long time, the one that you’re sure will make everything better, that is a major life change.
Here are the stages:
- Pre-contemplation – Change, what change? I don’t need to change…
- Contemplation – I think I might need to change. How can I change?
- Preparation – I think I know what I want to do. Now I just need to do it….
- Action – I am doing it!
- Maintenance – I did it. Here’s how I make sure I keep doing it…
- Termination – Alright. Done. What’s next?
Change is possible. But it’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes it seems impossible.
Knowing what stage you’re in makes it a lot easier to figure out what you need to do to move forward.