Do you know that in the process of change, you’d go through a number of various stages that eventually lead to your vision of a thriving health and well-being? Once you reach the final stage, you’ve developed a new identity – a transformed you, who values and prioritizes wellness.
I introduced the first two stages in Pre-contemplation and Contemplation in Part 1 of Forge through the Stages of Change. If you’re in pre-contemplation, you’re not interested in changing your lifestyle and content with the way things are. Progress towards the next stage would take time as you develop more awareness of the impact of your current health behaviors.
Once you start seeing the benefits of change, you move to the next stage of contemplation. However, this is the stage where you might feel stuck. While you recognize the benefits of change, you’re still not ready. How can you move forward? It helps to draw out your internal motivation – to have a strong reason why you want to take action. This is when having a Wellness Vision helps! (Resource available here).
Armed with a compelling why, you’re ready! Ready to take action. Congratulations as you’ve advanced to the Preparation stage of change!
What leads to success? Thoughtful preparation! This is when having a plan for action helps by writing down SMART goals. SMART meaning Specific, Measurable, Action-Based, Realistic, and Time-based. To learn more about goal setting, here’s a previous post about it – The 3 Steps to Achieve Your Wellness Goals
Part of preparation is also knowing how to work through barriers. With lifestyle change, challenges are inevitable. You think through the challenges you might encounter and come up with a number of different solutions.
When you’re in the preparation stage, studies have shown that you’re planning to take action within the next month.
When you’re consistent with health behaviors for three to six months, then you’re in the action stage. You are noticing the results of your efforts, feeling good inside and out! Another round of applause and confetti for you!
At this stage, be aware of a possibility for ‘relapse’ – meaning you go back to the previous stages of preparation or contemplation. This is when you need to remind yourself of the reasons WHY you started and much you’ve accomplished in the past several months. Go back and read your powerful Wellness Vision statement! Celebrate your achievements!
Your hard work has paid off and going strong with consistent health behaviors for six or more months. These behaviors are now part of your lifestyle with less reliance on willpower.
Again there’s always a chance for relapse, therefore always remember WHY you made the change, again revisit your Wellness Vision, set new goals since you’re continuously growing, and become a role model for others.
Healthy Behavior Change is a Choice
Understand that it takes time to go from someone who don’t see the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to someone who is living one. Also you can be at a different stage for one health behavior compared with another. For example, you may already be in the Maintenance stage for Physical Activity but still in contemplation for Healthy Eating. However, once you build the confidence with achieving and maintaining one health behavior, your confidence trickles out to other behaviors you want to achieve.
Have faith in your ability to take control of your health. You already have the strength within to be well – to be strong, to be healthy, to thrive! It’s up to you to discover the path towards change that is best for you.
If you’re looking for support and a partner on your wellness journey, I’m available for one-on-one coaching! The first step is to schedule a 30-minute Discovery Session -it’s free where we can talk, get acquainted, and find out more about the healthy behaviors you’re ready to implement in your life.
Not ready to chat yet? I have a few resources for you!
Wellness Vision Guide – the starting point of your Wellness Journey – you go through the process of writing a a powerful VISION statement – a description of your desired health and well-being in the years to come.
Be Well, Serve Well Community – Specific to Women Veteran Leaders – join our private Facebook community where we focus on healthy lifestyle behavior change in the areas of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, Stress Management, Quality Sleep, and Meaningful Connections.