Last week we started thinking about making changes or going with the flow, – noticing that not choosing is still a choice - whilst stressing the importance of finding an accountable buddy or support group. According to experts, any change requires us to go through various stages. These stages can progress very differently and at different rates, depending on; the individual’s character, the change taking place, the wider circumstances, the environment or culture and previous experiences.
But in essence, according to the readiness to change theory, there 7 key steps that we will all need to navigate our way through for long term change. These include the following.
1. Not thinking (pre-contemplation) – you are unaware any changes are necessary 2. Thinking (contemplation) – you may begin to think about some possible changes 3. Preparation –you haven’t changed anything, but are beginning to do so by telling others, buying in the fresh food, or dusting off the trainers 4. Action – you make a start making changes 5. Relapse – you fall off the wagon and revert back to old habits 6. Maintenance – You keep persevering and begin living with the change indefinitely, until it becomes part of a new unconscious habit – leading to 7. an improved and stable healthy happy lifestyle.
Of course, it sounds so simple in a list form like this, but we probably can all recognise it doesn’t actually work that way in real life! Because we can forget that most of the change or transformation begins not with our actions, but with the renewal of our minds.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right”. Henry Ford.
One of the biggest factors in successful and sustainable change is not giving up after the relapses! This is the time we are most likely to think you can’t.
Instead accept that all of the above are likely to happen – sometimes all at once! – then remember that Relapse is not the end of the journey! – You always have a choice to get up and try again … and think you can!
Changing alone is harder than having someone to share the journey with. Someone else can often see more objectively past the moment of relapse, and remember and celebrate progress already made.
That’s why finding a support group or accountable buddy to help support and encourage you will make all the difference. Whether you want to make changes to your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual health, someone else can help you believe and think you can try again, even after the inevitable relapse occurs!
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