Tuesday, January 24, 2017

To Change or Not to Change

  I love this quote by C.S. Lewis, “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.  This quote reminds us of several important truths including: 1) Change is difficult 2) Change can be good or bad. 3) Change will occur whether we want it to or not 3) We can influence the type of change we want.  We can effect change in our personal or professional lives for the better or for the worse. This knowledge is powerful, but we have to act on it.  How ready are you to act on making change? 

         Prochaska and DiClemente (2007) recognized that individuals go through a process when changing various behaviors. They created a five stage model of change to assist individuals in overcoming problem behaviors and making positive life changes. The five stages of change they identified are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. They  involve the following:
1)      Precontemplation is the stage at which there is no intention to change behavior in the foreseeable future. Many individuals in this stage are unaware of their problems.
2)      Contemplation is the stage in which people are aware that a problem exists and are seriously thinking about overcoming it but have not yet made a commitment to take action. 
3)      Preparation is a stage that combines intention and behavioral criteria. Individuals in this stage are intending to take action in the next month and have unsuccessfully taken action in the past.
4)      Action is the stage in which individuals modify their behavior, experiences, or environment in order to overcome their problems. Action involves the most overt behavioral changes and requires considerable commitment of time and energy.
5)      Maintenance is the stage in which people work to prevent going back into old habits and consolidate the gains attained during action. 

       This model can help you identify your current progress and provide direction for future progress on whatever changes you would like to make in your life, whether that is being more grateful, overcoming a bad habit, or building new skills.

Prochaska, JO; DiClemente, CC. Stages of change in the modification of problem behaviors. Prog Behav Modif 1992;28:183–218.