The Cycle of Change
Life can be very difficult and sometimes against our will we have to move forward. In any situation, people who are trying to implement new things in their lives, they go through five distinct phases of behaviour change. Sometimes the people keep moving back and forth between the stages but with proper guidance and professional life coaching, moving forward is not impossible.
Following are the stages described in detail. Many people identify themselves in one of these stages and take it from there.
In this stage, the person is in denial. They are not aware of the problem and instead, they blame the circumstances and people around them. This can be poison to the affected person’s relationships and their mental health.
Here the person need to reflect on their situation and without any prejudice pinpoint the culprit. The focus of resolving this stage is to admit the problem, take charge and set a goal. A person needs to list all the positives and negatives of the scenario and until the pros outweigh the cons, the person isn’t ready to move to the next stage.
Now that the person knows the root cause of the problem and know their goal but maybe they are overwhelmed or they have taken steps towards their goal, but have failed and lost their motivation. The person is doubting themselves and wondering if the whole idea was a mistake.
It is more common than you think. And it is very difficult. At this stage you need support,someone to keep you motivated. You can ask your friends and family but it might take a toll on your relationships. The best thing is to ask for a trained Coach to guide you. They will keep you focused and most importantly keep you from falling back into stage 1.
Taking instant action is never a good idea. Take things slow. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the upcoming changes that you have planned for yourself. The most important thing is to ready your mind to accept the changes. Anything drastic and sudden can be very overwhelming for your mind to absorb. Think about suddenly cutting of drugs that your body was dependant on; not a good idea.
Start by making very small changes. When you get comfortable with them, add more. Take it one day at a time. Set smaller goals for you near future. It will ensure that you do not fail and go relapse.
You are now at the stage where you can start cutting off you bad routines/habits and replacing them with better healthier ones. You had mentally prepared yourself for this change.
At this point it is hard for people to actually imagine themselves achieving their goal because the results are very insignificant. Keep visualizing the bigger picture. The key is to keep at making changes and eventually you will start seeing changes. This is not the time to lose your focus and relapse into a previous stage.
5. Maintain & Motivate
This is the most important stage. Every small change you make, you have to maintain it. People make changes and when they dont get instant gratification, they just drop the whole idea. This can be very dangerous. You need to keep your focus.
You need to keep a list of all the bad aspects of your life and make sure no matter what, you don’t go back to it. This is very difficult and most people need support. Most of the time you need a guide, a Life Coach, to help you navigate through tough times and keep your spirits high.