The Stages of Change; Post 2

Yesterday’s blog post featured the beginning of a series on the Transtheoretical Model of Change by Prochaska DiClemente. We started with the pre-contemplation stage; today’s post features the Contemplation Stage.

In the contemplation stage, we have shifted inward to begin thinking about the possibility of change. The characteristics of contemplation include:

  • Understanding that perhaps there are consequences to our actions; that we are potentially either hurting someone else or ourselves (or both) with our behaviour choices.
  • We start to weigh the pros and cons of changing something. Typically, during this stage, the pros and cons tend to be more equal than one sided.
  • In this stage, we tend to feel ambivalent. There is some pull towards changing, but we know it is going to take some resolve and hard work.
  • We may also feel afraid, or feel some loss because “the habit has been a part of my life for so long. How will I cope without it? Will I be able to form new patterns/behaviours?”

It is important to note that although the contemplation stage generally lasts about 6 months before you move into the preparation stage, this is often the stage that people can get stuck into for a long time. Think of smoking as an example; it often takes years for people to quit, as they get stuck in the contemplation stage; knowing that it is hurting themselves (they are no longer in denial of that), but struggling to move forward from it.

In order to shift from contemplation to preparation, it is important to spend time reflecting on what is holding you back. This allows us to start to tease out how we may get through those road blocks to get to some structural change.

In tomorrow’s post, we will look at the preparation stage.

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