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Stages of Change

Thursday, October 17, 2013

As a grad student in public health 10 years ago, I had little patience with most of the academic theories we were forced to learn.

I am not an academic by any stretch, so the flow charts and fancy words either bored me or confused me (or both). But there was one theory that I always liked for its simplicity: The Transtheoretical Model, or Stages of Change.

There are 6 stages to health behavior change:

1. Precontemplation: You have no intention to change behavior in the foreseeable future.

2. Contemplation: You 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: You intend to take action in the next month and have unsuccessfully taken action in the past year.

4. Action: You actively modify behavior, experiences, or environment in order to overcome a problem.

5. Maintenance: You work to prevent relapse and consolidate the gains attained during action.

6. Termination: You don't even need to be in active maintenance because the healthy behavior is now just what you do. [This one was added later, so sometimes they talk of this only having 5 stages.]

You see why I liked this one the best? It's relatable and not academic-speak.
emoticon With exercise, I'm in maintenance.
emoticon With eating, I'm go between preparation and action... but usually it's just preparation. ;-)
emoticon With flossing, I'm in maintenance.
emoticon With sleeping, I'm in termination -- I nearly ALWAYS get my 8 hours of sleep in, no questions asked.
emoticon With using sunscreen, I'm in preparation.

Can you identify where you are in your stages of change?
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