The 5 steps to change behavior
- “Precontemplation is the stage at which there is no intention to change behavior in the foreseeable future. Many individuals in this stage are unaware or under-aware of their problems.” Some people call this phase “denial.”
- “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.” Many people in this stage can be described as ambivalent. They want to improve their blood sugar, but are not yet ready to cut back on eating sweets.
- The Preparation stage can be considered the information gathering and planning stage. The preparation stage is the most important. Fifty percent of the people who attempt behavior change and skip this stage will relapse within 21 days, according to Prochaska in his book, Changing for Good.
- “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.” During the action stage, one implements the plans developed and information gathered in the preparation stage.
- “Maintenance is the stage in which people work to prevent relapse and consolidate the gains attained during action. For addictive behaviors this stage extends from six months to an indeterminate period past the initial action.”