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Habit Change--Six Steps to Success
As every New Year approaches, many of us are doing the usual?thinking, "This year will be different. I'm going to change?(fill in the blanks)?my work habits, my attitudes. I'll lose those pounds; I'll make that difficult choice that's long overdue." We re-make these resolutions throughout the year.
But will really follow through until the goals are accomplished? Or will this new "determination" be like the others?lots of good intentions, plenty of wishes, but basically, life goes on as usual?
Research on personal change (Prochaska, Norcross, and Diclemente; "Changing for Good") has demonstrated that successful change comes in six well-defined stages. Perhaps the failure to recognize these stages has been responsible for your past frustrations and failures in following through on self improvements.
You see, each of these stages has a series of tasks that must be completed before you can progress to the next. You set yourself up for failure when you either try to accomplish changes you aren't ready for or when you stay so long on tasks you've mastered (such as understanding your problem) that you become stuck indefinitely.
Think about your past experiences as you read what happens in these six stages.
STAGE 1: PRECONTEMPLATION When you're at this stage, you aren't even admitting you have a problem. We've all seen unhealthy denial in others. We often have trouble seeing it in ourselves.
Writer G.K. Chesterton said, "It isn't that they can't see the solution. It's that they can't see the problem."
Precontemplators don't want to change themselves. They think others are to blame for their difficulties. Likely, others are experiencing the precontemplator's problem and may be applying pressure for him or her to change. The responses?denial and resistance.
Are you in this stage? Chances are, you are with at least one of the destructive and self-defeating behaviors you need to change.
STAGE 2: CONTEMPLATIONWhen you move to the Contemplation stage, you acknowledge you have a problem, and you want to get unstuck. You begin to think seriously about solving your problem. You try to understand its causes, and you begin to investigate your options. At this point you have indefinite plans to take action within the next few months.
However, you can stay stuck in this stage for months or years. (Is this where you are now?) You know you need to change, and you intend to?someday?just as soon as?after?when the rush is over (when would that be?). You know your desire and your destination, but you're not quite ready to go.
Fear of failure can keep you searching for an easier, more dramatic, or more complete solution to your problem. The irony is, failure is guaranteed if you don't move on to the next stage.
STAGE 3: PREPARATION"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
You greatly reduce your success probability if you suddenly wake up one morning, say "This is the day," and dive headfirst into a change without realistically and specifically planning how you will make the change happen.
At Stage 3, you develop a detailed plan of action and you may announce your intentions publicly. Your awareness is high, and you may have already begun small behavioral changes. Before moving ahead, however, you need to know exactly how you will keep your awareness and commitment high throughout the struggles of the next stages.
STAGE 4: ACTIONThis stage is the one that requires the most commitment and energy. It's where you actually DO IT! You receive the most recognition and support during this stage, because others can see that you're working at it. You follow the plan you've made in Stage 3, make revisions as necessary, and "keep on keeping on" even when it's inconvenient or difficult.
Here's a caution: Action doesn't necessarily mean that lasting change has been made. It's an essential part of the process, but the failure to do what's necessary in the next stage, Maintenance, can sabotage the progress you've made so far.
STAGE 5: MAINTENANCEThe maintenance stage is a long, ongoing process. From my experience, it's the most difficult. (How many times have I dieted, for example, only to gain the weight back?)
The Action stage must be followed by constant vigilance and a systematic plan for dealing with those temptations that can draw you back into the old, destructive pattern. It's hard work to consolidate the gains you've made during the first four stages and to prevent relapse.
Celebrate achieving your goals, but don't relax and tell yourself, "Whew! I'm glad that's over!" Develop a menu of mental and behavioral coping strategies that will take you through the times when your feet begin to slip. (More on that in the next article.)
STAGE 6: TERMINATIONThere is lively debate about whether this stage is possible when the behavior you've changed is an addictive habit. The ideal would be that you no longer feel tempted, and the habit is absolutely not a problem for you. Some say, however, that you must always maintain a life of vigilance.
I tend to agree. Some can progress to the point that they are not constantly tempted, nor do they think about it every day. However, I believe that once you've had a deeply ingrained habit or addiction, you are always more vulnerable than if you'd never had it. Keep a level of awareness, especially in times of stress. Studies show that in times of stress or conflict, people are most likely to slip.
NOT A LINEAR PROGRESSION
Wouldn't it be nice if we smoothly progressed from one stage to the next? It's possible, but not probable. Most people have episodes of backsliding into Contemplation or even Precontemplation before trying again. In fact, studies show that New Year's resolutions are made, on average, five times before the changer moves all the way to Maintenance! (That's average. You don't have to do it that many times if you know how to move more effectively through these six stages.)
Don't give up! If you have a setback, don't stay there. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again?this time with a revised and better plan.
Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist who has worked with organizations across the globe for over 20 years. Her high-energy, high-content, high-involvement Magnetic Workplaces (r) programs provide dozens of practical strategies and skills that can be put to work immediately to:
Review a complete list of her programs available for your convention or corporate meeting at the website, www.MagneticWorkplaces.com.
4 Qualities of Highly Successful People
What if you can be, do or have anything you want, what would you desire in your life?Now do you believe it can happen? Yes? No? In the words of Henry Ford, "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."Well then what actually happens for those people who do seem to get everything they desire?Let's take a closer look.
Don't Let Motivation Cause You to Fail
Yesterday my teenage son Matt came home with a less than stellar report card. (Yes, even peak performance experts sometimes have trouble motivating others.
Are Your Dreams A Day Late And A Dollar Short?
One of the greatest challenges facing our ever intensive quest for the impossible dream is to make it across the finish line even if it's only by the skin of our teeth. Many outstanding accomplishments have been started just to see our vision die one foot short of the goal line.
7 Steps to a New Life Overseas
Research shows that at any one time more than half of us are dreaming of a new life overseas, but few actually succeed in making the transition from fantasy to reality.To completely turn everything on its head and start your life all over again in a foreign country is an incredible undertaking and one that many dream of but most ultimately shy away from.
Why To Dump Will Power And Get Motivated The Easy Way
For over 20 years I have been fascinated by the possibilities that exist for creating rapid and lasting personal change. And I learned some great tools for personal change.
How to Get Rid of Inaction Paralysis!
How many times have you come up with a brilliant idea only to find yourself paralyzed with inaction and wondering/regretting why you never pursued it?How many times have you allowed those unfounded fears to stand in the way of your progress? How many times will you keep allowing inaction paralysis to rob you of the life you want?Whether you want to start a business, write a book or are looking for a new job or new clients, if you want to get results?you must act when your emotions are still high and the idea you have is sizzling hot! This is usually the time when the idea is so powerful and clear in your mind. You feel confident and enthusiastic?from this vantage point "anything is possible.
Whats Stopping You?
We're all familiar with the cycle:We want new, but resist change.We want satisfaction, but procrastinate.
The First Step
Today is an anniversary of sorts for me. Three years ago today, I publicly launched Tomorrow's Edge after years of getting ready, talking about how I was someday going to do it, and researching everything but advertising! It was a huge first step in the middle of a bunch of first steps that I had taken up to that point.
Map to a Gold Mine - Could You, Would You?
If a total stranger came up to you and said: "I've got a map", what would you think?Would you be intrigued or would you think he was nuts? What if he added: "It's a map to a gold mine." Would that get you interested?What if he said: "I'll sell you the map.
Why Bother About Your Life?
Have you failed to create the life you want, because you are afraid to take risks or leave your comfort zone?Have you turned down an important opportunity because you were nervous and thus failed to adequately prepare?Are you paralyzed with fear at the thought of launching out to start that business you have always dreamed of?Are you still doing the same old things you hate so much because you are afraid to work hard at doing what it takes to succeed?If you are wondering whether it is worth the hassle to go the extra mile to create the life you want;The following ten reasons will encourage you and remind you why you must bother about your life, career, or undertakings.You bother because:1.
The Toughest Decision of All: Get Out or Get Going!
Many of us are influenced by the sports ethic: Never give up! When a basketball team is down by 20 with 30 seconds on the clock, the players never stop working. Spectators might be filing out, and the winning team might be deep into the bench, but the game goes on.
It Is Up To You
One of the first things successful people realize is the old adage, "if it is to be, it is up to me." That is, for you, the fact that your success and your course is up to you.
The First Step for Getting Better Results
How dramatically we can change our results is largely a function of imagination. In 1960, it was a technological impossibility for man to travel into outer space.
Head First: 6 Simple, Must-Do Steps to Achieving Extraordinary Results!
What important goal have you set for yourself? What is the most important thing in your life that you have been trying to do for sometime now and haven't made any progress? Why haven't you made any progress? Why isn't the project going forward? Do you believe it can be done?Try thinking about what you are doing in different way.There are five basic steps to getting lasting results.
How To Harness The Awesome, Unstoppable Power Of Persistence In 4 Easy Steps
Never underestimate the power of persistence!If you persist you really cannot fail.While you may fail many times along the way, you have nottruly failed until you accept failure.
What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?
The next time you find yourself relaxing on the couch, having popped some corn and about to watch the "Sopranos", instead, pose this $1,000,000 lottery question to yourself and see what flows. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Would you work, not work? If you knew anything you touched or did held the possibility for success - whatever that is, what would you do? If there were no time constraints, no obstacles, no self-doubt, what would you do?Some of you are already saying, "What's the point of this!?" "This will never be real!" "Who's got a million dollars??Not me!" Well, the whole point is to have you dream.
The New Morality
In a world where dynamism alters egos and principles in a man every second, where men divest in tenets that secure them from being devout to something natural, where humanity seeks reasons to be ignorant just to feel sly and intelligent - we're confronted with issues of morality. We can no longer be satisfied with being truthful incessantly, we can no longer be happy for the sake of empathizing, we can no longer be sympathetic in a world that beseeches us to be methodological, we can no longer be human when the invariable pretension has made us lose our ethicality forever - we can only choose to be different moralists altogether.
Courage Is A Gift
"It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. -Epictetus, the 1st Century Greek PhilosopherCourage is daring to be? Brave.
Lights, Camera, Take Action
Have you ever had a great business idea?Did you focus & plan out the business in your mind and then write it down on paper?Of course you did "Take Action"? Right?Well most of us have great ideas or talents that we can share with the rest of the world but never do. WHY???Think about how many Jobs you could have created and how many people you could have helped with your idea or business.
Can One Person Increase Motivation in Another Person?
The answer is yes, of course, right? People motivate other people. After all, what about coaches and inspirational speakers? They are paid to motivate other people to do great things.
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