“Never look back. Unless you’re planning to go that way.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
Efforts to change health related behaviors (e.g. being sedentary, overeating, drinking excessively, being chronically sleep deprived) can leave us feeling discouraged when our plans collide with reality.
Rather than feeling defeated, it can be helpful to know that change is rarely linear for us humans. We can instead focus on making progress towards improved health. Fortunately, when we do falter, we don’t usually return to where we began.
There are five steps involved in making changes in our health (or any kind of change, really).
Pre-contemplation is the first stage where we are not really aware of the need for change. The idea of it has just come creeping into our thoughts. Awareness needs to be increased in order to move forward.
Contemplation in stage two brings some awareness to the forefront, but we’re not committed to taking action. We’re trying to decide if the “pros” of change outweigh the “pros” of staying the same. For example, “Do I want to sleep-in more than I want to build a morning exercise habit?”
The Preparation stage comes when we start making tangible plans to change: we join a gym, we partner with a weight loss coach, we research various diet plans, we set goals.
The fourth stage is the Action phase; this is where we turn our plans into reality ~ we are reaching our goals, we face inevitable challenges, we find both success and failure.
The final stage is Maintenance which typically happens after about six months of consistent action. This is when we can begin to enjoy our new health benefits such as feeling more comfortable in our body, sleeping better, having more energy and less stress.
The challenge in this stage is to prevent old behaviors from creeping back in.
It is normal for us to move back and forth between stages before finally realizing full integration of new behaviors.
Change is hard. Old patterns are comfortable and easy. When a relapse occurs, see it as a learning opportunity. Explore what triggered a step back, and find a new way to respond in the future.
To your good health!
If you are struggling to get to or maintain a health y weight, consider partnering with a WHS Wellness Center weight loss coach. You’ll get one-on-one personalized support and accountability for reaching your goals and becoming the best version of yourself. Get in touch today to arrange your no-obligation 15-minute consultation by phone or in person in the WHS Wellness Center. You’ve got nothing to lose but unhealthy weight!