Are you getting tired of change? With what we have endured recently, it would be hard to not be. According to psychologist James O. Prochaska, there are five stages that a person goes through when faced with a potential behavioral change.
- Pre-Contemplation – At this stage, a person has no intention of altering their day-to-day life. They often are only vaguely aware that a change is necessary.
- Contemplation – The contemplation stage begins when motivation takes hold and causes a person to realize that a change is, indeed, necessary. Note that this is often seen as the most frustrating stage.
- Preparation – Once the individual has committed to making the needed change, he has entered the preparation stage, in which he plans to put the new behavior into practice in everyday life.
- Action – When planning turns to doing, a person has entered the action stage. It can take up to 6 months of adhering to the new plan to enter the final stage.
- Maintenance – After 6 months have passed and a person has sustained the new behavior consistently, a long-term change has been made as the behavior is now being maintained on an ongoing basis.
It is important to note that a person can enter and exit at any stage, and often when we are discussing behavior change, humans do not approach it in a linear method. Rather, we go back and forth, failing and trying again. This can be a very long process (up to 6 months to get to stage 5!), and it just goes to show that, generally speaking, we are not made to sustain rapid-fire change.
On a more personal note, I know that many of you are facing change in your lives beyond just what happens to be on the news. Regardless of if a change comes about because of positive or negative circumstances, we need to be gentle with ourselves and those around us and allow time to really process through the emotion.
Are you taking the time to adapt to your changing environment? I challenge you to pause and let the changes sink in before you react. Give yourself space to work through this process, spend some good solid time in prayer and reflection, and maybe even take time to journal and write out what you are feeling. It will be rewarding to look back at times of change after they are in the rear-view mirror.
How can Master’s support you in the transitions you are facing?