On any one day our minds can haunt us something we need to change. There’s always something you’ve wanted to do but can’t seem to get yourself to do it. Messages you play in your head such as:
- You need to clean up your diet!
- You really should be exercising more!
- Why isn’t sleep a priority?
We end up feeling guilty much of the time but somehow we just can’t seem to find the motivation to make our thoughts turn into action. What is going on?
Maybe you’re not ready. The truth is there are stages of change with any type of behavior modification. A researcher named Prochaska actually came up with them when he was studying smokers and the stages they go through in quitting.
The stages are:
We actually start to move through the stages when we’re ready. With some behaviors you go through the stages 10-15 times before you are ready and exit which is why many try to quit smoking 5 times before they actually succeed. You might start and stop a lifestyle food plan many times before you actually maintain it.
The research shows relapse is the rule – not the exception.
You can’t force yourself into action if you’re in pre-contemplation and sometimes you need help in moving through the stages with someone who knows how to talk about it.
This weekend I co-ran a workshop on Motivational Interviewing in Los Angeles for health-care professionals and was reminded how we are all ambivalent about something.
Beating yourself into change is not helpful and can be harmful in the long run. If you want to make a change but are unsure how to go about it, consider someone skilled in Motivational Interviewing. There are about 1000 MINTie’s in the US and you can find a MINT trainer on motivationalinterviewing.org
If you want to make a change or maybe see results with those goals floating in your mind then perhaps it’s time to create action on your journey.
Ask yourself what stage you are in and what it might take to move you to the next stage? It is a gentler process with long lasting results.