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Readiness to Change

When considering making a behavior change, let’s talk in terms of health; whether it be changing your diet, beginning an exercise program, losing weight, quitting smoking, drinking, overeating, etc. everyone presents in what we refer to as a “Stage of Change.” It’s important to do some self-evaluation of where you’re at in your readiness to change, because dependent on what stage of change you find yourself in, you can benefit from different types of support in moving to the next stage of change, overall enabling you to reach your goals.

James Porchaska, professor of Psychology and developer of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, purposed six stages of change. Read the stages and challenge yourself to consider where you fall!

  1. Precontemplation - In this stage, people do not intend to take action in the foreseeable future (defined as within the next 6 months). People are often unaware that their behavior is problematic or produces negative consequences. People in this stage often underestimate the pros of changing behavior and place too much emphasis on the cons of changing behavior.

  2. Contemplation - In this stage, people are intending to start the healthy behavior in the foreseeable future (defined as within the next 6 months). People recognize that their behavior may be problematic, and a more thoughtful and practical consideration of the pros and cons of changing the behavior takes place, with equal emphasis placed on both. Even with this recognition, people may still feel ambivalent toward changing their behavior.

  3. Preparation - In this stage, people are ready to take action within the next 30 days. People start to take small steps toward the behavior change, and they believe changing their behavior can lead to a healthier life.

  4. Action - In this stage, people have recently changed their behavior (defined as within the last 6 months) and intend to keep moving forward with that behavior change. People may exhibit this by modifying their problem behavior or acquiring new healthy behaviors.

  5. Maintenance - In this stage, people have sustained their behavior change for a while (defined as more than 6 months) and intend to maintain the behavior change going forward. People in this stage work to prevent relapse to earlier stages.

  6. Termination - In this stage, people have no desire to return to their unhealthy behaviors and are sure they will not relapse. Since this is rarely reached, and people tend to stay in the maintenance stage, this stage is often not considered in health promotion programs.

Transtheoretical Model (or Stages of Change) - Health Behavior Change. Retrieved September 11, 2017, from

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