Cycle of Change

The Dumb Little Man recently posted an interesting essay on battling the wars inside ourselves.  Even more interesting, however, was the reference to Prochaska and DiClemente’s model on the “Cycle of Change”:

All change has a cycle to it whatever it is, from drug addiction to learning to read. The model from Prochaska and DiClemente states there are 5 stages to change:

  1. Pre-contemplative – You’re happy munching the cheeseburgers and don’t really care about your weight. and are not thinking about doing anything to change
  2. Contemplative – You think maybe you are eating too many cheeseburgers and maybe need to do something about your weight.
  3. Action – When you have actually managed to join the gym and start attending whilst cutting down on the cheeseburgers.
  4. Maintenance – This is when you maintain your momentum and you keep going to the gym and are beginning to see change happening.
  5. Relapse – The stage where you have not been to the gym for a few weeks and munch on a few more cheeseburgers than you did at the action/eminence stage.

All of the stages serve their purpose and all of the stages will happen throughout the cycle of any change. So just because you relapse doesn’t mean to say you are never going to change, it just means you need to learn some more and the relapse will help with this.

That’s pretty powerful, when you think about it.  Change Management, whether its directed at your self or at others, can be one of the most challenging tasks any of us will ever undertake in Life (or at Work!)  An understanding of the stages of “change” can only help you embrace it.  To help you along the journey, let me also add a link to one of the best online resources I have found on changing people’s minds.

And, last but not the least, remember Bruce Barton’s words… When you’re through changing, you’re through.

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