"Change" is a word we use a lot. We use it a lot because we do a lot of it. We even have a great saying for it, "The only thing that doesn't change is that things change." We are constantly bombarded with messages that we need to change. We are told to change how much we weigh, how much we eat, what we eat, how we interact with others, how we work, etc. You need only to pick up a magazine, look at TV or listen to the radio to be bombarded with messages about what you need to change.
The problem is that change is stressful. Being told to change is stressful as well. There is a good reason we get stressed when we are told to change. Where I am from we call it "being set in your ways." It's only natural. Being set in your ways is a lot like autopilot. That means you don't have to think much about what you're doing. If you had to think about every little thing you did each day, you would be exhausted in no time. So we tend to keep things the same to save energy. This tendency is useful until we really need to change.
A scientist named Dr. James O. Prochaska and his colleagues have studied the stages people go through as they change. They have found that there are five stages of change.
Knowing what stage you are in can help you get out of a rut and make the changes you need to make. In my opinion it can also help you decide to pass up the changes you don't need to make. Think about it. If you made all the changes you are told to make each day, you would do nothing but change.
Here are the stages of change:
Use these stages to help observe and analyze your self as you change, or if you are like a lot of us, as you don't change. So are there changes that you need to make but you are keeping them in pre-contemplation? Are you just thinking about doing something and not preparing? Maybe you keep preparing and don't take action. Maybe you take action and don't keep it up.Whatever you do don't lose sleep over what stages of change you are in. Treat this as another tool you can use to help yourself feel better. You will probably want to use it when you are feeling stuck solving a problem. Then you can determine at which stage you're stuck. Maybe it will make it easier to get going. Maybe you will decide to stay where your are. There's some comfort in knowing where you are.
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