Change Can Suck. Find Out How to Make it Easier.

Changing is hard. What stage of readiness are you in?

Posted Jul 30, 2016

Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr
Source: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr

I'm smack dab in the middle of a lot of changes (menopause NOT being one of them—not yet anyway).

'Operation Rebrand' is in high gear: adding brand spanking new services, revamping my message & overhauling my website. On the physical front, I'm changing up my exercise routine (adding strength training and beach boot camp).

Personally, I'm delving deep into my fear of speaking up and pushing myself to do it. Yes I know, hard to believe a Chatty Cathy* like me has a problem being assertive but it's true. (*Check out this 1960 Chatty Cathy commercial. Watch for a very young Maureen McCormick who 9 years later becomes Marcia Brady of Brady Bunch fame.)

Transformation sounds way more appealing than 'change'. All of this 'transforming' got me thinking about how the whole experience of change can be so damned uncomfortable. So I poked around for some resources to make it if not easier, at least a little more familiar. That way the unknown, wouldn't be so well... unknown.

When the pain of staying the same is greater than the fear of the unknown, change occurs.

There's are model, well known in the counseling field called 'The Stages of Change'. It's often used in reference to recovery from addiction, but can be applied to any transformation process. Transformation sounds way more appealing than CHANGE, don't you think? But going through changes especially big ones, rarely feels transformational until the struggle of morphing is mostly done.

Change rarely feels transformational. That happens once the morphing is done.

 Addiction Services of Thames Valley (ASTV) in Ontario has this great visual for the 'Stages of Change'. The model includes 5 stages: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Relapse is seen as a natural part of the process.

If you are contemplating a shift of some sort this guide sheet from the National Institutes of Health is another resource that might come in handy. In it are strategies for changing habits and an in-depth description of the four stages you might experience when shifting behaviors.

This particular info sheet is focused on healthy eating and physical exercise but you can apply the questions to almost new habit you're creating. I can't say I'm thrilled about some of the lingo in it: 'weight control information network'? Control anything rubs me the wrong way but the facts in this nifty handout are still really solid.

So if you're wanting to add a healthy habit to your life, find out first where you are in the stages of readiness for change. It may make that whole icky process a little more comfortable and a whole lot successful.

© Victoria Maxwell
Are you looking for  wellness coaching? I offer sessions with personally tailored science based resources and support. 'Flourishment' is my mantra. I've been living well with multiple challenges (bipolar disorder being one of them) and my wellness journey is based on evidence based approaches. Click here for more info.