Welcome back to Part 2 in our 3-part series: Going from Wanting to Change to DOING It!
This series exists to take you from “can’t” to “can” to action. In it, I’ll educate you on the 3 major stages of resistance from The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TM), and give you specific recommendations for whichever stage of resistance you’re in right now.
Last week, we touched on Stage 1: Precontemplation. That’s where you first become aware that changing might be nice, but you don’t have the intention to do it. To read the full article including more information about TM and why you should care, click here.
This week, we’re talking Contemplation. It’s a whole new world from what we were talking about last week! Read about the Contemplation stage below to see if you resonate with it (or ever have), then we’ll talk through how to work through it so you can start making the changes you want!
This is the stage in which acknowledgment happens. One realizes that their behavior is causing issues, but is going back and forth as to whether to make a change or not.
Here’s some not-so-great news: people often find themselves in this stage for a long time. It can be overwhelming at this stage to consider all the stuff one has to do to get to the goal. But that’s the thing: focusing on the goal itself never works. It’s focusing on each small action that does, and it’s what gets us there anyways.
Did you just have an “Oh shit” moment reading through the Contemplation definition? Don’t worry, friend. We’ve got your Mental Optics covered.
To work your way into doing, therapists recommend doing a cost and benefit analysis at this stage. So that’s exactly what we’re going to have you do…with a little Strong Inside Out spin of course.
Cost and Benefit Analysis: SIO Style
For this style of Cost and Benefit Analysis, you’ll want to set aside a good 20-30 minutes to do it right. You might have an emotional release (which is awesome – get it out!) and you’ll probably feel safest giving yourself time and privacy for that.
Get out your journal and your favorite glittery gel pen, ’cause we’re gonna break shit down.
Here’s how you do it:
- Write out a thorough list of all the advantages and disadvantages of continuing your behavior on a piece of paper.
- After you’ve created your list, read each disadvantage out loud to yourself. After each disadvantage, say out loud: “By continuing to do (the behavior), I am choosing this for myself.”
- After you read the disadvantages out loud, go back and read the advantages of discontinuing your behavior. After each advantage, say out loud: “By discontinuing (the behavior), this could be my reality. All I have to do is choose it.”
This Cost and Benefit Analysis exercise can get a little intense. We recommend having supporters nearby or at least having their phone numbers handy.
Something really important to remember is that all we’re aiming to do through this exercise is to accept responsibility for our lives right now. This is not a chance to beat yourself up. If you sense that your mind is starting to go that way, take a deep breath and say out loud as many times as you need to: “What’s past is past. All that matters is what I choose to do with now.”
And just in case you forgot…
I put this in the Part 1, but here it is again: The danger in reading about how we go about change is to overanalyze it or make assumptions about your self worth from it. The purpose of this series is neither of those things.
The purpose of this series is to educate you so that you can release resistance when the timing’s right.
Here’s what you’re not allowed to do when you read this series:
- beat yourself up
- tell yourself you can’t
- decide that because you’re in one of these stages, you’re flawed
Every single one of us goes through these stages. It’s not a matter of choosing to be ready. Sometimes it’s just a matter of your willingness levels, and those sometimes take kindness and patience to rise.
Got it? Good, ’cause that’s the end of the Contemplation stage!
Make sure to come back next week for our final installment in the series: Preparation. It’s the last barrier before action (but remember from Part 1: TM tells us that the stages don’t necessarily happen in a linear fashion). It’s where you start to prepare for change, but you’re not *quite* at the action-taking stage yet. I’ve got a load of action-motivating Love for you next week, so come right back here, or sign up for the email list to get a reminder!