“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”
Happy New Year! As we begin this new year, I would like to look at motivation and openness to change. The stages of change model developed by Prochaska and DiClemente in the 1970s defines six stages of change including pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, determination/action, maintenance, and relapse.
This model, based on more than 15 years of research, has found that individuals move through different stages when attempting to change unhealthy behaviors or create healthier ones. This model of change can be applied to any desired change, for example, substance cessation, weight loss, initiation of an exercise regiment, or adherence to a medication regiment.
If we have begun to make changes in our lives maintaining those new behaviors takes practice. During the process of change, we can shift from one stage to another. The motivation for change means actively engaging in purposeful behaviors to enhance the self. Years of research suggest that an individual’s level of motivation directly impacts the degree of change achieved or maintained. When we attempt to change our ingrained behavioral patterns compassion and perseverance are required. Motivation is a dynamic process. There will be times when choosing a new behavior is easy and times when it feels like one of the most difficult decisions to make. When motivation is low, we can have faith that engaging in the behavior will result in improvements even on the days we don’t feel like doing it. We slowly change behavior and thought habits through practice. Each time we engage in a new healthy behavior we strengthen our ability to do it again. We also reduce the strength of the old behavior as we no longer reinforce it by continuing to repeat it. Acknowledging the behavioral changes made along the way versus focusing on the ultimate end goal can be very helpful. Having patience with ourselves and our efforts and avoiding negative self-talk when we return to previous habitual behaviors is crucial.
I am proud of our community of clients, family, friends, and staff and their efforts towards change and recovery. Continue to participate in the activities that contribute to your wellbeing and support your recovery. If you have found yourself contemplating change but struggling to act know you are not alone. We are a community of individuals who understand the joy and struggle of change. Reach out to our team for additional support, we are here to walk beside you and help you move toward a healthier you.