Changing your life with the Cycle of Change Model
The cycle of change model is for anybody looking to make a change in their life, be it small or large. You will normally do this on an unconscious level. Knowing this process can make a huge difference in the changes you are trying to make in your life. So what we will do here is bring this process into your subconscious and you can find out where you are in the cycle of change and make adjustments accordingly.
This model was originally developed in the 1970's and 80s by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente. It was originally used for smoking cessation but they soon found it could be a transferrable model used for making changes in any area of your life. Today it is used by drug and alcohol workers.
Working with the cycle of change
Think of something you want to change in your life just now. It could be a habit you want to rid yourself of, it might be a goal you have in mind. Now, keep this in mind when I explain the cycle of change model and figure out where you are on the model:
Pre-contemplation Stage "“ This is the stage where you are not really interested in change. You might be forced into thinking about a change due to your family or friends but you don't see any problem with a habit or a behaviour.
Contemplation Stage "“ At this stage you are thinking about changing some aspect of your life. It could be something like getting fitter, giving up smoking, going on a diet, going to university, getting a new job or anything you are thinking about changing. At this stage it's just a thought but it's important to note that this is the start of any change.
Preparation Stage – At this stage you are making preparations to make a change in your life. You might have checked out the cost of the local gym, or checked out some university courses, or made preparations to get a new job, any change really. The important point is you have made some preparations and you are one step further to your goal.
Action Stage "“ This is the stage that requires the most time and energy and is the stage where you actually take the action to change. You have started going to the gym to get fitter, you have cut down on your food intake, you have given up smoking or you have applied for new jobs etc.
Maintenance Stage "“ Now that you have taken the action stage you want to maintain your new habit, behaviour, or attitude. To maintain yourself at this stage requires you to keep taking action and being mindful not to go back to your old ways.
Relapse Stage "“ This is the stage when you have reverted back to your old behaviours, attitude or habit. This can be a temporary stage and is part of the process and if you do fall into this stage you shouldn't feel discouraged at all as it is all part of the learning process and the cycle of change.
How the cycle of change can help you
Knowing that there is a process to changing your life can be a great help to some people and can help in the difficult times of relapsing.
Are there any changes you are looking to make in your life? Find out where you are on the cycle of change model or have you made a change and you are in the maintaining stage?
This is a good model to work with if you have a goal in mind and are looking for positive changes to occur in your life.
Termination of the stages – You will look back one day after you have changed your behaviour, habit or attitude for good and reflect on where you were before. Now is the time to look forward and enjoy this new you and possibly use it as motivation to change further. Looking back on your past successes is a great way to keep you motivated and to be proud of your achievements in the past. Remind yourself often of your successes as there will come a day when you will need to motivate yourself to change again and these successes will help you.