Stages of Change: ACTION
So, over the course of several articles, we have covered the first three parts of the Stages of Change recovery plan. We have talked about Pre-Contemplation, Contemplation and Preparation. These are a very good baseline to understand the thought process associated with making a significant (or minor) change in your life. The difference between major changes and minor will often affect the length of time you spend in one phase or another of the Stages of Change. Today we will discuss the fourth, and in my eyes, the most important part of the Stages of Change model: ACTION.
To summarize, Pre-Contemplation is when you are subconsciously aware of a change or action you need to take to improve your life and wellbeing. During this stage a person may be in denial or may not recognize the importance of the change being brought to bear. The Contemplation phase shows that the person in question has accepted, to a point, the need for change. Perhaps long term planning and a vague acceptance will be acknowledged. The Preparation stage is just what it sounds like. The person in need of change will begin setting goals, plans, strategy to deal with the change. Which brings us to ACTION. Well what do you suppose the ACTION phase looks like :-)?
What's the action stage?
The ACTION phase is exciting. After a period (sometimes of significant duration) of resistance to change, we will decide that it is time to let go of the ego a little bit and submit to the need for change. Remember, this can be any type of change that will improve our lives. This may be a change in diet, a need to quit smoking, a need to quit drinking, a need to exercise more or a need to change our daily routine. These are the hard choices in life, but if you’ve made it to the ACTION stage, things are looking up. There is acceptance of the problem, there is conscious desire to develop new skills and behavior to make the change and there is enthusiasm for this change. These are all great things with regards to making a new decision and with a positive momentum, we might win the day.
What is important to remember that our state of mind can be quite fragile within any of the stages of change. It takes a firm forbearance and a commitment to succeed during the ACTION phase of change. It may take great effort and a lot of time to adopt the new skills and way of thinking to succeed with making this change. This is completely up to the person making the change. While support and guidance is extraordinarily important, it ultimately comes down the individuals desire and will to change.
The fifth step in the Stage of Change model is MAINTENANCE and will be discussed in the next article in this series. The idea that Maintenance is the next step should give you an idea about the tightrope someone walks during the ACTION phase. Change cannot exist in a vacuum, there needs to be maintenance and management to make it all work. Doesn’t this all sound so familiar with regards to the many changes we’ve made while suffering with IBS? For me, this model is integral to my understanding of the process of change and the need to continually evolve to become the healthiest YOU, you can be.
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?