We’re midway through the first week of the New Year when many people have resolved to “get healthy” in 2015. The problem is, most people don’t really have any idea what “get healthy” means to them or how to measure it. One of the most common goals that people have is to lose weight. The majority of folks who contact me with that as their primary goal aren’t looking to drop 5 or 10 or 20 pounds – it’s usually closer to 50 or 100 to get them to a normal body mass index. These types of goals require permanent lifestyle changes if the person has any real chance of success – and by success, I mean that they not only get the weight off but KEEP it off. For good. Saying you want to change is one thing. Doing it is another. So, are you really ready?
Stages of Lifestyle Change
The Motivational Readiness and Stages of Change model developed by Prochaska & DiClemente basically has five different stages that people move through, ranging from having no intention to change and not even thinking about it to having achieved their primary goal and maintaining it. What stage are you in?
Not even thinking about it. These folks either don’t think they have a problem, or have no intention of doing anything about it even if they are aware of it.
Still haven’t done anything to change lifestyle habits, but are thinking about it. Maybe within the next six months.
Maybe have made some minor lifestyle changes, but not enough to accomplish the ultimate goal. An example would be, you’ve started walking 5 minutes a day. It’s something, but not much. Yes, something is better than nothing, so hopefully these folks will continue to build momentum in the right direction.
You’re actually doing something meaningful now! You’ve improved your eating habits, are eating healthier foods, are getting regular physical activity at least 30 minutes a day. You have taken real action to move the needle and are well on your way to achieving your goal. Great job! Keep it up!
The lifestyle changes that you’ve made are now habits that you’ve maintained for at least six months. This is typically a maintenance stage, but many folks are still working towards their ultimate goal. As long as they continue with the new, healthier habits, the goal will come.
Remember, you can move back and forth through the five stages, or never progress past a certain point. It’s all very fluid. Many of my new clients have had success with weight loss in the past, but then had a setback of some type and regressed with their exercise or eating habits. This is common with people who try to follow fad diets that they can’t maintain, or those who get too “gung ho” at the first of the year with too many New Year’s resolutions that they can’t juggle all at once. A traumatic life event can throw a person off too, especially if they don’t have a healthy outlet for managing stress.
By the time most people contact me, they have decided that their health is worth it and are at least stage 3. They are usually ready to move to stage 4 but don’t know what to do or how to do it. If you’re not getting the results you want or need some help setting realistic and doable goals that will help you make the lifestyle changes that are needed to accomplish the task, call me today and we’ll get started! Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make it a good one 🙂