The Stages of Change is a ‘transtheoretical model of behavior change’ that discusses the steps a person goes through before making a change. There are 5 stages in this model: 1) precontemplation 2) contemplation 3) action 4) maintenance 5) relapse.
Have you ever told someone they need to ‘do something’ about a particular behavior and they look at you like you’re nuts? They are in the precontemplation phase. They do not see this behavior/issue/situation as a problem. This could be addictive behavior such as smoking or drinking; or it could be whether or not eating GMO food or watching TV is something to be concerned about. A person in this phase would say, ‘not a problem’; ‘I’m good’; ‘if this was a problem, I wouldn’t be doing as well as I’m doing’.
In the contemplation phase, a person will entertain the idea that the behavior may be problematic, but are not really interested in stopping or modifying what they do. So, in the above examples a person would agree, that their behavior is not necessarily good for them but are not interested in stopping. “I know I watch way too much TV sometimes, but I enjoy it, it’s not a problem, and leave me alone’. “Maybe I’ll stop one day, but not any time soon”
In the preparation phase, the individual decides that they must make a change. Something happens that tips the scale – new information, increased consciousness about the issue. For example, a near miss car accident due to drinking too much; your TV malfunctions and you see how much you are able to get done in the 2 days it takes for you to get a new TV. You see a documentary/read a book about the impact of genetically modified food.
You make the change.
The action of stopping is one thing, but staying stopped is a whole other ball game. This phase includes going 2 steps forward and 3 steps back and actively learning new skills and to use new tools for coping with the changes. You become aware of new things as you make your changes: wonderful things that you have not been previously able to do or see due to the problematic behavior – such as going for walks in the evening due to not watching TV; waking up refreshed in the morning due to not having a hangover; as well as other problems that surface now that you are not occupied by your problematic behavior. You stop drinking and you realize how much you dislike your job; you get rid of the TV and notice how messy your house is.
As you move along the stages of change, you enter into the world outside of you. In precontemplation, you are solidly on the earth, everything is in its place; no flexibility. There is isolation; self-sufficiency, no trust, solid mass, no change, no movement, stability, all your needs are met (or so you think).
In contemplation, you see that there is a duality – the possibility of something other than what you know. Suddenly there is a stream in this barren earth that grows into a river, dividing the land in two. You meet this increased awareness with a gasp as an unexpected intruder that you are not sure is friend or foe.
Solar Plexus Chakra
In preparation – there is the beginning spark of aspiration and hope for something better. You may feel washed away by the river of uncertainty, but the landscape is becoming lighter and greener. The intruder holds a torch and extends their hand to you saying, ‘come’.
In action, you involve your heart – you take the leap of faith – you face the fears that have been obstacles to your change. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you don’t realize it’s a leap until you look back and see where you have come from. Other times, you see the dark chasm in front of you and you have to gather up all your will, faith and energy to take that leap.
As you move into maintenance, you learn how to communicate more clearly and honestly. You say what you mean, and mean what you say. You dip back down into the energy of your solar plexus to fire you through and transform your thoughts, your words and your actions.
Third Eye Chakra
You learn to develop and then trust your intuition as you enter into relationship with others. As you do, you travel back through your root chakra struggling with earthly stubborness – changing your mind about change; and through your sacral chakra – you know you can’t do it by yourself but who can you trust? You exert your will, your desire for something better and move up through your heart where the door has squeeked open to let some air in and as it opens further, it lets in light where you can see – both physically and intuitively – what is around you.
As you look around you, you realize how big and how small you are within the universe and you set aside some time to pray.