Here we are in the third week of my #MotivationMonday series on Change. If you looked for me last week, but didn’t find me, it’s because I was honoring Labor Day. Everyone deserves a day of rest!
Last time we met, we were talking about the contemplation stage of change. You know where you want to be with the change you are seeking, but you aren’t quite ready to go.
Preparation is the third stage of change. Most people at this stage are planning to take action within the month, and they are making adjustments before they begin.
What does this look like?
Let’s go back to my example of a patient who binges at 4 p.m. everyday on candy.
In the contemplation stage, the patient was considering doing some lunges or phoning a friend instead of eating candy. Well, if they were in the preparation stage, they might be considering that they need to be wearing comfortable shoes, and making sure that everyday those shoes were in their car. They might be thinking about their schedule every day at 4 p.m. They need to have the ability to stop and do some lunges. So maybe they are avoiding meetings at 4 p.m. If they were still considering phoning a friend, they would want to reach out to those people and just let them know that they should expect a phone call everyday and making detailed notes about who is available at 4 p.m. and who is not.
This brings me to my next point about Preparation. It is important to make public your intended change.
Well for one thing, in the preparation stage, a patient might still have some ambivalence about the change. Talking about it publicly can help air some of those feelings. For another reason, a patient needs support. This way, loved ones can be as supportive as possible in this endeavor to change. A patient may also discover that some people are not as supportive as they would like, and that’s an important discovery as well. It helps to prepare the patient.
Patients who prepare are more likely to succeed. Patients who cut short the preparation stage lower their chances of success.
So, theoretically, could you wake up one day and just stop binging on candy at 4p.m.? Yes.
But I would challenge you to consider this: how would you feel if you failed? Would it keep you from trying to tackle the problem again?
Afterall, if you have a plan, you can always examine the plan. You can analyze what part of the plan was successful and what part was not. Without a plan, it can feel like it is just a failure.
Next week, we’ll discuss the fourth stage of change and its complexities for both the patient and the professional.
Get Sun. Eat Clean. Be Well.