During my Personal Trainer certification process, we reviewed the five stages of behavioral change:
1. Precontemplation – one is unaware of a problem or he/she believes it cannot be solved.
2. Contemplation – one is aware and is weighing the risks/benefits to making change.
3. Preparation – one desires to make changes and is seeking the opportunities and information on how to go about it.
4. Action – one is making changes through attitudes, activities, and beliefs.
5. Maintenance – one is empowered to maintain these attitudes, activities, and beliefs through support systems and has a good capacity to deal with lapses.
Think about the meaning of number five. Many seekers may never get to the maintenance stage. However, note that maintenance does not necessarily mean a person will not have lapses/relapses. When we make behavior changes, we must remember that it is a process. And that those behavior changes will ebb and flow. A support system is a necessity!
Willpower is unnatural. 🙂 When you think about the evolution of our species, in order to survive we could not have “willpower” as we now interpret its meaning. Human instinct is a much more powerful trait, and instinct is what led to our survival. Willpower, or denial of what we desire, is so hard for all of us because it is not inherent like instinct.
According to Keli Roberts, a fellow PT, willpower requires determination, drive, restraint, resolve, self discipline, self control, and resilience! That is a lot! Be patient and forgiving of yourselves as you go through the process of behavior change. “One step at a time!”