More than just a Resolution
> 12/30/2005 1:29:16 PM

With the approaching New Year comes the tradition of the New Year’s Resolution.  Resolutions are good ideas in theory, they are a way for us to take stock, to reflect upon our lives and make a conscious decision to change those aspects of our live which we are dissatisfied with.  Unfortunately, you know what they say about best laid plans and good intentions. 


One resolution that seems to be hauled out on a regular basis is to lose weight.  According to the American Psychological Association, “about one-third of the population is obese; and more than 60% of us are overweight.” 


With articles on the internet, in magazines, on the television news, and a billion dollar industry devoted to weight loss informing people what they need to do, why is that people are still having trouble managing their weight? 


The main reason may be that just saying that you want to lose weight is not enough.  The Transtheoretical Model of Change identifies five unique Stages of Change that people go through when going through the process of intentional behavioral change.


1)  During Precontemplation, no change in one’s behavior is being considered. 


2) Contemplation occurs when one becomes aware of a desire to change a particular behavior, i.e. making a New Year’s Resolution, but not taking any active steps.


3) In the Preparation stage, there is not only a desire to change, but also evidence of commitment to make that change in the near future, such as not only making a Resolution, but taking a few active steps toward that goal. 


4) The Action stage is where the change in the criterion behavior actually occurs. Progressing through this stage may include intense effort to modify behavior itself as well as the environment in which the behavior occurs, and can last for a while.


5) The last stage, Maintenance, consists of ongoing change of behavior.  However, this is that stage that most people are faced with relapse to a previous stage.  Relapse can sometimes be fought by focusing on the benefits and gains from the change.



So before making that New Year’s Resolution, maybe we should take a moment to take a step back and figure out what stage we are really at in terms of our desire to change, and focus on how to take then next step. 


I was really interested in your five stages of change - I can remember being stuck on various stages of those in my life. I think that people have trouble with weight loss - and I'm not including people with clinically defined eating disorders - because there is so much bad info about eating properly out there and that perhaps we don't help people realise that it isn't a quick fix....Great blog!
Posted by: Birdy 1/1/2006 2:25:09 AM

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