The 6 Stages Of Change for Health and Happiness

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By Michelle MacLean

One of my biggest goals is to help clients actually make sustainable changes in their lives.

Most of you know what you should do. You have the knowledge. You know you should eat more greens, drink more water, eat less processed food and get more sleep. But doing it, is the hard part.

At this time of year, you’re likely spend time making resolutions and setting intentions and by late January, they’re old news.

I’ve become a student of understanding behavioral change and applying the theories and principles, so I can help my clients change for good and not slip back into this pattern of failure and disappointment each year.

One of the key things I’ve learned is that you can dream all you want about goals, visions and what your life could be like “if”, or “when” something happens, but the fact is, none of those will become reality unless you’re truly ready to change.

You may see the need for change. You may understand your emotional reasons for wanting to change. But no convincing, coercion, persuasion, manipulation or threat can actually make you change until you’re ready.

Understanding the levels of change can help you identify how – and if – you are truly ready to make a change.

Stages of change:

Stage 1 – Not even thinking about it. You haven’t even entertained the idea of changing. Essentially, you’re not ready and are in denial that you need a change. Perhaps your doctor has mentioned it would be beneficial to get your blood sugars down, but you can’t even imagine how you would do that. So instead, you do nothing.

Stage 2 – Thinking about it. You’re actually contemplating the idea of making a change and weighing the pros and cons. You keep thinking about what your doctor said and are worried about what will happen if you don’t make a change, but cutting out sugar seems impossible. You make excuses and the roadblocks seem insurmountable.

Stage 3 – Preparing to change. You’re getting ready to make a change by researching, exploring options and making some preparations. You check out various health practitioners and online programs for reducing sugar and processed foods. You get really excited about the possibilities and sign up for a two week cleanse.

Stage 4 – Taking action. Woo hoo! You’ve completed the two week cleanse. You feel amazing. Your blood sugars have gone done. You take time each week to prepare healthy foods, that you suprisely really enjoy and you’ve dropped 8 lbs. Taking action feels great!

Stage 5 – Maintaining the changes. Some healthy changes have taken place and you’re working on maintaining them as part of your daily life. But the excitement of the changes has worn off. You get invited to a party and indulge in some drinks and desserts. You start craving sweets again. You see yourself slipping back into your old patterns, so you decide to hire a health coach to help you maintain the changes for the long-term.

Stage 6 – Adopting the change. These new healthy behaviors have become a part of your daily life. You’re seeing consistent positive results and have truly adopted a healthier lifestyle. Time to celebrate! You’ve booked a trip down south and are looking forward to wearing a bikini for the first time in 15 years!

I invite you to identify which stage you’re in and develop your intentions for 2015, based on what is doable for you in that stage. Jumping into action when you are still just thinking about it won’t work. You need to allow time for contemplation and planning. And when you truly feel ready, you’ll commit without excuses.

Equipped with this understanding of the change process, hopefully 2015 will be the year you make progress, stick to your resolutions and realize your dreams. You have everything you need within you. Go after it!

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Michelle Maclean

Michelle Maclean

Wellness Coach and Nutrition Consultant at The Sugar Shift
Michelle MacLean is a Wellness Coach and Nutrition Consultant who works primarily with women who are struggling with the negative effects of sugar. She helps her clients reclaim their inner sweetness and let go of refined sugar for good in her 8-week Sugar Shift Intensive. She also offers individual coaching. Michelle doesn’t focus on diets, but instead helps create a total transformation, focusing on the relationship with food and self-love.

Download Michelle’s Sugar-Free Breakfast E-book with nine healthy recipes to rev your metabolism and energize you for the day.
Michelle Maclean

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