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Posts Tagged ‘stages of change’

cardinal-2524695_1920THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. This has been a constant sound in our house lately.  There is a poor cardinal who sees his reflection in our front window and tries to attack himself.  Upon reflection, I have realized that I am like that cardinal. I repeat the same series of actions over and over and expect a different result and am usually surprised when the results are not different.

There are many situations in life where I seem to follow the same patterns—in relationships, at work, as a caregiver, trying to get healthier, and at the grocery store where I wander endlessly trying to make sure I have everything I need in my cart.  Do you find yourself in a similar situation as me and the cardinal? THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK.

The Stages of Change Model, developed by Prochaska and DiClemente, helps us to understand that we can make changes to our behavior patterns when we are able to recognize that it is a cyclical pattern and that there is just not a beginning and an end.  Some people are able to “stop cold turkey” when making behavior changes, but for most of us, we are like that cardinal and return again and again, hoping for different results or we take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.

The 6 stages of change that we move through are:

  • Pre-contemplation: no desire to change behavior, we don’t see it as a problem.
  • Contemplation: aware of the problem but still is not committed or motivated to change.
  • Preparation: wants to change, but has not yet started.
  • Action: change has begun and behavior has been maintained for fewer than six months.
  • Maintenance: behavior change has gone six months and beyond, and the adopted behavior has become a habit.
  • Relapse: we returns to previous behavior(s).

Changing our outlook can be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding and beneficial to not repeating the same behaviors over and over.  As I work towards my own personal growth, I sometimes find that I have to “step outside of myself”. It is important to look at how my behavior affects others. I have also found that it is helpful to have a friend be my accountability partner and share with me where they see that I am stuck in the cycle of change.

Sometimes you will also find yourself in the role as an accountability partner for another OR you may find yourself helplessly watching as someone hits the glass over and over.  I have watched the poor cardinal for months hit the window again and again.  I tried to look up ways to stop his behavior on the internet.  Nothing worked.  I feel bad for the poor little bird, and sometimes I feel frustrated that I cannot help. If you are a caregiver, you may yourself in a similar situation. As an accountability partner, it is key to recognize the person you care for must take charge of making their own behavior change. Being able to step back and offer support without getting too emotionally involved can be hard to do.  I cannot change what another does but I can change my approach to my friend or family member as I support them as they work through the stages of change cycle.

As I write this, the cardinal is going at his reflection in the window again. Thank goodness, I do not have to be like the cardinal and can take small steps each day in  a variety of situations to change the outcome of whatever I am currently facing.  Even though there may be days where I am like the bird and hit the window, I do not have to stay stuck in the THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK.

Written By: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County

Reviewed By: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Belmont County

References:

Cherry, Kendra, The 6 Stages of Behavior Change: The Transtheoretical or Stages of Change Model, Very  https://www.verywellmind.com/the-stages-of-change-2794868

Behavioral Change Models, The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change) http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/BehavioralChangeTheories/BehavioralChangeTheories6.html

Dellifield, J. Remley, D., Baker, S.Bates, J.S., Communication Strategies to Support a Family Member with Diabetes, 2019, https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5322

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/cardinal-bird-teacup-trees-red-2524695/ 

 

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