Have you ever wanted to make a behavior change to your personal or professional life?
Maybe you want to start eating healthy, pick up a new hobby or live a more organized life. Whatever your "big change" is, there are five simple steps you can take to help conceptualize lasting and impactful changes to your behavior.
All these steps are outlined in the Transtheoretical Model, a biopsychosocial model that incorporates five sequential stages to help you modify your behavior long-term.
If you’re anything like me, you probably freaked out a little bit with the mention of the Transtheoretical Model. I mean, it sounds so serious. Thankfully, I know just the person who can help break it down for you into bite-sized chunks that you can follow and apply to your own life.
Meet Rachel Miller Kroouze, a Health Communication and Education professional with experience in health and prevention programming. Rachel has always been interested in health communication and helping others make positive health behavioral changes.
She’s also an organizer at heart and has a lot to say about the Transtheoretical Model and how it can fuel positive behavior changes in just about anyone.
So, if you want to make some impactful changes to your personal or professional life using a tried and tested method with a proven track record of life-changing results, dig in!
Stage 1 – Precontemplation
The precontemplation stage is when you don’t have any foreseeable intentions to change within the next six months. This is the very first stage of the Transtheoretical Model and you might not even notice you’re in it or have been in it in the past.
You might have a few habits that aren’t doing you any favors. You continue to do them because you aren’t aware of the consequences. You’re probably not even aware that a problem exists and if you do, you’re ignoring it.
Or, you might have even tried to put a stop to them in the past but failed and continued along the same path. Thinking the classic “failure is inevitable, so why try?” is a common thought to have when you’re at this stage of the process.
Stage 2 – Contemplation
Ah, contemplation… an inner epiphany in which you finally start to think about change.
This is when you know you need to make a change to your behavior and fully intend to do so within the next six months or so.
To move from precontemplation to contemplation means something sparked you to put this goal to change on your radar. Maybe your doctor told you that you needed to make lifestyle changes for your health. Or, perhaps your home has run out of storage space and you realize it’s time to declutter and get organized.
A wake-up call has happened and now you’re asking yourself what you should do next to address the problem. You begin thinking about what action you need to take, and you may spend weeks or even months hanging out in this contemplation stage, which is totally normal.
Stage 3 – Preparation
When you move out of contemplation and into preparation, you’re ready to make a change. You know that you’ve reached a crossroads and you can’t linger in the middle forever. You need to move forward.
The only thing stopping you is figuring out how you’re going to do it and what action you’re going to take. So, it’s time to make a plan of action.
If you’re trying to organize your paper or get fit and healthy, for example, this is when you prepare and get yourself ready. You may want to learn how to get organized across the board, in which case the All Access Membership may be for you because it gives you EVERYTHING you need to get your home and paper organized in 365 days.
But, if you want to focus on something more specific and keep most of your organizing to one day of the week, the Complete Sunday Basket System may be more to your liking.
Take your time and have a look through our different offers to find what works for you. What’s going to help you make the behavioral changes in your life that you desire? Once you can answer that question, it makes the preparation stage so much easier.
Rachel and I are both huge fans of the Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Quiz, where you’ll discover whether you’re more of an upholder, questioner, obliger, or rebel. Understanding your tendency and how to leverage it to your advantage is a great way to help you find ways to plan for action, make better decisions, and meet your own expectations.
Stage 4 – Action
The action stage of the Transtheoretical Model is when you’re in the process of making behavioral changes with your actions. You’ve made different modifications to your lifestyle and are trying to turn these into habits that will soon become second nature.
The strength of action comes from the preparation stage. So, if you’ve prepared well enough, you’ll be more than ready to take some action and make the necessary changes in your life that you know you need to make.
Action is when you’ve convinced yourself why this is something you need to change and act on. You've prepared yourself, done the research, got all the approvals, everything is in line, and you’re ready to do the thing!
Remember that action includes making modifications as you go. Nothing is set in stone. If you find that something isn’t working for you and you want to change it, do it.
Stage 5 – Maintenance
Once you reach the final stage, you’re maintaining the changes for a prolonged period of time. You’ve been working hard to sustain the behavior change and as the months go by, you’re working to prevent a relapse.
The more you do something, the easier it becomes. As you develop new behaviors, the initial resistance you felt at the beginning gets lower. You start to see the benefits of what you’re doing, and you’ll be even happier with the decision you’ve made.
Maintenance is the stage we all aim for when we set out to make a positive behavior change in our personal or professional lives.
If you find that you make your way through these steps, only to find something that didn’t work for you or maybe you’ve “fallen off the wagon” and are right back at the first step again, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Each time you climb up the staircase, you build upon it. You’ve been there before, and you know where the squeaky step is. You know what not to do and you know what you need to change in order to make it this time. And you WILL make it!
Rachel is a member of the Organize 365 Facebook group and we expect a lot of interesting conversations to come from this episode of the podcast (and blog post) so if you want to talk to her more and get involved with the discussion, join the Facebook group – we’d love to hear from you!