Action Steps: This is the time to gather information. Sign up for newsletters, read articles, and inspirational stories. Ask yourself, "What type of support will I need to take action?"
Preparation is the third stage, where individuals intend to take action soon, but have not taken any action previously -- like a person who has joined a gym or signed up for some classes, but hasn't started them yet.
Action Steps: Dive right in -- you are ready to go. This is a very vulnerable time, and it is wise to have a support team to help you stay accountable. Life coaches, dietitians, and personal trainers can help, depending on the type of change you are looking to make.
Action is the stage where it all comes together and we are actively taking the steps to reach our goals. This stage takes time, commitment, and focus as we are being taken out of our comfort zone.
Action Steps: Take it one small step at a time. Don't try to do too much too soon. This is another vulnerable stage where a support team is helpful.
Maintenance is the last step, where we work to avoid relapse. This is where probably 95 percent of dieters make their mistake. We often approach weight loss as "all or nothing," but if we stop our action steps and revert to our old habits, we assume it was the diet changes or exercise routine that didn't work for us. Instead, expect setbacks as a natural part -- and the maintenance period as an important part -- of the process.
Action Steps: When setbacks occur, we must reach out and get support. This is a crucial time to get help. Most people do the opposite and don't reach out at all, feeling that they have failed. But setbacks are just part of the process and will happen every time we make changes. Ask yourself, "Why are the setbacks happening? What small changes can I make to get back on track? How can I get support during this time?"
We go through each and every one of the above stages when we decide to make changes in our life. We can't skip any, and they are all important. Think about your New Year's resolutions, and then take a minute to see what stage you are in so you can take the appropriate steps to move forward.