Did you come across a treadmill for a great discount price and decide, "I need to exercise more; I’m not going to find a better price, why not?" So, you now have this piece of equipment in a corner of your living room or bedroom collecting dust or acting as an expensive clothes rack.
Why is it that your good intentions led nowhere? Sure, that first week or two you hopped on several times, but then your progress came to a screeching halt.
Well, you may not have had everything in place to be successful. You need to make sure all your “ducks are in a row” to ensure your success.
You can use the Stages of Change model to work on any area you are trying to change, such as eating habits to lose weight, lowering cholesterol levels, and/or controlling high blood pressure. The Stages of Change model was first developed by psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente in the late 1970s. They focused on changing addictive behaviors, specifically smoking. The Stages of Change model identifies the phases we go through when we change our habits. The five stages are: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Tailoring your actions based on the stage you are in will propel you forward.
In the action stage, you are performing the behavior regularly, but for less than six months. This means you have established a plan of action and have implemented that plan. You are actively modifying your behaviors, experiences, and environment to overcome obstacles and achieve success. The action phase is the most difficult and requires a considerable commitment of time and energy. Change does not happen overnight. It will take persistence for a new behavior to become an established habit. The following four strategies are used to move through this stage of change:
Counter-conditioning. Substitute alternate positive behaviors for the negative behavior. It can take up to 30 days for a new behavior to become a habit. Be aware of this and put safety guards in place. Stick with your action plan and continue to replace old sedentary behaviors with new physically active ones. You may feel some loss. You actually miss your old behaviors. These behaviors are like old friends you felt comfortable with and change moves you out of your comfort zone. Review your reasons for wanting to be physically active and the long-term benefits you will gain if you stick with your plan.
Reinforcement management. Change the events that determine or sustain the problem behavior. Reward yourself for achieving your goals with something such as a new outfit, book, or running shoes. Recognize your progress and reward yourself. This will provide you with an incentive to stick with your new plan.