The five stages of change model describes the journey that individuals take when trying to modify an unwanted behavior or habit. It consists of five distinct stages, each with its own set of challenges and motivations.

As you review the five stages of change, try to assess which stage you are currently in.

#1. Pre-Contemplation: Life Before Change

The initial stage of the process is pre-contemplation. At this point, individuals may not yet be open to altering their behavior or habit. They may be in denial about its negative repercussions and don’t perceive it as a problem.

This stage can persist for some time. When in this stage, individuals feel some level of resistance to making changes.

#2. Contemplation: Thinking About Change

In the contemplation stage, individuals become aware that their actions are causing harm to themselves or others. They may begin thinking about making changes. However, they may be uncertain about their ability to commit to this.

The contemplation stage is marked by ambivalence. For any number of reasons, individuals haven’t yet committed to changing.

#3. Preparation: Preparing for Change

The preparation stage occurs when individuals are ready to move toward the necessary steps to break their bad habits or alter their lifestyles. They have committed to making it happen.

At this stage, individuals may start creating an action plan. They may seek support from family members or friends and educate themselves about the changes they wish to implement. Their preparation is underway!

#4. Action: Moving Toward Change

In the action stage, individuals take proactive steps to alter their behavior. This may involve setting goals, developing new habits, or seeking professional assistance.

The action stage is truly exciting. However, it can also be frustrating. After all, change requires repeated effort and discipline for it to last.

#5. Maintenance: Protecting Change

The maintenance stage begins once individuals have achieved success with their change and are working to sustain it. This involves reinforcing positive changes and avoiding relapse.

In this stage, it’s essential to continue seeking support and making necessary modifications in behavior.

Moving Through the Stages of Change

There are various strategies that you can implement to help you move through the five stages of change. Moving through these stages is necessary to adjust aspects of your life to promote your sobriety.

Partnering with a qualified treatment center like Dream Recovery can help. After all, Dream Recovery is a place to make change happen.

Seek Support

One of the most essential steps you can take is to seek support from friends, family, or other members of your support system. Supportive people motivate you, hold you accountable, and reassure you that you need to make changes in your life.

Learn About the Change You Want to Make

Learning more about the change you wish to make can help you better comprehend its process. It can also prepare yourself for any difficulties that may arise along the way.

Read books, attend groups, and utilize your therapist and case worker to gain more insight into the upcoming changes. Education is a great way to move from the pre-contemplation to the contemplation stage.

Set Goals

Setting achievable goals helps you stay focused and motivated toward reaching them. Be specific and measurable when creating your goals. Break your goal down into manageable steps to process it easier and feel the small rewards along the way.

If you have a small goal devoted to each stage of change, you can focus on how to move toward the next stage. Setting your goals initially is part of the preparation stage. Rewarding yourself for the goals you have reached occurs within the action stage.

Create a Plan

Developing a plan for making changes can help you stay organized and focused. Your plan should include steps for achieving your goals, strategies for overcoming obstacles, and a timeline for reaching your desired outcome.

Rewarding yourself for your progress can motivate you to continue with the changes you are making. Choose rewards that are meaningful to you, and celebrate each success along the way. Creating a plan is also a part of the preparation stage.

Be Patient

Making a change takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect immediate outcomes. Setbacks are part of the journey, but you must remain committed to your goals.

Patience is difficult to establish, especially in recovery. When beginning the journey of recovery, it often feels that you will be stuck in this state forever. Remember to look for the clear skies ahead of you. Patience can help you move through these stages, as each stage takes time to complete. 

Maintain Accountability

Accountability is essential when trying to alter your habits or lifestyle. Find someone who can hold you accountable, whether that be a peer in recovery, a family member, or a colleague. Ask for their support in helping you stay on track.

Keeping a journal can also be beneficial in tracking progress and reflecting on any obstacles overcome. This aspect is extremely important to reach the maintenance stage. To achieve success in this stage of change, you have to be accountable for your actions and decisions. Allow yourself to use the stages to reach success in recovery.

Progressing through the stages of change can be a challenging but rewarding journey. By seeking support, educating yourself, setting goals, creating a plan, rewarding yourself for good behavior or habits, and staying patient while staying accountable, you can successfully modify an unhealthy behavior or habit and enhance your quality of life. Allow yourself to make change happen. Remember: change is an ongoing process. Some results will take time to show. Stay committed and use these techniques to help you stay on track in recovery and move forward through the stages of change. To learn more about the stages of change and how to move through them, reach out to Dream Recovery at (657) 216-7218.

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