Okay, so we are two weeks into 2018 and you’ve probably made some resolutions. This week on the site, I want to focus on strategies to help you navigate the stages of change within the areas of nutrition, fitness, and wellness. So you’ve decided to make a change in your life and that is great! I applaud you. I want you to realize though there are five stages of change as put by John C. Norcross, PhD in “Changeology: 5 steps to realizing your goals and resolution.” If you don’t have time to read the book, let me quickly run down the 5 stages:
1. Contemplation— This is the stage in which you are aware a problem exists and are seriously thinking about overcoming it, but have yet to make a commitment to action.
2. Preparation— In this stage we are intending to take action in the next month and are taking small steps toward change. This is probably where you are with your January resolution.
3. Action— As you progress though contemplation and preparation, you will eventually lead to action! That is getting to the gym and actually working out, or doing weekly grocery shopping to meal prep for the week. This is the stage where individuals modify their behavior and environment in order to overcome their problem and reach new goals.
4. and 5. Maintenance— This stage presents the biggest hurdle as it is the one where you will work hard to prevent a relapse into you old ways. Maintenance is a continuation. Not only will you work to maintain change (step4), but you will also have to manage slips (step 5). Norcross notes that “stabilizing behavior change and avoiding relapse are the hallmarks of maintenance.”
Now I’m not going to review this whole book for you, so I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself here. However, I will ask you, in regards to your resolution, what stage are you in? This week on the site, I’m going to focus on providing you with “action” towards your goals. Before I give you the run down for the week, let me tell you quickly how to develop a goal.
It is not enough to just say “I want to [insert resolution]”, but you also have to develop some plan on how you intend to reach your goals. Achievable goals are S.M.A.R.T goals.
In other words, it won’t be enough to just say, “I want to work out more.” By developing a S.M.A.R.T. goal, this previous statement may become “I’m going yoga class at Y7 studio twice a week for three months.” Now you’ve developed a goal that is specific [yoga class at Y7] and measurable [twice a week]. You can be accountable to yourself by tracking if you are actually going to yoga class twice a week. You also made your goal attainable and realistic as it is unlikely that you will begin going to yoga seven days a week when you never had been committed before. Additionally, this goal is timely as you have set the parameter of three months. At three months, you can review your progress and see how you did.
I myself have used S.M.A.R.T goals and have been more successful then when I just make an outward statement of an inward decision. Another tool that has helped me achieve my goals is the use of a vision board and calendar tracker. A vision board helps me to stay focused on why I’ve set this goal. There may be times when you falter and miss your yoga workout for a week or two. Having that visual aid will help you to remind you of the journey you are on toward balanced health and wellness. Additionally having a calendar tracker can help you to visually see how you are conquering your goal. Visual seeing yourself accomplish this goal can help you on those days where you may want to give up.
However you chose to navigate through your goal, remember to give yourself some credit for what you’ve chosen to do. The hardest thing to do is take the first step and acknowledge you want to make a change. Attempting this change may be challenging at times, but in the end it will be worth the struggle. You can do this because you my friend are a rockstar!
Now get out there and crush your goal!