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Stages of Change

When we think about changing something, we can sometimes get impatient. We live in a culture of instant gratification. We can buy new clothes at the click of a button, order food without leaving the couch, and we have more access to information than ever before. When we want to lose weight, there’s a product for that. We spend millions on beauty products to try to slow aging. We invest in alternative products and substances to try and control addiction. True change doesn’t happen overnight. That's why a lot of weight loss products don’t work long term. It’s why buying one item online never satisfies. And if we are honest, it’s why one therapy session doesn’t fix everything you are struggling with.

There are stages of change that often occur when we want to“fix” something or transform the way we think, act, or behave. Addiction is something that is a struggle for many. Often, when the word addiction is thrown around, it is automatically assumed that we are talking about drugs or alcohol, but the truth is addiction expands into many different aspects of our lives. You can be addicted to social media, sugar, alcohol, drugs, perfectionism, working out, food, gambling, sex, shopping, gaming, and the list can go on.

When you are trying to break an addiction or behavior, the stages of change become more apparent.


Stages of Change


Precontemplation: You are not really considering changing your behavior or addiction.


Contemplation: You acknowledge there is a problem but are not ready to change.


Preparation: You are preparing to change your behavior or addiction.


Action: You begin taking steps to change your behavior.


Maintenance: You are able to maintain the change.


Relapse: You go back to the initial behavior you wanted to change.


Many people don’t realize that relapse is a part of the cycle of change. It can be frustrating to relapse, but don’tgive up. It does not mean you cannot overcome what you are struggling with, it just means you keep going. Finding supportive people can help in making a lasting change. This may be in the form of supportive friends and family, a support group, a therapist, a doctor, or all the above. There are people who understand and want to help support you. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of finding the right people.

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