Viewing entries tagged
Singapore health coaching

Comment

The Stages of Change

The process of change isn’t linear.

The process of change isn’t linear.

Around the time Journey’s hit, Don’t Stop Believing, skyrocketed to the top of the charts, two researchers, James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, invented a new construct of behavior change that would dramatically influence their field. This theory, the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (or TTM), is widely used today as a tool to assess whether or not a person is ready to adopt a healthier behavior. TTM has stuck around for nearly forty years as the dominant lens that behavior change specialists use when working with a new client, and it encompasses six stages that individuals will encounter during any health transformation, including addiction recovery.

These stages are:

Precontemplation (“I’m not ready!” Or, “No Interest!”) - People hanging out at this stage have no intention of taking action in the foreseeable future, and often don’t realize they’re engaged in a problematic behavior. The drunk driver forced by a court judge to attend AA might be examples of people who fall into the precontemplation stage.

stagesofchangemodel.png

Contemplation (“I’ll think about it, but I’m still not ready!”) These folks have some inkling that their behavior is sabotaging their well-being, and will start to weigh the pros and cons. Negative consequences are on their mind, but change might feel a little too hard. 

Preparation (“Let’s do this!”) Individuals at the preparation stage are gearing up for action in the immediate future, and have begun taking small steps forward to address their self-sabotaging behavior. I generally meet people at the preparation stage. They’ve already read up on the issue they’re dealing with, and they’re trying to make manageable changes within the blueprint of their former life.

Action (“Check me out!”)  Superheroes in the action stage are fully engaged in reconfiguring their health and environment, and have made measurable modifications to their lifestyle in order to achieve their goals. They’re not afraid to ask for help, and they have probably enlisted a coach, therapist, personal trainer, doctor, or nutritionist for guidance and accountability.

Maintenance (“This IS Me!”) Here’s your butterfly. She’s been sustaining positive action for at least six months and works to prevent a relapse into old, nasty behaviors.

Termination (“What bad habit?”) A much debated category, termination represents people who are no longer tempted by their past and know they won’t again use their old habits as a coping strategy. This sixth stage has also been used for “Relapse,” where the individual has gone back to their old behavior. This stage was not included in the original version of TTM but was added as Termination to Prochaska’s updated model. 

While these stages are sometimes sequential, people can move in and out of a particular stage at any time— particularly in the first year of a health-related behavioral shake up.


Action: Give some thought to these stages of change in relation to your own habits. 

Power Question: Is there at least one health-related behavior that you’d like to change? Where do you currently sit on this model? 


Thanks for reading! Have you had any experience with using the Stages of Change to adopt a new habit or alter a behavior? I’d love to hear from you- leave your thoughts in the comments below. This is post #4 in an extended series on habit change.

Comment

Comment

To Move Out of Self-Sabotage, Get SELFish. Here’s How

Whether it’s an addiction, a bad habit, a harmful relationship, a self-sabotaging behavior or an inauthentic life- we’re often surprised to discover that letting go of the thing which has been dragging us down for so long doesn’t automatically coax out the rainbows and trumpets. In other words, a shiny new life won’t magically appear just because we’ve made space for it.  

The self-destructive mentality that we’ve been operating from for so long dramatically compromises our coping mechanisms and life skills. After we finally stop ingesting poison, we may realize that we don’t know how to engage in nourishing activities like cultivating healthy relationships, setting boundaries, practicing self-care, or supporting ourselves. Our sense of self is shaky, at best, and the shame that has underpinned our negative circumstances and poor decisions may still be running the show. When shame’s the director of our lives, it’s hard to know who we are and nearly impossible to assert ourselves or speak our truth.

No matter what our age, we’re bound to fall back into our intricately designed traps until we make a conscious decision to completely change how we think and relate with the world, and then seek support from mentors who can assist us in uncovering our life-affirming and creative gems from the dung pile of shame. Quitting a harmful behavior, substance or relationship provides us with clarity, but it doesn’t give us the tools we need to move forward in a healthy and wholehearted way.

Recovery teaches us to be of service and to release the habit of indulgent, destructive self-pity. Self-involved thinking is part of what got us into a mess in the first place! However, recovery also requires that we embrace SELFishness and reclaim our power by learning how to respect our own needs and health.

This can be an incredibly foreign concept to many women, who were taught from a young age to be selfless, accommodating and long-suffering- a character lesson passed down unconsciously through generations. Here are five SELFish practices that I recommend cultivating:

1. SELF-PROTECTION

Author Julia Cameron writes, “it is enlightened self-interest to be selfish enough to be self-protective. Being self-protective may not seem nice. We may say no to invitations that do not serve us.” A majority of women who engage in self-sabotage can easily be categorized as “too nice.” They are people pleasers to the extreme, and have little experience in standing up for themselves. No wonder- statistics show that women battling addictions, eating disorders, and abusive relationships overwhelmingly contend with early childhood trauma, which programs them for victimhood and low self-worth down the road. It’s these very same women who become easy targets for violence in their adult lives if they haven’t learned to protect themselves, as they consistently allow politeness and the need to be liked to override intuition and self-preservation. When we learn how to adequately protect ourselves, we gain the confidence necessary to show our true selves to the world while asserting our values and beliefs through our actions.

2. SELF-SUSTENANCE

Making a successful major life change usually requires the support of a trusted circle of people, as well as the humility to accept our shortcomings and ask for help. Being able to financially and emotionally support ourselves in some way acts as a counterweight in this process while preventing learned helplessness in what should be an empowering, freeing journey. Excuses and “I can’t” mantras are detrimental to recovery and, if uttered often enough, will undermine our efforts to improve our well-being. One of the most effective ways to legitimize our power is to make our own money through a pursuit that nourishes us, even if the paychecks are initially barely enough to cover a morning tea at Starbucks. It is the act of reaching toward self-sustenance that matters in those beginning stages. Through working, you are proclaiming, “I am committed to taking care of myself.” Similarly, by learning how to emotionally nourish ourselves rather than relying on external validation, we find our voice, our courage, and our self-respect.

3. SELF-CARE

In any major transformation, regular self-care is the contract we must make with ourselves in order to redirect attention to the parts of us that were once neglected and step into a more awakened way of living.

Initially, something as simple as taking time to meet with a coach or therapist, or read an uplifting book with a cup of soothing tea in hand will open up the space you need to trust yourself again. Self-care faciliates a romance between the body and the mind, integrating our practical needs with our higher desires and providing us with the energy we need to venture out into the world with our heads held high. Often, self-care is a sacred secret, a ritual that unleashes our childlike spirit. By doing something each day that is loving to ourselves, we generate a grounded and joyful energy which attracts supportive people and opportunities into our lives. Through self-care, we radiate the message, “I’m worth respect and love.”

4. SELF-CONTROL

Self-control is central to human evolution as a developmental perk of our prefrontal cortex. It’s also what allows us to move forward as individuals through conscious decision-making and behavioral regulation. No surprise- those of us who have struggled with an addiction or bad habit tend to be low on self-control, and once we’re able to admit this shortcoming, we’re likelier to develop more of it. Just like our physical muscles, self-control must be exercised each day in order to grow and flourish. This can feel painful and tedious at first! Because excessive self-control is tied to perfectionism, this SELFish skill may be the trickiest to master, particularly if you’re overcoming an eating disorder, exercise addiction or any other type of compulsive pattern. Often, controlling ourselves actually means riding the wave and letting go of insisting on a particular outcome. Instead, we focus on the moment in front of us and take actions aligned to our integrity and purpose. Self-control is considered one of the greatest signs of spiritual maturity, and mindfulness and prayer are two great ways to cultivate it.

5. SELF-DISCOVERY

At the heart of addiction is the belief that we should not be “feeling” creatures, that the emotions we label as negative are to be snuffed out and rejected. In our pursuit of non-feeling, we lose the essence of what it means to be human, to connect, and to love. Without a full range of emotions, we’re unable to understand who we are and what our purpose is. Self-discovery is a process of allowing once-forbidden emotions to resurface, and of tuning in to the wisdom of the body rather than processing everything through logic.

Being willing to rediscover the self means rejecting the dictates of our current society, which demands that we plaster on a happy face at all times and become masters at emotional perfectionism.

When we commit to self-discovery, our emotions flow without censorship, and we learn how to befriend them in order to uncover what we’re really about.

Although the world may tell us otherwise, every single one of us is worth self-respect. That self-respect must be generated from the inside first; once we treat ourselves well, we’ll begin to notice that other people show more kindness and consideration to us. When we put these five SELFish skills to work, we begin to refill the once empty well that drove us to self-destructive behaviors in the first place, and we eventually come to a place where we appreciate our lives enough to stop the cycle of self-sabotage for good.

How are you integrating a life of service, purpose and SELF-ishness? What's the most important thing you're doing to take care of yourself? Leave your thoughts in the comments section- I'd love to hear from you! 

Comment

Comment

Event: Creating Your Vision for 2015

Creating my new Vision Board for 2015 and assessing the old one. I accomplished a few biggies this year! 

Creating my new Vision Board for 2015 and assessing the old one. I accomplished a few biggies this year! 

Around this time each and every year, millions of people all over the world begin thinking about what they want to achieve and what they could be doing differently to have a more authentic and meaningful life. Some lament about opportunities and goals that have passed by unfulfilled, while others focus on resolutions and new beginnings. Have you ever said to yourself, “next year will be different”? The truth is, without a vision of our dreams, as well as a process to make them come alive, it's extremely challenging to achieve our goals. 

As you may already know, five years ago my life and my health were in the gutter. I came to realize that if I wanted to change my reality, I needed to be clear about what my desired future looked like. So, I began the practice of visualizing, crafting stories that represented the me I wanted to be through pictures and words. My life has changed remarkably from those many years of being trapped in the gutter, and that change was due in large part to the ladder I built with my imagination, which allowed me to finally climb out. Visualization tools like Vision Boards were the rungs of that ladder.

Whether you're aiming to complete your first half marathon, launch a business, improve your health, build your dream home, trek around the planet or bring more mindfulness into your daily life, having a clear picture of what you want can help you develop a more positive frame of mind, map out your desired future and set you into forward motion. A Vision Board— a collage of images and words that represent your aspirations— is a powerful tool for goal setting and transformation.

On Saturday, Dec. 6th, I’ll be holding a 3-hour workshop that will teach you how to create your own Vision Board for 2015.  We'll also explore how you can set your vision into motion through process creation. This workshop is back by popular demand and space goes fast, so sign up early! All supplies, coffee and tea are provided.

The link to register is here: http://rock2015.peatix.com/

I wish you a bold, brave and bright vision for 2015! Hope to see you on Saturday, December 6th.

Comment

© Tangram Fitness 2013