The reality of pain and suffering. It gets real old, real fast, doesn’t it? But though it can torment us, there’s an upside. The seemingly endless downward spiral often brings change to mind. ‘Course positive change doesn’t come easy, so let’s take a look at 10 things we need to think about when change is knocking at the door…
What exactly is the change-suggesting problem? We can’t very well consider the specifics of change if we don’t know what’s really ailing us.
Well, not exactly.
I can recall times, personally and as a counselor, when the call for change was so loud, so booming. Yet, for reasons of self-protection, poor insight, convenience, and more, it just wasn’t heard.
We can’t let that happen. So let’s roll-up our sleeves and get to work.
Setting the Table | Stages of Change and Ambivalence
We need to do some table-setting before we get into our “10 Things.” Let’s quickly review the stages of change and ambivalence. You’ll see why they’re important.
Some 40 years ago, psychologists James O. Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente began working on their transtheoretical model (TTM) of behavior change. It’s most often referred to as the “stages of change.” Here we go…
- Precontemplation: No intended action in the foreseeable future. In fact, awareness of a problem may not exist.
- Contemplation: Problem is acknowledged, and thinking about solving it commences.
- Preparation: Planning to take action and making final adjustments. Ambivalence is still an issue, so convincing may be required.
- Action: It’s on. Behavior and surroundings modification is happening. It’s this stage that requires the greatest time and energy commitment.
- Maintenance: Without a strong commitment to change, and reinforcement, relapse is inevitable – typically to precontemplation or contemplation.
- Relapse: Self-explanatory. It specifically applies to those who successfully ceased compulsive behavior(s) (substance/pornography use, gambling, etc.).
Now, it’s important to understand that the most successful “changers” run through the stages three to four times before emerging without a boo-boo.
On to ambivalence, which can be a deal-breaker throughout the change process. What is it? Simply, simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings toward, in this case, an action. If you’d like to learn more, take a look at Chipur article The Ambivalence Mire | Get Out of the Mud with Motivational Interviewing or do some internet work.
10 Things to Think About When CHANGE Is Knocking at the Door
Okay, now that we have our table set with the stages of change and ambivalence, let’s sit down for the meal: 10 Things to Think About When CHANGE Is Knocking at the Door…
- What exactly is the change-suggesting problem? We can’t very well consider the specifics of change if we don’t know what’s really ailing us.
- Where are we on the stages of change? How can we know our next moves and what to expect if we don’t know where we are in the change progression?
- Assess the ambivalence factor. If it’s significantly high, dig for insight and make the indicated adjustments.
- Have we established a life purpose – the very meaning of our life? If not, it’s time. What better guiding light to lead us through change? Check-out Chipur article Is This Really All There Is? (I mean, really really?).
- Bring-in a second (or third) party for consultation, monitoring, encouragement, and support.
- Compose a document with the problem at the top and start listing potential changes, even if they don’t make sense or we’re clueless as to how we’ll implement them.
- Let the document sit overnight and revisit it, because it’s time to make our change decision. It’s my recommendation that we max-out at three.
- Think about the choices and visualize them in action. How do they look? How do they fit? How will they be implemented? Will they resolve the problem? Set an action date.
- The action date has arrived and off we go. No excuses!
- Establish maintenance strategies and techniques and begin using them immediately.
And That’s That
Pain and suffering, the precursors of change. Kind of a hopeful perspective, don’t you think? Thing is, though, positive change doesn’t come easy. Even when we know it’s desperately needed, it can be one scary proposition.
Is change knocking at your door? Grab our “10 Things” and answer it. Don’t sweat the wolf.
If you’re considering change, you’ll need ideas. Plenty available in 691 Chipur articles.