Many of us endure a pain and suffering existence. Well, at least there’s an upside – the notion of change often knocks at the door. But letting it in sure isn’t easy, so let’s get busy and see what we can do about it…

Have we established a life purpose? Yes, what’s the meaning of our existence? No drawing blanks on this one.

Change is a cinch when it comes to socks. But what we deal with doesn’t come out of a drawer.

I can recall times, personally and as a counselor, when the call for change was loud – booming. Yet, for reasons of self-protection, compromised insight, convenience, and more, it was ignored.

We can’t let that happen.

What are the stages of change?

We need to do some table setting before we get into our “10 things.” Let’s start with the stages of change and we’ll move on to ambivalence.

Some 45 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.”

They are…

  1. Precontemplation: No intended action in the foreseeable future. In fact, awareness of a problem may not exist.
  2. Contemplation: Problem is acknowledged, and thinking about solving it commences.
  3. Preparation: Planning to take action and making final adjustments. Ambivalence is still an issue, so convincing may be required.
  4. Action: It’s on. Behavior and surroundings modification is happening. It’s this stage that requires the greatest time and energy commitment.
  5. Maintenance: Without a strong commitment to change, and reinforcement, relapse is inevitable – typically to precontemplation or contemplation.
  6. Relapse: Self-explanatory. It specifically applies to those who successfully ceased behaviors, such as substance/pornography abuse, gambling, etc.

Now, it’s important to understand that the most successful “changers” may run through the stages three to four times before nailing it.

What is ambivalence?

Ambivalence 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. To learn more, we can take a look at Chipur article The ambivalence mire: Escape with motivational interviewing or do some work online.

10 things to think about when change is knocking at the door

Okay, now that we have the table set, let’s eat: 10 things to think about when change is knocking at the door…

  1. What exactly is the change-suggesting issue? We can’t consider the notion of change if we don’t know why it knocked at the door.
  2. Where are we in the stages of change? Do we even know what they are? How can we contemplate our next moves and what to expect if we don’t know our standing in the progression?
  3. Assess the ambivalence factor. If it’s high, why the contradiction? We need to figure it out and make the indicated adjustments.
  4. Have we established a life purpose? Yes, what’s the meaning of our existence? No drawing blanks on this one. Check out Chipur article Finding a little meaning in life goes a long way.
  5. Get with a qualified and trusted second (or third) party for consultation, monitoring, encouragement, and support. Spouse, partner, friend, counselor, clergyperson?
  6. Compose a document with the change-suggesting issue at the top and start listing changes that could resolve it – even if they don’t make sense or we’re clueless regarding implementation.
  7. Let the document sit overnight and then add or delete as needed. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, I recommend settling on no more than three for the final decision.
  8. Think about the options and visualize them in action. How do they look? How do they fit? How will they be implemented? Will they resolve the issue? Can they be maintained? Make the final decision and set an action date.
  9. The action date has arrived and off we go. It was our choice, so no excuses.
  10. Establish maintenance strategies and techniques, and begin using them immediately.

Again, not easy; however, do we really want to dump our pain and suffering existence – for ourselves and those close to us?

By the way, what stage did we just review?

Don’t fear the wolf

Pain and suffering, the precursors of change – and relief. Kind of a hopeful perspective, don’t you think? But, yeah, it doesn’t come easy. Even when we know it’s desperately needed, it can be one scary proposition.

Is change knocking at your door? Holding our “10 things” close, go ahead and answer it.

Don’t fear the wolf.

If you’re considering change, you’ll likely need info and inspiration. Peruse the Chipur titles.

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