- Pre-Contemplation- Person has not even started to consider pros and cons of changing the behavior
- Contemplation- Preson begins to think about whether it would be worth making a change
- Preparation- Person has decided to make the change and is trying to take steps towards taking action
- Action- Person is actively trying to change the behavior
- Maintenance- Person has maintained the new behavior for some time and is active against relapse
Why Does This Matter?
As health professionals (PTs, Chiros, Trainers, educators, etc) we are in constant contact with our patients/clients. Often several times a week for several weeks, thus it is important to use this time efficiently as teachable moments. Engage the individual in discussions about general health, find out if they smoke, are they a diabetic, and what their activity level is, especially modes of physical activity they prefer (this can provide a lot of information on possible strengths and weaknesses!). Ask if they are interested in learning about issues to improve their health status and begin educating them based on the stage they are in (it is important to meet someone where they are with little changes, instead of redoing their entire lifestyle). Make sure to never be confrontational or use fear as a motivator, instead focus on the Pros to changing the behavior and make them believe they are capable of making the change.
Research supports the only way to change is to keep trying. We must make the person understand that failing and attempt is not failing but an education in how to make the change the next attempt (learning what does NOT work is equally as important as learning what DOES work). Failing to make a change is not a sign of weakness.