Tricks of the trade: “I’m not ready for change”
Are you really ready for a change?
by Chris Volkert
It’s that time of year, when many of us who made resolutions to eat healthier and live better are already walking that narrow line between staying committed or falling back on old habits. We are trying hard to stay committed.
Change is tough. It takes persistence, positive encouragement and, most importantly, realistic expectations. We hear it all the time. I’m not ready for change. Change is scary. It’s that mindset that will be detrimental to your success.
This is the first in a new series of posts for the Free Form Fitness blog that will explore the journey to better nutrition and living a healthier life, featuring the perspective of Chris Volkert, a registered Kinesiologist, and certified nutritionist at our Dalhousie location.
“New year’s resolutions are too often unrealistic pipe dreams,” Chris said. “To go from being that couch potato to that person who is lean and fit for the long-term, you have to understand how ready you are to change and what it will take to motivate you.”
If this sounds like a psychology lesson, it is. Chris cites a common model for achieving long-lasting behavioral change, called the Trans-theoretical Model. The key is to understand where you fall among the six stages of change, and what it will take to motivate you to progress to the next:
- Pre-contemplation (not ready) – At this point, you just don’t see a problem or a reason to change.
- Contemplation (getting ready) – This is the domain of New Year’s resolutions made and broken. You recognize the need to change, and you have started to evaluate the pros and cons of continuing to live as you are. The motivator depends on you. Maybe it’s dissatisfaction with what you see in the mirror, loss of intimacy with your spouse, a health scare in the family, or just wanting to make sure you are still around for your kids.
- Preparation (ready)- Whatever your motivator, its proven strong enough to push you out of your status quo. You are ready to make a change.
- Action – You are taking concrete steps to change your behaviour, in this case, committing to a routine of exercise and healthier nutrition.
- Maintenance – You’ve been at it for a while, maybe a few months. You can see the results. Friends, family and co-workers are astounded. You feel better, and you look better. There is, however, still a risk. It’s easy to get complacent. This is the critical stage at which many people backslide without enough positive encouragement and support, and education.
- Termination – You have made it past that critical stage and have little chance of reverting back to your old ways. Your new lifestyle has become habitual. This is who you are now. The clothes that no longer fit have all been shipped of to the Salvation Army.
Many people, perhaps you, have made it as far as Stage 4 before falling off the wagon. Maybe you have several times. But don’t despair. Perhaps all you need is the right coach, to keep you on track and help you understand how you should eat and how you should exercise.
The other key ingredient is expectation management.
“Let’s face it – you didn’t get to this point in your life overnight,” Chris said. “Changing course and undoing years of poor eating and exercise habits won’t happen overnight either. But you can see a big difference in only a few months, if you stick with it and take your coach’s counsel to heart.”
Are you ready to make a change or are you still on the fence?
We have a questionnaire that just might be what you need to reach your full potential.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and say I’m ready. This just might be what you need to get you to the next stage!