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Episode 197: The Secret to Getting Yourself to Change

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Tell me if you've experienced this situation before...

You're scrolling social media, and one of your favorite health coaches comes on with a really inspiring post and you think to yourself, That's it... I'm doing it. 

You have a conversation with her, you hand her your credit card, and then you go to start the program and suddenly all that motivation you had when you saw that post disappears. 

You don't really want to follow her suggestions, you find yourself dodging her calls, you rebel against the very idea of changing, and before you know it the program is over, you have no results, and you're left wondering if anything will ever change. 

Maybe it's the program that wasn't right for you. Maybe it was the coach. Maybe it wasn't the right time. Or maybe you didn't follow the steps to work yourself through the 5 stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. 

I see this a lot in my practice, we try to jump from contemplation to action and every time they fall flat on their face. 

Now before we talk about how to move through the stages of change so you can successfully make it to action and maintenance, let's me sure we understand what each of the phases entails.


Pre-contemplation: "The person is not even considering changing. They may be in denial about their health problem, or not consider it serious. They may have tried unsuccessfully to change so many times that they have given up."

Contemplation: "The person is ambivalent about changing. During this stage, the person weighs benefits versus costs of barriers (e.g. time, expense, bother, fear)."

Preparation: "The person is prepared to experiment with small changes."

Action: "The person takes definitive action to change behavior."

Maintenance: "The person strives to maintain the new behavior over the long term."

A lot of people enter into a coaching relationship in the contemplation phase and they hope that just by having a plan and accountability they'll be successful.

But action has to come from within if it's going to be sustainable. 

Now that's not to say you shouldn't use a coach until you're ready for action, but you should look for a coach who has an understanding of behavior change who can gently and effectively guide you through the phases. 

Here's how...


How to move from pre-contemplation to contemplation:

"Become more aware, concerned, hopeful, and confident about change...increase awareness of existing risks and problematic behavior."

This is why all of my programs include access to my nutrition portal with educational trainings. Many people think that by doing nothing they're just standing still, so there isn't anything pushing them forward.

But when you start to really get a deep understanding of how your choices are actively impacting you day in and day out, it's a lot harder to ignore the need to change. 

This is where I shed light on the fact that those aches and pains, that fatigue, that bad sleep, and those cravings you're experiencing aren't just natural parts of life and getting older, they're actually tied to your habits. 

How to move from contemplation to preparation:

"Understand the risk of not doing something versus the benefits of doing it. Solidify the decision to change."

Some questions I use to help people work through this one is:

What are the benefits of staying the same?

What are the benefits of changing?

What are the negative consequences of staying the same?

What are the negative consequences of changing?

It's easy to focus on how hard change is and how easy staying the same is. By digging into these questions we force a deeper analysis of whether the effort to change is, in fact, worth it. 

How to move from preparation to action:

"Commit to change and agree to a change plan... that considers the barriers they may experience."

That second part is massively important. Just last week I told a client I wanted her to not use screens an hour before bed to help with her sleep. This seems like a fairly simple action plan. 

However one thing I ask clients when setting their habits for the week is "On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that you can be successful with this?" 

And when I asked her this, she said 1.5. 

It was clear from that answer that the barrier to change was too high, so we continued the conversation until we landed on good night time habits that felt more doable for her: buying a pair of blue light blocking glasses, and not getting on social media an hour before bed. 

The last piece is moving from action to maintenance.

To do this we really focus on managing various types of obstacles that may come up in the future, learn to deal with the loss of the life/identity we used to have, develop coping mechanisms to prevent relapse, and even consider how we would cope with a relapse if it happens. 

I have a number of clients who maintain monthly coaching for continued support and for guidance through the inevitable fumbles that happen as we try to maintain our new habits. 

I know moving through these phases isn't as sexy as diving into the deep end from the get go, but if you want something you've never had you have to do something you've never done. 

So if you're ready to try things a different way and start where you stand, I'm here to help. Click here to book a free consultation and we can chat through what coaching option is the best fit for you (depending on the stage of change you're in). 


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