Romans 12:2, "Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
On Day One of this blog, I wrote, “Here I sit, once again contemplating the idea of trying to tackle my addiction to sugar. Contemplating whether I have the will power to follow through, on a daily basis, with saying no to unhealthy food choices.” As I sit here and reflect on what I wrote, I am reminded of the transtheoretical model (TTM) of behavior change. TTM was taught in all aspects of my formal education…in Psychology, Life Coaching, Wellness Coaching and Personal Training. TTM, also known as the “Stages of Change”, describes how people cease or modify a problem behavior, or acquire a positive behavior. TTM focuses on a person's decision-making process and requires their intentional effort. To change, a person must have a growing awareness that the advantages of changing outweigh the disadvantages of staying the same. People also have believe that they can make and maintain the changes, despite temptations to return to their old, unhealthy behavior. Lastly, individuals need strategies that can help them make and maintain change.
Today, I want to take a hard look at where I am at and what my thought processes are related overcoming my addiction to sugar/food. Where am I in the stages of change? What strategies do I need to employ to be able to make effective change? What are my next steps? In essence, I am counseling/coaching myself in the same way I would be working with a client.
The stages of change are Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation/Determination, Action/Willpower, Maintenance, Relapse and Transcendence. People in the precontemplation stage do not think about changing because they do not feel their bad habit is a problem. People in the contemplation stage tend to teeter-totter, back and forth, between the negative aspects of their bad habit and the positives associated with reducing the bad habit. They are considering the possibility of changing, but are ambivalent to do so. The preparation/determination stage describes individuals who are serious about wanting to change. In this stage, people often do research and begin taking small steps. Perhaps they are gathering information about what they need to do to actually change their behavior. Often times, people skip this stage and move right from contemplation to action which results in their falling flat on their faces and experiencing one failure after another. Unfortunately, this has been my experience on way too many occasions! Stage four involves active will power and follow through. People in this stage use a variety of techniques to help them achieve their desired behavior change. Stage five is the maintenance stage which means people continue to acquire new skills to prevent relapse. Research shows, however, that people often experience relapse. In these cases, it is so important to not get discouraged and feel like a failure. Rather, get up and move back to the preparation/determination stage, and begin again. Some individuals, who “maintain maintenance” for a long time are able to transcend their old bad habits and develop a completely new mindset.
I would say that I am in the Preparation/Determination stage. I have made the decision that I want to lose weight so that I can feel better. I know that I have an addiction to food, especially sugar. The fact that I am writing this blog, and created a GROW Plan demonstrates my determination to change. This makes me feel so good because two days ago I wrote “contemplation” twice. I was beginning to wonder whether or not I was really ready to begin. The other thing I learned while exploring the stages is that I used to jump right to the action stage without preparing my heart and mind for the transition. This time, I want to succeed! I am tired of feeling defeated. I want lasting change, therefore, I am willing to spend as long as I need preparing myself. I will be approach this experience with curiosity and excitement. I will do the research. I will develop a routine and build consistency through this blog. I am not searching for a special diet or a magic pill. I want a heart change. I want a mindset change. I want to transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).