Making A Lasting Change

 

At the beginning of every year, millions of people worldwide start their “new year’s resolution” to get fit, shed the fat, to make a change, but then stop. At other times, people start training with a personal trainer, join a gym, invest in exercise equipment, buy all the best workout clothes with the endeavour to get themselves in shape, tone up, make a change, but then it comes to an end. People start a diet to make a change, but then old habits die hard! People start a smoking cessation program, but then revert back to old behaviours. This happens time and time again in many different areas of life, especially in relation to health & fitness. So what is the problem?

Many people are not simply aware of what is required to make real long term intrinsic changes. We live in a society of quick fixes, get rich quick schemes, magic foods and pills etc! Sometimes, people want something for nothing! Making changes does not happen overnight. It takes effort, consistency, focus, determination…..good old fashioned will power! Having the right people in your social environment is unbelievably important too. We are all affected attitude wise and behaviourally by the environment we expose ourselves to. These factors can positively or negatively influence the process of change. Did you know that there actually is a “Transtheoretical Model for Change”!? Bit of a mouthful I know! But it exists! I am going to reveal it to you to help you understand where you may be on this model and perhaps why you are starting and stopping, keep relapsing to old behaviours, don’t feel ready to start making changes or simply don’t know how or why you can’t seem to stick at it!

Rather than simply viewing this information as information, try to apply it to yourselves and what stage you may be at. Then apply the points which can help you move forward to the “Maintenance” phase.

“Precontemplation Phase”:

If you are in this phase you aren’t even thinking about making a healthy change to your lifestyle. You perhaps aren’t aware of the dangers of certain behaviours you have. You may actually be in denial!

What can you do?
1) Think about your current state of health & fitness and make a link between your decisions and behaviours. i.e – You are overweight and eat a full English breakfast every morning!

2)Try to make honest self analysis.

3)Write down how little you exercise and what you like to eat, then think of the potential risks associated with these behaviours.

“Contemplation Phase”:

If you are in this phase, you are more aware of the benefits of making a change, but the costs tend to stand out even more! Maybe you have been thinking of training with us here at GF Fitness for example but are worried about the training session costs plus what you will have to give up! You are feeling ambivalent. Perhaps you have been thinking for months or even years about doing something positive to make a change.

What can you do?
1)Weigh the pros and cons of making a change

2)Confirm your readiness to change and trust your abilities to do so.

3)Identify barriers to change.

“Preparation Phase”:

If you are in this phase you will have already started making small changes to your behaviour i.e – if you want to lose weight you may have started eating lower fat foods or coming every now and then to a GF Fitness group training session. Another characteristic is that you may have started collecting information such as asking people about GF Fitness and their experiences etc!

What can you do?
1)Write down your goals

2)Prepare a plan of action

3)Make a list of motivating statements

“Action Phase”:

If you are in this phase you have already started taking direct action to work towards achieving your goals. You may have started training with GF Fitness, or started the Nourished diet. Before taking action, of which I wish to encourage you to do so, it is important for you to follow through with the “Preparation Phase” first.

What you need to do when taking action:
1)Reward your successes

2)Seek out social support

3)Write down a list of motivational statements

“Maintenance Phase”:

The maintenance phase of the Stages of Change Model involves successfully avoiding former behaviours and keeping up new behaviours. For example, you have started training with GF Fitness and been consistent and regular for a prolonged period and are following through with your diet. During this stage, people become more assured that they will be able to continue their change.

This is the phase we all need to strive to get to and is the secret of long term health & fitness.

How can you keep yourself in this phase?

1)Develop coping strategies to deal with temptation.

2)Remember to reward yourself for success.

“Relapse Phase”:

In any behaviour change, relapses are a common occurrence. When you go through a relapse, you might experience feelings of failure, disappointment, and frustration. THIS IS NORMAL!

How can you avoid relapsing?
1)Identify triggers that lead to relapse

2)Recognise barriers to success and take positive steps to overcome them.

3)Reaffirm your goals and re-commit to change.

……so there you have it! I hope this blog of information has helped you to understand where you are in terms of making a change and what YOU CAN DO TO MAKE REAL POSITIVE LONG TERM CHANGES. By approaching a goal with an understanding of how to best prepare, act and maintain a new behaviour, you will be more likely to succeed.

Crumble or CONQUER?
Gerrard Finlayson

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