The_Thinker_Musee_RodinIn the last post, we talked about readiness for change, and how we can be in one of five stages of change for each health behavior that we may or even may not be considering changing.

The second stage of change is called Contemplation. This is the “I May” stage, meaning you are considering changing a health behavior within the next six months. You may be dissatisfied with how you are feeling and relate this to a health behavior, and are considering changing. In this stage, while you are contemplating change, you have not yet taken any specific action.

You may be alternating between desiring the positive benefits that change will bring, yet not be committed to taking tangible steps. People can stay in this stage for a very long time, sometimes never taking action. Sometimes it can take a life-altering experience to move past this stage, such as a health crisis, or the growing desire to be healthy enough to enjoy experiences with others (e.g., playing with grandchildren or hiking with a spouse).

There can be many reasons that someone stays in this stage, including a general ambivalence about changing, a perception that it will be too difficult or even impossible to change, or simply not knowing how to change.

If you find yourself in the Contemplation stage for a health or wellness behavior, think about your reasons for wanting to change. What will you gain from adoption of this new activity or practice? What are one or two pros that are linked to the behavior that are important to you?

Then brainstorm one small step that you could take. If, for example, you wish to pursue a vegetarian or vegan diet, try planning out just one vegetarian dish that you’d enjoy. If you want to run a marathon next year, look up training plans or read inspirational articles written by people who have already achieved this goal.

In this stage, you do not need to take any action, rather, immerse yourself in learning about what this change will entail and how you will benefit from making this change.

Coaching Questions

  • What are the benefits of making a change that you are currently contemplating?
  • What are the cons?
  • What barriers may get in the way, and how can they be worked out?
  • What is one small, realistic step that you can take this week that will help you to get closer to taking action?

 

Copyright © 2014 by Mary A. Williams, Corporate Health Alliance, LLC. All rights reserved.