Today is a good opportunity to look at how I am getting on with my change plan. I am using the ‘Stages Of Change’ model, which I have included below. The circular diagram can be downloaded from the Psychology Tools website free of charge (http://media.psychology.tools/worksheets/english_us/stages_of_change_en-us.pdf ) and I have also included a model from the SMART Recovery website which gives a fuller explanation of the different stages of change http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/Articles_and_Essays/Stages_of_Change/Stages_of_Change.pdf . Although SMART Recovery is a programme designed for helping people affected by addictive behaviour, the Stages of Change are interchangeable with anyone attempting to go through a process in which the individual is hoping to facilitate long-term change.
If I look at the stages above, I can see that I have moved through some of the phases already:
- Precontemplation: I wasn’t aware that I was stressed/anxious and not coping as well as I might.
- Contemplation: I was made aware that I was feeling elevated levels of anxiety which I wanted to do something about.
- Preparation: I began investigating ways which I could begin to do things differently; this was when I had my idea regarding updating my blog more regularly and utilising tools more regularly.
- Action: I began updating my blog, using the tools, and practicing therapy on myself.
- Maintenance: I am sustaining the new behaviour.
The SMART Recovery Stages Of Change sheet below gives full explanations of the different stages and you can see how the path through the stages matches with the descriptions below. So far, I have just about stuck to the rules I set myself for updating my blog, and practising the techniques and tools available, and so far I can see that the change plan I designed has helped me feel less anxious. The other side of the coin is that ensuring I stick to my change plan is a new stressor which I hadn’t experienced before, as it never existed in my life. So far, I believe that the cost of the added stress from sticking to my change plan, are clearly outweighed by the benefits of adapting my new behaviour. I will be mindful of this trade-off and if the balance moves towards sticking to the change plan equalling heightened stress, I will revaluate the plan and make necessary adaptations.