Happy New Year!! New Year’s Eve came and went and now it is 2013. Perhaps you took my advice, thought ahead, thought about where you were, and where you want to be in the future. Perhaps you set some goals for yourself, but now what? Maybe you wrote down your goals or told someone what you plan to accomplish, but did you come up with a plan to actually accomplish your goals? Remember, according to a recent article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 8% of people who actually make a resolution succeed at it. Do you know why it is so hard to succeed or accomplish goals? It is maybe as simple as not having a plan and/or your goal was unrealistic. How can we hope to accomplish something if we don’t know how we are going to get there? Seems pretty simple, but if it were that simple more people would be losing weight, not smoking, going to the gym, eating healthy, etc. So, now what?

Now it is time to put that plan into action. Try out what you want to do and see if it works for you. If it does not work, maybe it is unrealistic or too challenging right now. That does not mean that it is not possible, but it does mean that you may need to break down the goal further and/or re-evaluate your plan. Remember one of my favorite mottos is Life Happens. Sometimes things get in the way, sometimes there are road blocks, but that is not an excuse to give up or not accomplish your goals. In this situation you just need to go back to the drawing board, re-evaluate your short term goals, be flexible, tweak your plan, and then put it into action and try it again.

I would like to quickly mention a five-stage model of change developed by well-known researchers, Carlo C. DiClemente and J. O. Prochaska, that may help you understand this a bit better. This model can be used to assist in changing a variety of behaviors (including but definitely not limited to problematic behaviors such as drinking, smoking, eating unhealthy food, etc.). Read below and see where you are right now, which will help. The five stages of the model are:

  • Precontemplation (Not Ready)- During this stage you do not intend to take action to change because you do not see your behavior as problematic
  • Contemplation (Getting Ready)- During this stage you are starting to recognize that your behavior is problematic, and may start to look at the advantages and disadvantages of continuing the behavior
  • Preparation (Ready)-During this stage you intend to take action in the near future and may begin to take small steps toward the behavior change. Most of you are probably here right now, meaning you have a plan.
  • Action (Doing it)– During this stage you have made specific changes in modifying your problem behavior or have started new healthy behaviors (i.e. going to the gym, eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water)
  • Maintenance (This is what you do; it is your routine; you are living it) – During this stage, you have been able to maintain your new behaviors and are working to prevent relapse (which will be a topic of a future blog)

Now what? Get to work and get on accomplishing those goals, but keep in mind Life Happens. So, just because you may be in the action stage right now, you may have to re-visit the preparation stage and re-evaluate your plan, which is OK and common. You CAN do it!

If you have a question or find that you have hit a road block, feel free to write a comment or email me at Askdr.rachel@gmail.com and we can work together to figure it out.

Now GET TO IT, It’s time for change!