Have you ever pleaded with someone to stop smoking, drinking or doing drugs? To stop texting and driving? Have you constantly told someone they should lose weight or get more active? To stop eating so much fast food? To go to the doctor. To get that spot checked? To go to the dentist? To just get the shot already?? Have you ever been in these situations with family, friends or right now your social media friends?? If so read on!!
"It's simple, just do it already," we say or more likely, yell at them. However doing that does nothing, they continue to stay stagnant. How can we help these people we love or have friendships with make a change for the better, without leaving both sides feeling frustrated? The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change was created for this purpose. First you must recognize what stage of change they are in and what to do for them in that specific stage. I am here to help you all understand the science behind the stages of change. Read on to find how to help your fellow loved ones, friends or social media acquaintances!
Feeling frustrated that your calls for change aren't being answered? Your yelling, name calling, begging or pleading calls will continue to be ignored by individuals that are in the;
Precontemplation stage of change. Individuals in this stage are unaware that their actions and behaviors are putting their health at risk. They have no plans to even consider a change. Getting mad and yelling facts at these people will just leave both of you frustrated. I.E where most Americans are these days. You may try to present these people with facts and tell them you will continue to love them regardless of the change. They need to feel that they are valued by you and they need to continue to trust you and your facts, if you want to get them to the next stage of;
Contemplation. Individuals in this stage have been letting information come in from people or sources they trust or admire. They are more thoughtful of the pros of change, instead of only focusing on the cons. They are starting to see that their actions or behaviors could be or will eventually have negative implications on their overall health. *They HAVE NOT taken action though. It is important to maintain trust and a valued relationship in this stage so that the person may move on to the next phase of;
Preparation. In this stage people have not physically made a change yet but they have taken steps towards it by scheduling a consultation in the near future with a health professional, or have already had one about the intended behavior change. Maintaining trust with this person at this point is still crucial, well as providing them with continued backed up facts or studies about how their intended change can improve their health.
Action and then maintenance are the next two steps in the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change or TTM. I won’t touch on those much, action means a person has been active in their behavior change for 6 months and then maintenance is what it says it is.
I hope you have begun to understand that you simply cannot, say to a person, "It's best for your health, so just do it already," Or that screaming facts at them, throwing shade or inappropriate memes, will do absolutely nothing and only cause undo stress to everyone. Unfortunately this is a delicate process that a lot the population does not know about or understand how to approach. I have a learned a great deal about the TTM as a Personal Trainer and coach as well as how to apply it for my clients and hopefully now, you! I will leave you with one last quote about the TTM;
“One of the reasons this model is so effective is because it emphasizes the inescapable truth about change: It’s a process rather than a destination or isolated event. The TTM represents five unique stages of change, often depicted as a spiral or winding road, to further underscore the nonlinear nature of what a person experiences as they embark on a change journey.”
--Quote by; Doctor Erin Nitschke NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE health coach, fitness
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