The "change process" can be a challenging one.
This is especially true when the past has been marked
by failures and negative experiences. However, the past
has passed. It has no magical, automatic, all-encompassing
influence on the present and future. At most, your past
makes it harder for you to make present changes. Harder,
yes — but not impossible! With effort, practice,
learning, time, patience, determination and the encouraging
friendship of a professional coach you can make the changes
you have always wanted to make.
To facilitate this change process further, it is always
beneficial to know what is specifically involved. Whether
it is in the area of nutrition, depression, physical
activity, weight loss, changing eating habits, or self-esteem,
most people who are embarking on a process of change
will progress through the following stages. Knowing
what to expect can often mean the difference between
failure and success:
STAGE ONE - LIVING WITH DISCOMFORT
In Stage One you hold on to a good number of untruths.
These untruths (e.g. since I failed in the past I never
will be able to do this) serve to create a degree of
defeatism or self inflicted misery. Holding on to these
untruths does not help you realize your goals, but since
they are familiar you stay with them. Though painful
and harmful, you cling to old habits, actions, attitudes,
and ways of thinking.
STAGE TWO - THE PAIN INCREASES
When you put your effort together and decide to make
certain changes, you discover that you are not feeling
better...but worse. As a response to your desire to
change, you encounter the energy of self-resistance.
When you take some positive steps to change your habits,
actions, and attitudes your discomfort and pain actually
increases. This is a crucial point in the change process
for it is here that many decide that the benefits are
not worth the discomfort. In short order you will be
back to your old thinking and practices. You will conclude
that once again it did not work.
STAGE THREE - FROM PAIN TO HOPE
If you battle your way through Stage Two, you will now
begin to experience some of the positive results of
your hard work. Your awareness, knowledge, and accomplishments
give you encouragement. You will actually start to see
some change. Also, your discomfort level will start
to be reduced. No matter what your issues are —
nutrition, physical activity, or emotional health —
you maintain your determination to change and you begin
to feel more hope and less stress.
STAGE FOUR - GETTING CLOSE
This is another extremely crucial stage. The very real
challenge here is to keep yourself from falsely believing
that the goal has been achieved. Because of your progress
and the numerous positive changes, your confidence is
beginning to increase. The fact remains, though, that
you must continue to work hard at the change process.
In this stage you must revisit your goals and remind
yourself that change is going to have to be an ongoing
way of life.
STAGE FIVE - EFFORT EQUALS WELL-BEING
During Stage One the benefits and blessings of change
were but distant dreams. Now, because you refused to
be complacent and refused to be defeated, your energy
has increased, your health is better, and your future
has taken on a new light. You realize that life means
that a constant range of issues will continue to come
your way. And work, effort, and new insights will need
to be applied to each new challenge. Now, the issues
are faced with hope and positive, constructive, realistic
solutions. Satisfaction, personal growth, and a very
real sense of well-being are sure to follow.