Six progressive stages of change

Do you Want to Change?
What Do You Want to Change?
How Do I Change?
The Six Progressive Stages of Change

If you are reading this webpage, I believe there is a part of you that wants to change some aspect of yourself.  We all have something about ourselves we would like to be different.  It isn’t usually a matter of “if” we want to change, but how to change.  There’s something called “homeostasis”, that same type of invisible energy that makes a mobile go back to where it was after we have moved it, that makes us resist change.  Change can be uncomfortable; it requires energy, motivation, a “want to” attitude that is hard to come by at times.  Resistance, once recognized, can be overcome with a little, and sometimes a lot, of support and effort.


In an effort to comfort ourselves when overwhelmed with the anxieties that occur when life gets difficult, we create strategies.  We all need creative ways to sooth ourselves when we experience the problems and struggles of life, but more often than not, these strategies can turn into behaviors that become difficult to change.  The natural tendency is to run away from the anxiety and frustration and to disconnect from others, ourselves and from God.

Addictive Behaviors

Soft addictions are behaviors, which seem harmless, like over-eating, over-spending, watching a lot of TV, gossiping on the phone, procrastinating or  being involved in an unhealthy relationship, just to name a few.  These behaviors seem to help ease our anxiety; but instead end up increasing our anxiety and depression as well as using up our time and keeping us from finding true happiness and satisfaction. 

Then there are the harder addictions that involve the body’s craving for a certain substance like sugar, caffeine, nicotine, drugs or alcohol.  These more difficult addictions may require more structure, expertise and support.  Many people have succeeded and have found new ways to cope and live happier lives. Taking small, intentional steps over a long period of time seems to be the key, whether you are dealing with “soft” or more pervasive addictive behaviors.

“I’d like to be more _________________”or,” I’d like to have less __________________.”  Once you name it, it is a matter of determining what you’ve tried in the past and why your efforts have been  unsuccessful.  Because of the nature of resistance to change, it can be a very tricky issue trying to determine how to go about the process.  It is the job of the professional to help you find out how resistant you are and what might be behind it.   Change is possible.  There are any number of techniques that have been used successfully to promote a life free of self-defeating behaviors and, instead, having a life with fulfilling experiences.

Believing that you can change anything about yourself that you want to the is key.  Knowing that others have gone through the process successfully and that you deserve to do as well is necessary.  You may have subconscious beliefs that you do not deserve a better life, do not want to make other people envious, or do not want the responsibilities that go along with changed behavior.  These deep-seated beliefs are common and can have a powerful influence over the subconscious mind.  But, they can be overcome with some of the energy modalities designed to reprogram the subconscious mind, rewiring those sabotaging beliefs.

There are many avenues to help you change your current unwanted behaviors.  With a little bit of research, you can choose which direction you want to go.  There are natural progressive stages that everybody goes through as you attempt to change. link to Stages of Change Research Review article

  1. Enter into a professional relationship with an open heart knowing that there are things about you that can’t be seen by you.  Trust that  everyone has a shadow self that has been pushed down and wants to be known.  Living in denial takes up a lot of energy and causes unwanted behavior.
  2. Start to gather information about the influences on your life and consider the choices you’ve made to deal with them.  Learn about family dynamics and feel more normal as you learn about the predictable strategies others have used to cope.
  3. Consider what you want to change.  Think about the risks of giving up certain habits and what would it take to make that happen. Make your goal realistic and doable.  Weigh the pros and the cons and consider whether you are ready to change.  Find people to support you.  Look at any resistance you might have to asking for help.  Think about whether God might be there to help and support you as well.
  4. Decide to take some action.  Do something different and see what happens.  Tap into some spiritual resources and build faith that life can be less difficult and more meaningful.  Feel the sense of success.  Push through any fear you may have of succeeding.
  5. Be cautious.  Keep supports in place and have an awareness of the forces at work to derail you.  If you slip, just consider it a learning experience and go back to step 2 with new knowledge about yourself.
  6. You are free.  The nagging habit or addictive behavior is no longer a part of your life.  It is no longer a struggle.  Ask yourself, “What else do you want to work on now that you know you can change?” The sky is the limit!

Check out the articles on “Coaching vs. Therapy”, “Groups” and the Energy Modalities “EFT” and “EMDR” to decide which could best help you change your current situation.