Although there are changes everywhere we look….

Personal change is often a “choice” decision

There are times during the year or a persons life that create impetus to making changes to the person’s life.  Sometimes major changes.

Sometimes it’s a birthday that triggers change, or maybe a photograph. Often it is the end of another year and the start of another.

For change to be successful there are certain stages the change needs to go through to be successful.

Prochaska’s Model of the Stages of Change can be helpful to explain this

Prochaska Change Model

Pre- Contemplation Stage

  • Low emotion, energy and motivation to make the change work
  • 6 months plus away from doing anything
  • There may be fear of getting it wrong / failing and appearing stupid
  • Simply custom bound or in a rut
  • Costs (time / effort and financial) outweigh the benefits

Contemplation Stage

  • Highly emotional stage initially which can be positive or negative – there can be high motivation, stress and anger
  • Action is usually under four weeks away so becoming urgent
  • There can be lots of self-doubt and low confidence
  • We often doubt our ability and skill at this stage
  • There can also be a low mood, sometimes sadness and depression
  • Costs = Benefits

Determination / Preparation

  • A decision has been made and positivity and a “can-do” attitude takes over
  • Change needs to happen by now but is difficult – there is an urgency
  • Planning the change starts to happen
  • This is a period of exploring options and ideas
  • Benefits outweigh the costs


  • Motivation and energy rises
  • Stress becomes positive
  • Change becomes easy and embraced
  • This is a period of learning and trial and error
  • If this period lasts 21 days plus there is a chance of success


  • Emotions can vary in this stage
  • If there is progress then there are positive emotions
  • Energy plateaus
  • Often there are ups and downs in emotion and two steps forward and one back
  • Bad habits / old ways can creep back
  • The saying that “the honeymoon period is over” is often used
  • Maintenance lasts between 21 days and 5 years

Time to Reflect

What changes have you undertaken and been successful / unsuccessful with and how do they relate to this model?