1. Education

The Stages of Change

By

1 of 8

Behavior Change: Getting Started
There are several different stages of change when trying to reach a goal.

Achieving your goals might not be easy, but understanding the stages of change can help you better understand how to achieve them.

Image: Iker / sxc.hu

Anyone who has ever made and broken a New Year’s Resolution can appreciate the difficulty of behavior change. Making a lasting change in behavior is rarely a simple process, and usually involves a substantial commitment of time, effort and emotion.

Whether you want to lose weight, stop smoking, or accomplish another goal, there is no single solution that works for everyone. You may have to try several different techniques, often through a process of trial-and-error, in order to achieve your goal. It is during this period that many people become discouraged and give up on their behavior change goals. The key to maintaining your goals is to try new techniques and find ways to stay motivated.

Change might not come easy, but psychologists have developed a number of ways to effectively help people change their behavior. Many of these techniques are used by therapists, physicians, and teachers. Researchers have also proposed theories to explain how change occurs. One of these theories, known as the Stages of Change model, has been used to help people understand the change process. This model demonstrates that change is rarely easy and often requires a gradual progression of small steps toward a larger goal.

Understanding the elements of change, the stages of change, and ways to work through each stage can help you achieve your goals. Learn more about the process of change through the following links listed below.

Next: The Elements of Change

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.