“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi
So we survived the "Mayan" prophesies. We are still here, and that means we may be facing our annual “New Resolutions” internal conversation. Clear out all our "bad" habits at once; no more cookies, ice-cream, or chocolate, shopping for clothes you don’t need and only go out on a Saturday night! You are going to give up smoking or try to exercise more. For some, they are successful with one or two but for most of us, we are left with a shoulder full of guilt, throw away the list and pledge to try again next year. Maybe, instead of the “usual” we could focus on one single thing we would most like to change? What would that be? How motivated you are to make the changes you want to make? Maybe there is another way to understand how someone can begin to make changes in their lives?
The “Stages of Change” model, developed in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, was originally designed to help those who were trying to quit cigarettes. It can be very helpful when you are considering a change of any kind in your life whether your want to change your spending or food habits, maybe even the kind of relationships you have. This model says that there are 5 stages we go through when we change something in our life. I have listed them here, along with some examples of statements that can help you identify how ready you might be to change:
· Pre-Contemplation: `I’m not using drugs`, ‘I spend the same as anyone else!’, ‘It’s you who has the problem, not me!’
· Contemplation: “I hate smelling of smoke but I need my cigarettes to help me cope with stress`, “I’ll stop tomorrow”, “I will do things differently next weekend”.
· Preparation: ’That’s it!! I can’t deal with this relationship anymore.” `Where can I get help to lose weight?`, `What if I can’t stop drinking?`
· Action: “I could use a drink now but will find an AA meeting instead”, “I am tired but if I just put on my runners, I can get 15 minutes walk in before dinner”
· Maintenance: “I am bringing Mike to a meeting, because it has helped me so much”, “I have not eaten biscuits in over a month, I feel great, maybe I will keep going?
Think about the one thing in your life you would change. Look through some of the statements above. Where are you in this cycle of change? Change is ALWAYS possible but sometimes we need support. We never plan to have problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping or smoking but if you are worried, there is somewhere to go to chat about your concerns. Wondering why you are so sad, angry or have low energy all the time? Maybe the simple change you need to make is just to look for help, calling your Doctor and perhaps contact Danielle, in confidence and without judgment, at the IIIC. Phone: 617-542-7654, Ext. 14, or by e-mail at dowen@iicenter.org. Wishing all our readers a very peaceful, successful and Happy New 2013.