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5 stages to change your behaviour

Nutrition & Wellbeing

Reach your goals by understanding these scientific insights.

It’s that time again: new year, new life improvements. Sometimes the feeling of a fresh beginning is just what we need to defeat our adverse habits and start healthier patterns. But how often have you set a goal – only to struggle and then give up in guilt?

First off, be more forgiving with yourself. We’re only human and moving forward is easier when you're not too hard on yourself. Secondly, know that modifying your behaviour is a complex process.

Studies have found that people move through a series of stages when changing behaviour. The amount of time a person stays in each stage varies, but the tasks required to move to the next stage remains the same. Progression can occur in both a linear and nonlinear way. Often, people recycle through the stages or regress to earlier stages from later ones.

By understanding these phases, you can understand better what it takes to change your habits.

The five stages

1. Pre-contemplation (Not Ready)
Pre-contemplators are resistant to change. They might be unmotivated and demoralised because of past, unsuccessful attempts to change. Or they are simply uninformed of the degree of harmfulness of their current behaviour.

Example: You are not aware you have high cholesterol, so you have no intention to change your eating habits or sedentary lifestyle.

2. Contemplation (Getting Ready)
At this stage, people acknowledge their behaviour and intend to change in the next six months. People often get stuck weighing the pros and cons and procrastinate the next step: preparing to take action.

Example: You know it would be helpful to reduce the amount of fried food you eat and do more physical activity, yet you feel overwhelmed about how to proceed.

3. Preparation (Ready)

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This is when people have a plan of action and start moving forward in the immediate future, usually within the next month.

Example: You join a gym and create a reasonable diet plan with a certified nutritionist.

4. Action
At this phase, people have made quantifiable modifications within the past six months.

Example: You go to the gym twice a week, take up a new sport and keep up with your diet plan.

5. Maintenance
This is where people are working to prevent a relapse. As people become more confident, they are less likely to relapse. Researchers estimate that the Maintenance phases lasts from six months to five years. Complete behavioural change takes longer than you think!

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Example: After more than six months of regular exercise, plus reducing fried food and red meat in your diet, you’ve managed to stabilise your cholesterol to a normal level.

Build a bridge to your New Year’s Resolutions

What are your goals this year and how can you apply what you’ve just learned to getting there?

  1. Losing weight?

  2. Eating a more balanced diet?

  3. Improving your inner and outer wellbeing?

Create an action plan and note how Amway products, such as the ones below, can support your goals.

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