The Mile a day in May challenge is in full swing. Have you been able to achieve your goal of a Mile a day in May? Perhaps you have seen your friends and family posting their achievements on Facebook. If you have been struggling to achieve your goal of a Mile a day in May, or you have struggled with making healthy changes then take a moment and read about the 5 stages of change. Be sure to take the short survey to determine if you are in the right stage of change in order to achieve the success you so desperately want to achieve.
Understanding readiness to change
Researchers have identified five stages of change that most people go through to adopt new habits. The five stages can be applied to making any behavior change such as becoming regularly physically active.
5 stages of change
1. Precontemplation. You are not even thinking about making a change (becoming physically active).
2. Contemplation. You are thinking about it now and then, but you are not doing any physical activity yet.
3. Preparation. You are doing some physical activity, but you are not doing it regularly.
4. Action. You are doing the new habit consistently but for less than 6 months (for example, you are getting in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, but you have been doing it for less than 6 months).
5. Maintenance. You have been maintaining your new habit for 6 months or more (for example, you are getting in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week and have been doing so for 6 months or more).
Some people are more ready than others to change their behavior. Not everyone moves through these stages at the same pace. Change does not happen all at once; it is a process. The concept of readiness to change is important because a person usually doesn’t stay in one stage forever. As a person moves through the stages, he or she is likely to move forward and backward. Flowing forward-and-backward in the process of change is part of the normal learning process. One of the keys to a successful change is to take gradual steps, not giant leaps.
Readiness to Change Physical Activity Survey
For each statement, please mark yes or no
1. I am currently physically active (at least 30 minutes per week). ❑ Yes ❑ No
2. I intend to become more physically active in the next 6 months. ❑ Yes ❑ No
3. I currently engage in regular physical activity. ❑ Yes ❑ No
4. I have been regularly physically active for the past 6 months. ❑ Yes ❑ No
• 1, 2, 3, and 4 = no I am in the precontemplation stage
• 1, 3, and 4 = no and 2 = yes I am in the contemplation stage
• 1 and 2 = yes and 3 and 4 = no I am in the preparation stage
• 1 and 3 = yes, 2 = yes or no, and 4 = no I am in the action stage
• 1, 3, and 4 = yes and 2 = yes or no I am in the maintenance stage
What stage of change did you determine you are in? The stages of change are applicable to any behavior change, not just becoming more physically active.