Sarah Shore, MS

header photo

Making Changes...One Stage at a Time

Have you ever heard yourself saying, "I'm making changes in my life." or "I'm turning over a new leaf." or "I need to do something different"? Deep down, most of us want to do better or be better at something. But how do we get there? What are the stages involved in creating change?

When working with my clients, its very helpful for me to think about change in stages. As a way of thinking about it, I often find myself assessing a client's readiness for change by using the model developed by Prochaska and DiClemente (1992) which breaks down "changing" into 5 stages. Let's use an example--finding a new job.
  • Precontemplation: You are unhappy at your current job but don't do anything to change it because you do not realize the extent of the negative effect your current position has on your life, your emotions, and even your relationship with friends and family. Clients often find themselves bouncing between precontemplation and the next stage.
  • Contemplation: You realize your job is making you miserable and you start to think about making a change. But, its hard work to change...and you think to yourself, "Well, is it really that bad?" Many times, people tend to decide its not that bad and return to the precontemplation stage.
  • Preparation: You've had enough! You have committed to making a change and your are getting ready. You are sending out resumes, networking, and passing the word along to associates and contacts. You have committed to making a change.
  • Action: You are taking actions like those listed above to make a career change and systematically implementing actions to achieve your goal. You may not reach it overnight so its important in this stage to give yourself credit for the actions you've taken. You carefully consider your options and your next steps.
  • Maintenance: You've accomplished your goal. You are in a new work position. You evaluated your options carefully. You celebrate your success and evaluate after 6 months to insure you made the right choice and that you are indeed, happier.

Many of my life coaching and business consulting clients come to me in the contemplation stage--pretty sure they want to make a change but not sure if the outcome will be worth the investment (emotional, mental, financial, etc.). As a coach and consultant, its my job to let you know up front if I think you can be successful. If you want to make a change in your life, career, or business, see if you can identify where you are in the stages of change model. Remember, once you decide to make a change, or move closer to a goal--continue moving forward. Continue taking action everyday. You will reach your goal or accomplish your objective. But it takes hard work, courage, and committment. Remember also, it happens "one stage at a time."

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.

Go Back