Change Doesn't Have to Be Hard. Here is the Key to Conquer Roadblocks and Welcome Change into Your Life.
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
How do you feel when you hear the word change? Do you get excited for new possibilities? Or, do you feel dread? I am willing to bet the answer is; it depends since very few things in life are black and white. Change definitely falls in the gray area!
As holds true with any dynamic situation, change is an unavoidable part of life. There are changes that happen that we cannot control and must deal with - changes in season, kids moving into another grade or school, changes in our job structure. We learn to roll with these changes because we have to; these are placed in our lives from an external force, not by our choice, so we deal with the change and figure it out. The changes that we might consider as hard are the ones that we must choose to take action on changing - eating healthy, exercising more, quitting smoking, finding a new career path that fulfills us or isn’t toxic. These are internally-motivated changes; change we think should happen to improve our situation. Whether these changes ignite excitement or dread completely depends on our mindset and the stage of change we find ourselves in. Understanding how to move from one stage of change to another make change not only easier but also welcome and exciting!
In my previous blog post, “Struggling With Changing A Behavior? Here is the Answer to Why It is Not Your Fault”, I explained there is a stages of change model in psychology that can be a helpful tool in overcoming roadblocks to changing a behavior. I would like to dive a little deeper into three of the stages - Contemplation, the “hmmm...let’s look into this” stage, Preparation, the “getting ready” stage, and Action, the “ready, set, go” stage.
Contemplation and Preparation often happen at the same time. Contemplation is the thinking through why you want to change your behavior while Preparation is focused on developing strategies to make the new behavior successful. Why do I think it is important to mention this? Because failure to successfully change a behavior is often due to skipping Preparation and trying to go from thinking and deciding that a new behavior is better in Contemplation to doing the new behavior in the Action stage. To achieve a new behavior, and make it actually stick, spending time to prepare an action plan increases your likelihood of success. You need to shift your mindset around this new behavior, and time spent preparing yourself and devising action steps will pay off.
Want some guidelines on thinking and preparing? Here is a roadmap to change with strategies and exercises to set you up for success in changing a behavior. Remember, the bigger the change, the more time you may need to spend on these steps.
In some cases you may be able to start executing a change before completely moving through this roadmap. Say, what??? Some changes can be eased into while you are thinking and preparing. For example, say the change you want to make is to eat healthier. While you are preparing, you could institute a few small changes while you prepare for the big launch like drinking more water and less coffee or soda, exchanging chips for fruit, eating out less. This might actually help you long term instead of changing everything at once.
Okay, you have thought and thought and planned and mapped and prepared, and today is the day to start! Who-hoo!!! It is “Ready, Set, Go!” time; you are finally doing something! Here are a few tips for success as you put your new behavior into action:
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.