What Stage of Change are You On?

Researchers have observed 5 stages of change in behavioral problems. Knowing these stages may help provide understanding and facilitate change in yourself and others.


Stage 1 Precontemplation “Ignorance is Bliss”

  • Unaware or in denial of the problem, and resistant to change.
  • Tip: Encourage evaluation and explain personal risks of current behaviors.

Stage 2 Contemplation “Sitting on the Fence”

  • Acknowledge the problem and consider change, but no action is taken.
  • Tip: Make it clear that the decision to change is yours/theirs to make. Explain pros and cons of behavior change.

Stage 3 Preparation “Testing the Water”

  • Plans to act, but lacks commitment.
  • Tip: Explore and assist with problem solving obstacles that limit success. Encourage small steps and engagement with healthy social support to strengthen success.

Stage 4 Action

  • Accomplishing goals.
  • Tip: Encourage active engagement with social support, and dealing with obstacles head on. Provide reminders of long term benefits and fight off feelings of loss associated with change.

Stage 5 Maintenance

  • Sustaining.
  • Tip: Follow up with social support. Reinforce internal rewards for change. Think about or discuss how to cope with possible relapse and prioritize self care to prevent hopelessness if relapse does occur.

If you find yourself struggling with a change in your life, or know someone who is, call our office to set up a time to talk with one of our providers. We can help as you explore steps to provide support and achieve goals.