Behaviour Change Takes Patience and Persistence
Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 7:13 AM

 Behaviour change is an essential component of restoring , maintaining and expanding our health. Health risk behaviours, like smoking, inactivity, poor eating habits, contribute to a population's morbidity/ mortality, disability and increased health costs. 

To impact these health risk behaviour change is needed. The Transtheoretical Model of behaviour change is a useful model with six stages that people move through when modifying behaviour. You may recognise yourself to be in one stage about say smoking and another stage for exercise. it is good to be able to see clearly where we are at to be able to move forward more smoothly.  You also may need more support to move through some stages than others and that will be different for each behaviour and between individuals.

Stage 1: Pre-contemplation - At this stage people do not intend to take action in the foreseeable future (next 6 months). People here may be labelled as resistant, in denial,  unmotivated or unready for health promotion.

Stage 2 : Contemplation - At this stage of change people intend to change within the next 6 months and are weighing up the the pros and cons of a required change.

Stage 3: Preparation -Here people are planning to take action in the immediate future (within the next month). They have already taken some significant action in the past year toward their change in health risk behaviour.

Stage 4 : Action - At this stage people have made specific overt modifications in their lifestyle in the past 6 months.

Stage 5 :Maintenance- Here people have made specific overt modifications in their lifestyle and are working to prevent relapse. People at this stage are less tempted to relapse and they grow increasingly more confident that they can continue their changes. This stage lasts from 6 months to 5 years. 

Stage 6 : Completion - This is the final stage of changing behaviour.Here people are no longer tempted by health risk behaviours. Whether they are stressed, depressed or  anxious they will not return to their unhealthy habits as a way of coping.