Yes — you! The idea of change can bring up all sorts of anxieties and insecurities. Most people prefer to keep the status quo, play it safe, and avoid rocking the boat at all costs. But there are a few things about change you should consider.
First off, the only thing that stays the same is change. It is an inherent part of life: the seasons fluctuate, day becomes night, time moves on, children grow up, and people pass away. In terms of health, we gain and lose weight, symptoms are aggravated and relieved, and we adopt and abandon myriad health habits over time.
Secondly, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. When you think of it like that, change is a gateway for growth and development. Embracing change puts you in a powerful position to create an innovative possibility for yourself. So if you want to improve how you feel, stay open to the notion of changing certain self-care strategies.
Lastly, while certain aspects of change may be uncomfortable, change does not mean “bad.” New habits create new outcomes. At best, change means opportunity. Change is a gift; an invitation to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
So,how ready for change are you? If you are thinking of adopting new health promotion activities, it is worth it to assess your relationship with change in order to sustain your future commitments.
Some people simply won’t entertain the notion of change. This is understandable. Change can be overwhelming at first glance. If you are in this pre-contemplation stage, you may use phrases like, “I won’t,” or “I can’t.” Be patient with yourself – you simply aren’t ready for it. If you are honest with yourself, you can use this knowledge to your advantage and reserve your energy to makethose changes you are really excited about.
The next two stages represent increasing comfort levels with change. In the contemplation stage, you may say things like, “I may…” Great! At least you are thinking about it. During the preparation stage, you will find yourself actively readying yourself for the change at hand,and even telling your friends, “I will.” You are gearing up to go!
Of course, you will want to encourage yourself into the action and maintenance stages at some point. With action, your words say, “I am,” and your behaviors are concrete. After some time of consistently integrating the change, you are in the maintenance phase and can share with your loved ones, “I still am.”
Regardless of where you are on the change continuum, you can use a tool called decisional balance to help with any and all transitions. Ask yourself: What is the advantage of staying the same? What is the downside of staying the same? What is the advantage of changing behavior? What is the downside of changing behavior? Make a pro and con list for each question and see which one is longer.
Are you ready for it?
Billy Rosa is a Registered Nurse, Integrative Nurse Coach