What Stage of Change Are You In?

When we’re in the throes of everyday life, it’s easy to lose sight of where we are.  Sometimes we feel like we’re on autopilot going through the motions. We often get sucked into activities that don’t move us forward and create a lot of pressure and noise without any real benefit.

The spiritual journey looks different for everyone, but the one thing that is guaranteed regardless of your situation is that there will be a lot of change.

This spiritual journey is all about moving out of autopilot and into more intentional living.  It’s about turning the unconscious into conscious.  Regardless of the terminology you use, the one thing that’s a given is that there is a massive amount of change.

This week, we’re going to take a little journey through the stages of change so you can gain perspective on where you are and step back into your life with more intentionality and purpose.

Step Away From Your Painting

I like to use the analogy of painting a mural when I talk about the spiritual journey.  

Our lives are like a mural.  Most of the time, we are up close, painting away at different sections of our painting.  If you’ve ever watched an artist paint a mural, you may have noticed that they periodically step away from the painting. They examine it from a different perspective and then swoop back in to add more color or detail where it is needed.

I encourage you to view your life as a painting, and step away momentarily and look at it from afar.  What areas of your life need more colors? Which areas need more detail?  Which areas are you satisfied with?

Before we just swoop back in and start making changes, let’s check in with ourselves.

How Do You Feel About Change?

Here’s an opportunity to get really honest with yourself.  How do you feel about change?  How have you dealt with the changing of the seasons of your life, figuratively speaking?  Do you welcome change?  Do you fear it?  Do you avoid it?  Do you resist it?

Or do you flow with it? Embrace it? Welcome it as an opportunity for expansion?

In the next section, I’ll share how my views on change have changed over the years.

My Journey From Fearing Change to Embracing It

In my book SOAR, I share some personal reflections on how I used to fear change:

“For most of my life, I used to resist change and had a really hard time processing it.  I always had a really hard time leaving whatever phase I was in, out of sadness that I would miss certain things.  When the kids were little, I would never welcome the exercise of filling up their dressers with the next biggest clothing size because it symbolized the end of a certain developmental phase, and I was sad to see it end.  As I reflected on my emotions further, I realized that I was always so focused on what I was stepping out of and giving insufficient attention to what I was stepping into.  It didn’t even occur to me that the next phase we were about to embark on could be even more exciting than the last.”

Throughout my journey, I have gotten to a place where I find change to be super exciting.  I crave it. I welcome it.  I seek it out.  Any time we are stepping into a new space, we are in expansion mode.  Our minds, bodies, and spirits are experiencing the world in a way they haven’t before.

Reframing Change

Another excerpt from SOAR shows how I reframed the idea of change: 

“The way you handle change can be radically transformed, once you make peace with the idea that life is a steady stream of changes.  Rather than resisting it, learn to flow with it.  We have a natural tendency to want to bask in the moments when life is wonderful, stress is at all-time lows, and resist change because we don’t want to see that phase of life come to an end.  But, there is a natural rhythm to life.  There are good times, followed by challenging times, and eventually, the good times return.  That same ebb and flow continue ad infinitum.  Get to a place where you soak up whatever is in front of you right now, accepting that wherever you are is where you are meant to be.  The secret is learning to flow with the change rather than resist it.”

Can you think of any areas of your life where you could reframe the experience and welcome change?

The Five Stages of Change

Did you know there are five stages of change?

Now that we’ve done some deeper work around how we feel about change, let’s look at the five stages.  I’ll give you an overview and then give you real-life examples of what you may be saying or doing in each stage.

1. Precontemplative

In this stage, you’re unaware you have a problem. 

You may find yourself saying or doing:

  • This is just the way my life is.
  • I’ve always done it this way, so I’ll continue.
  • It is what it is.
  • I don’t care.
  • It’s somebody else’s fault.
  • I don’t want help.
  • I don’t want to talk about it.
  • It’s just how I cope with life.

2. Contemplative

In this stage, you are aware it is in your best interest to change but aren’t willing to commit.

You may find yourself saying or doing:

  • I’m thinking about it, but I am not ready.
  • I’m thinking about it, but I am scared.
  • I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.
  • I may miss my “old life.”
  • You may be open to hearing about the benefits. 
  • You may start considering the cost of not changing.

3. Planning

In this stage, you’re charting your course to new behaviors. You may find yourself saying or doing:

  • I want to change.
  • The benefits outweigh the costs.
  • I am feeling determined.
  • I am feeling hopeful.
  • I can see the light.
  • You start gathering information.
  • You start strategizing on the “how.”
  • You start rallying your “tribe” to help.
  • You start seeking out healing options.

4. Action

In this stage, you’re making it happen.

You may find yourself saying or doing:

  • I am excited to change.
  • I feel energized.
  • I feel empowered.
  • I am excited to create my new lifestyle.
  • I am committed to change.
  • I feel better about myself.
  • I am proud of my progress.
  • You engage support systems.
  • You start developing new routines.
  • You start saying no to things that don’t serve you.
  • You make new connections/friendships.
  • You make conscious choices.
  • You reward yourself.

5. Maintenance

In this stage, you are sticking to your new lifestyle.

You may find yourself saying or doing:

  • You build in safeguards.
  • You resist temptations.
  • You curate your surroundings.
  • You set yourself up for success.
  • You celebrate your progress.
  • You continue following healthy routines.
  • You appreciate how amazing you feel.
  • You remind yourself you don’t want to go back to your old ways.
  • You feel enhanced overall well-being.
  • You hold yourself accountable.
  • You surround yourself with supporters.

So, where do you fall on the spectrum of change?  Wherever you are, I can help.  Reach out and we will set up a time to chat.