Psychologists talk about the five “stages of change,” which correspond closely to the five stages of readiness described in this article. The stages of change are the different mindsets that people go through as they prepare to make a change in their lives, such as starting an exercise routine. These stages are, in order of increasing readiness, precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. And motivation? It is the tool you’ll need for moving through the stages.
The following are fuller descriptions of the five stages of change. Look at the list and think about which stage you are currently at and what could help you move toward your ultimate goal — maintenance.
Precontemplation: “That’s not for me“
In this stage, you are not yet ready to take on a task. In fact, if you think about it at all, you quickly dismiss the thought.
Contemplation: “Maybe that’s for me”
Here the idea takes hold in your head. You’re not sure whether it’s right for you, but at least the issue is on the table.
Preparation: “I’m going to do it one day”
Your plans may not be entirely certain, but you’re committed to giving it a try at some point, often within a month.
Action: “I’m going to try it now”
At this stage you actually go ahead and do it.
Maintenance: “It works for me”
You’ve had at least some glimmer of success and you’re committed to keeping at it.