In my last article I explored the first three stages in the Stages of Change Model and their applications in health and fitness. The first stage, Pre-contemplation, describes someone who has not thought about adopting healthy lifestyle habits. In the second stage, contemplation, one is thinking about change, but is not ready to act. The third stage is preparation. Preparation describes one who may have tried to change in the past year, may already be making small changes, or intends to change in the next few weeks.
Today I will focus on the last two stages, Action and Maintenance.
The fourth stage, ‘Action’, describes someone who has recently started exercising, or changing eating habits, likely in the past 6 months.
If you are in the action stage, you may be experiencing one or more different emotions: excitement, high levels of motivation, disbelief that you are actually committing to exercise, fear of failure, and for some, fear of success.
The Action Stage can be exciting, but the risk for relapsing back to old habits is high. Many people, for example, those who set a goal at New Year to get fit, fall of the wagon within a few weeks of starting a program.
If you are new to exercise, enlist a support network to keep you on track. Family and friends, a fitness coach or a group training program can provide the support and accountability to push you into the next phase of change.
The final stage is ‘Maintenance’. Maintenance describes someone who has been able to stick to an exercise program for a significant length of time.
If you are in this stage, congratulations! You have adopted healthy habits and will likely maintain them for life. The key to progressing once in the maintenance stage is to continue setting goals, and to add variety to your program to keep your routine interesting. Having a support network is also beneficial in the maintenance phase to ensure your continued success!
Whether you are in the action or maintenance phase of fitness, set goals and enlist support to keep you headed in the right direction!
Tanja Shaw is the owner of Ascend Fitness Inc., a private training studio. Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals work to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition. For more fitness tips go to www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.