Food For Thought

man struggling between eating chocolate and an apple

Making Your Healthy Habits Stick

Coach Melanie, 07/02/2015

You say that you want to change a bad habit, such as eating junk food, or that you want to start exercising regularly. But do you REALLY want to do it? And do you have the right mindset?  

When it comes to changing your mindset, there are six stages you go through. The first is the Precontemplation Stage. People in this stage are in denial and do not believe a problem even exists. They are resistant to change and can be defensive if someone suggests they may have a problem.

People who are in the second stage of change, the Contemplation Stage, acknowledge that a problem exists. They weigh the pros and cons of changing, but may stay in this stage indefinitely and never take action.

When people plan to take action and actually make a commitment to do so, they’ve moved into the Preparation Stage. In this stage, their awareness sharpens, they realize what their triggers are, and they plan to do something different, like changing their environment. They may get a book on the subject or talk to someone who has conquered the same problem.

The fourth stage of change is the Action Stage. People in this stage believe they have the ability to make the desired change and are taking steps to do so. They are open to receiving help and are likely to reach out to others for support.

People in the Maintenance Stage, the fifth stage, are successful at resisting a bad habit and have acquired new skills to avoid relapse. They anticipate situations that may cause temptation and formulate strategies to use at those times.

The sixth stage of change is the Termination Stage. This means that the ultimate goal is no longer a problem (i.e. they no longer desire or eat junk food). They don’t want to engage in the negative behavior anymore.


Relapse frequently occurs between the fifth and sixth stages. While it’s easy to feel discouraged by the setback, the best thing to do is pick yourself up and start again at the preparation, action, or maintenance stage. Analyze how the slip happened and use it to create better coping skills for next time.

It’s important to understand these stages of change before you try to rid yourself of an unhealthy habit. By knowing what to expect, you’ll be able to better anticipate temptation and maneuver around it.

Still, it can be hard to do it alone.

Having a personal coach in your corner can help you along the way.  

A personal coach is beneficial, especially when you are in the Preparation Stage. Your coach can help you devise a plan to get started and then help you through the rest of the stages to change your habits. It is especially helpful to have a coach when you relapse. If you are on your own, it can be very easy to throw in the towel and give up. A coach will cheer you on and can be your best advocate!


So, are you ready to be coached?


Sources: of change model.wps 

The Health Coach Training Program, Hilton Johnson Productions, Inc.

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