Updated: Dec 27, 2022
“Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” -Roy T. Bennett
As the new year is quickly approaching, some of us may be reflecting on changes we want to make. Some of these changes may be easier to commit to such as changing our home décor or re-organizing our pantry. But other changes might require some time to self-examine and may entail taking small steps toward a much bigger goal. These changes may have something to do with deeply ingrained modes of behavior and instilled habits that will take time to modify. In this situation, we may need to practice patience.
Perhaps the change you desire has something to do with a relationship with another person. The important thing to focus on in this situation is what is in your control vs. what is not in your control. When we want to improve the relationship we have with someone in our life, we are only capable of adjusting our own responses and reactions. In this situation, we may need to practice acceptance.
If you can think of a few changes you’d like to make this new year, perhaps reviewing the Stages of Change model may be helpful in determining where you are at and what the next step may be.
Stages of Change:
1) Precontemplation—this stage is when you start to notice other people are pressuring you to make a change, but you might not feel like you need to make any changes and you may even become defensive.
2) Contemplation—during this stage you may notice a change is needed, you may even begin listing out the pros and cons of making the change. Yet getting to the point where you take steps in modifying the behavior or addressing an issue may be just a passing thought.
3) Preparation—at this point you may be committed to going through with a change. You are determined and you may start to do research on what it will take to go through with modifying behaviors, habits, and addressing issues.
4) Action—during this stage you have developed a plan for action and you are dedicated to taking steps toward the desired change. You may even seek out support and rely on staying accountable about the things that are in your control regarding sticking to your goals.
5) Maintenance—at this stage you are dedicated to your new habits and keep in mind possible triggers, temptations, and thoughts of returning to old behaviors. You may continually remind yourself of the progress you’ve made and the rewards received from following through with making positive changes.
Use this time to think deeply on the changes you wish to make and how you plan to get started. One thing that tends to hold us back in sticking to these changes is fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of disappointment…the list goes on and on. Yes, change can be scary. It pushes us out of our comfort zone—that safe little space we created long ago to protect ourselves from having to face certain realities. But there is no better time than now to get started on creating positive change in your life and guess what? You are not alone! We are here for you!
If you feel like you are struggling with change, struggling to practice patience or acceptance, feeling stuck in a specific stage of change, or feeling overwhelmed with fears of the changes going on in your life currently—please reach out to us at 253 Therapy and Consult. Change isn’t easy. We are here to help you gain the tools and offer support needed to help you make the changes you want in your life.