In the study of “behavior change”, one of the first things they teach is the “transtheoretical model of change.” Sounds complicated but it’s not!
It was developed back in the 1970’s after researchers studied smokers who were trying to quit. They broke down the “5 Mindset Stages” people go through to create a new lifestyle change.
In a nutshell, those stages are:
- Precontemplation – This is before you’re aware of a “problem” (like the need to quit smoking) or are even thinking of making any changes.
- Contemplation – You’ve got a problem that you want to solve, and you start thinking about making some changes.
- Planning – This is when you are planning to actually make the changes.
- Action – When you’re in the process of changing.
- Maintenance – You’ve successfully made the changes and are maintaining them!
I want to talk about the jump from “Planning” to “Action” … because it is so easy to get these mixed up with each other!
It’s also super easy to get stuck in planning mode.
This is especially true with all the info online, where you can literally spend hours going down one rabbit hole after another looking for the “perfect” solution to whatever problem you’re trying to solve.
Being educated and informed is always a good thing! But sometimes we confuse that prep/planning time with actually taking ACTION toward our goals.
Basically, it boils down to the fact that spending 5 minutes going for a brisk walk will get you closer to your goal than spending a half-hour shopping for the right sneakers or reading articles about the “perfect” diet or fitness routine.
(Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of this! We’ve all done it from time to time.)
It doesn’t have to be a BIG action, but taking 1 or 2 steps in the direction of your goal will help you get to the “maintenance” state sooner than later!
If any of this sounds familiar to you, try experimenting by stacking some action RIGHT into your planning.
Go for that walk (or eat that apple instead of a candy bar) AND do your research if you still feel like you need to gather more info.
It’s all about taking IMPERFECT action.