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Wish you could get to the end of a year and actually feel like you’ve accomplished your New Year’s Resolution? Here’s how to accept change into your life.

New year, new you – we’ve heard it time and time again. So why do so many of
us fail to change our ways, after we start the New Year with such good
intentions? Caitlin Reid, dietitian and author of “Health & the City”, reveals
the secrets behind achieving successful change.

Stages of Change

Many of us think the act of change needs only a single thought, when in
actual fact it requires constant reflection and evaluation as we progress
through seven distinct stages. Many of us fail at changing because we do not
complete the vital first step of identifying which stage of change we are in
before we start. Knowing which stage you are in enables you to develop
suitable strategies towards achieving change success. So, if you’re trying
to set goals for 2010, identify which stage you are currently in and follow
the tips to progress through the change process.

Stage 1. Pre-contemplation: You haven’t any intention or desire to change.
You are not aware of the consequences of your unhealthy habits or you may be
discouraged from previous unsuccessful attempts. To progress from this
stage, increase your awareness of the main issues or habits.

Stage 2. Contemplation: Now you intend to change, but not immediately. You
are not yet committed to the process and find excuses for putting it off
longer! You have to progress through this stage by drawing up a list of pros
and cons for making and not making the change. Then develop strategies for
overcoming any obstacles standing in your way.

Stage 3. Preparation: This is when determination sets in. You’re committed
to making the change, and are planning the change process. You’re now making
decisions and putting goals on paper, both of which are important foundation
steps before heading into the action stage.

Stage 4. Action: You’re now physically and mentally making the change. For
success in this stage, it’s important that you monitor your progress by
assessing whether or not you have been meeting your goals. It’s also
important during this stage to develop strategies for overcoming obstacles
that pop up along the way.

Stage 5. Maintenance: You’re succeeding with change, but are aware that you
still have a long way to go.
After all, you’re planning to turn these
initial changes into lifelong habits and that’s no easy task. Obstacles will
continue to pop up, so evaluating your progress is still important at this
time.

Stage 6. Relapse: This stage causes many people to give up, as here many
people return to their old ways and feel like they have failed. But relapse
and failure are not the same things. Relapse is vital for success. Learning
from your slip-ups and developing strategies to stop it happening again,
will ensure you succeed in the long run.

Stage 7. Termination: This is the ultimate goal and usually takes about five
years to achieve. Reaching termination doesn’t mean you can resort back to
your old ways – you need to make your changes lifelong habits.

Caitlin Reid is author of “Health & The City” (Longueville media) $22.95.www.healthandthecity.com.au

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