6 Stages of Change Help You Transform Your Time

6 stages of change
You can change.

The 6 stages of change offer an approach to self-transformation that is at once powerful, practical, and profound.

The more you explore your power to direct your life, the more successfully you can plan your time. This is true no matter what challenges life presents.

In 1997 psychology professor James Prochaska created a very effective approach to making deep and lasting life changes. His 6 stages of change came from personal experience; his own father had died of alcoholism.

No one else’s efforts had been able to halt this tragedy. So Prochaska was motivated to learn about people who were able to overcome destructive patterns.

He discovered that no matter what the initial problem was, each person who was able to change progressed through six identical stages. Further, for each stage, each person utilized strategies unique to that particular phase in her or his transformation.

6 Stages of Change

These discoveries evolved into Prochaska’s famous 6 Stages of Change.  These stages help you step away from ingrained, unhelpful habits, and boost your effectiveness and life-satisfaction.

So, here is how you can make use of Prochaska’s model to transform your relationship to time and more productively manage your time choices:

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation  

Simple dissatisfaction inspires many to embark on profound journeys to alter how they spend their time. You know “somehow,” that something isn’t working for you. But you may be at a complete loss to understand just how your own time choices actually get in the way of what you want to accomplish.

You might blame others for their distractions and demands. Maybe you judge yourself. But what really matters is that you know, down to your toes, that you want to turn things around. This is all it takes to get started. And so your exploration begins.

Stage 2: Contemplation

Even though you understand that changes in your time use can be made, you may question your ability to follow through. As you wrestle with the specific challenges you face, you discover something important. On some fundamental level, you may resist the cost of change.

After all, old patterns offer trade-offs. For any change you wish to introduce, you have to let go of some other activity. So to change your pattern, you must change your priorities.  It’s most helpful to affirm to yourself that you alone possess this power and control.

So take all the time you need to weigh the pros and cons. You may then discover that you are more than ready to make the change. It’s important to affirm that you can take one step at a time and move at your own pace.

Stage 3: Preparation  

Next, envision what time choices you would like to incorporate into your life. This is an ideal time to reexamine your values. How do they translate into your goals?  And what choices do your goals entail?  Often, it’s quite useful to generate a series of short-term goals that you know are a comfortable stretch, but not an actual strain.

Stage 4: Action  

Once you decide upon a new time plan, you will want to take active steps to set and uphold your new time boundaries. Offer yourself plenty of support as you do this. Also, expect that problems will emerge. Any new pattern creates ripples of consequences that you may not be able to anticipate.  

So, especially when scheduling new activities, consider using the “Times 2 Rule.”  That means assuming that any activity will take twice as long as you think it will. When you schedule in the time you truly need to perform well, you are helping to ensure your success at this stage.

Stage 5: Maintenance  

In your initial enthusiasm over starting new activities, you might not accurately estimate the sheer effort it takes to schedule them in on a consistent basis.

Like New Year’s resolutions, your best intentions require your generous support to become a regular part of your life. Set aside time to review your progress at regular intervals and be willing to tweak your plans as needed. And remember to validate yourself warmly and frequently. If you find it useful to use the buddy system, trading support with a friend can be very helpful.

Stage 6: Termination

In this time management model, “terminating” doesn’t mean stopping your new activity. Continue to dedicate as much time as necessary to maintain your new schedule. Feel free to revise your time choices whenever it’s important that they be updated. When you successfully incorporate your new time habit into your life, it becomes automatic.

In that case, congratulations. You are now free to build on your success.

The rewards of embarking on this process are indescribable. Nothing matches the sense of accomplishment that comes from changing your life for the better.

And as you exercise these muscles of self-determination, they become stronger and stronger. Optimism flourishes when you engage in what truly matters most to you. And you will find yourself creating new opportunities to explore, succeed, and celebrate your newfound power over your time.

And here’s more help…

Change is a fact of life, but do you sometimes feel like it’s coming at you too fast? Or does it pop up unexpectedly and throw all your plans awry? Well, I’d like to share a time tool that helps. no matter what kind of change you’re dealing with.

It’s titled How to Partner with Change and Aging, and to discover more about it right now, just click here: https://thetimefinder.com/partnering-with-change.html

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