In this article, I will be summarizing the intention for the month of September.
The arrival of fall can mean many things; 🍂leaves turning colors, animals migrating, apple picking and PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING.🎃 👍
Fall is not only a change in seasons, but many changes happen within ourselves as well. We are shifting from our summer selves to our winter selves. School begins and that comes with its own set of changes and challenges. Some changes are easier to handle than others. This month we will be exploring the steps to change, what they look like, how one might feel, and goals.
Take some time to examine your life and see what changes you are currently engaged in. Try to identify what stage fits your situation. Then, using the goals section, think of ways to encourage yourself to take the next step.
Stages of Change
- Pre-Contemplation: in this phase, an individual is not aware a change needs to be made. They are not considering change.
- Validate your experience (i.e. lack of readiness, fear, lack of concern).
- Acknowledge the decision is yours to make.
- Develop a reason for changing. Make a simple, direct statement about the benefits of the change.
- Encourage further exploration, and explore potential concerns.
- Example: "I know smoking isn't good for me, but we all die from something, right?"
- Encourage evaluation of pro's & con's
- Clarify perception of pro's & con's (realistic or unrealistic, and why?)
- Identify and promote new, positive outcome expectations that could come from behavior change.
- Begin making statements that move you towards preparation.
- Example: "I smoke a pack a day, and it's starting to cost me money & my health. I might have to quit."
- Praise the decision to change behavior.
- Prioritize behavior change opportunities over other life events.
- Identify possible obstacles and do some problem solving.
- Encourage small steps to start.
- Identify what social support you have surrounding the change.
- Example: "I usually smoke on lunch breaks. Instead, I'll sit with the non-smokers and make some new friends."
- Focus on restructuring habitual, routine behavior, and gathering social support.
- Bolster self-efficacy for dealing with obstacles.
- Combat feelings of loss and reiterate long-term benefits.
- Example: "I've replaced my morning cig with a peppermint stick, but it's been hard giving up my evening cigarette. I just have to remember my insurance costs will go down."
- Focus on outside support
- Reinforce rewards and benefits
- Identify relapse triggers & coping strategies for them.
- Example: "I haven't smoked in one week, but last night, after a few beers, I had a cigarette with an old friend. Next time, I will keep peppermints on hand to supplement my cravings."
- Evaluate the trigger, or what caused the relapse.
- Reassess motivation & barriers to success.
- Come up with stronger coping methods.
- Example: " A family member passed away this past week and I'm back to smoking a pack a day. Instead, I'll call a non-smoker friend the next time I feel stressed/upset."
If you need any help identifying what stage you are in, try writing down your thoughts regarding the change. Maybe looking at these thoughts will help clarify and put things in perspective. If you are still having trouble, we can sit down in a private session and hash it out together.
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