Working through Change

This article was written by Our Mental Health Expert – Libby McLean

Counsellor, EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer at Positive MIND Consulting.

Everyone is going through some form of change now and so Libby has offered us some useful tips and posed some reflective questions for us to consider in our change journey.

When a client of mine is feeling ‘stuck’, or they are struggling adapting to change, we go on a journey; to help them identify which ‘stage of change’ they are having trouble with. The model I follow is based on the works of Carlo C. DiClemente and J.O. Prochaska and the research they conducted in the 1970s/80s.

2020 is not the year any of us planned for. For many of us, we are still trying to find our rhythm, adapt to new routines, create new opportunities to restore peace in our lives and to foster connection with others, despite the physical distance. Life for some has been challenging, turbulent, (at times) isolating and lonely. However now more than ever we need to focus on our wellness and self-care to ensure we have the strength and resilience to continue making positive change in our lives.

I encourage those of you who are continuing to struggle ‘finding your new groove’, or those who have noticed a need to change a certain behaviour, but unsure where to start to read on.. It’s important to spend some time reflecting on each stage of change, in order to identify WHAT needs to change in order for that change to be successful and enduring.

#1 Precontemplation: unaware change needs to occur. No intent to take actions in the next 6 months.

#2 Contemplation: starting to realise that change needs to happen, recognition that certain behaviour is problematic, however some might feel ambivalent towards changing their behaviour.

#3 Preparation/Determination: readiness to start changing behaviour in the next 30 days, a genuine belief that changing one’s behaviour will have a positive impact on their life.

#4 Action: change has occurred, and one feels motivated to ensure that this new behaviour continues.

#5 Maintenance: positive change has been sustainable over a period of time (more than 6 months) and there is a genuine intent to maintain the behaviour change.

Take some time to reflect. These questions will help you to gain more clarity and confidence throughout your change journey:

1. How do you feel about change?

2. What are your concerns or worries about making change?

3. Can you identify any benefits if you were to make this change?

4. How does this feel? What difference would this make?

5. Do you need to spend more time investigating what this change means to you?

6. Can you identify anyone who can support you with this change?

7. What would their role be? What does their support look like?

8. What difference would this make to you, having this support?

9. How committed are you out of 10 (10 being the most committed) to make the change?

10. What else needs to happen in order for you to feel confident to make this change?

I hope these questions help to plant “seeds of change” in your mind; and I wish you all the very best in your journey to making positive, long lasting change!

Libby McLean

Counsellor, EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer at Positive MIND Consulting