Behavior Change is a Process of Stages
Do you feel the need to make some modifications in your behavior? If the answer is yes, then keep in mind that change is a process, not a single event that will occur overnight. Instead, it will happen with time through defined stages.
You can identify the changes your pre-contemplation making in your behavior if you notice at least one of the following:
- The behavior is inducing a little bit of distress from time to time.
- You tried in the past to change the behavior but couldn't do so.
- The behavior is affecting and causing distress to a loved one too.
Pre-contemplation is a tricky stage of change. The notion of change during this stage is in the unconscious part of the mind. So, how will you get to know that you need to change your behavior? Somewhere inside, you will feel an inkling of discontent with your behavioral problems when you will think about it. Or perhaps someone who knows you might be hinting that you should consider changing your behavior.
In this stage, you will start believing that your behavior needs changes after noticing your behavior.
You will know that you are in contemplating stage if you notice any of the following changes:
- You want to change your behavior but are afraid to do so.
- You wish you could change your behavioral problems.
There are a few things that you can do at this stage. The utmost necessary thing is to take an inventory and prepare a list of:
- How important is it to you?
- What you want to make it happen
- What your new life would be like after changing
In this stage, you feel motivated, committed to change and are ready, to begin with, change. Making a change without being prepared for it can lead to frustration, anxiety, stress, and, possibly failure. Creating a detailed action plan will boost the possibility of effective change.
- Set concrete, realistic, assessable goals.
- Think about what you have attempted in the past and analyze why it didn’t work.
- Discover what has worked out for others and determine if any of their ideas might work for you.
- Formulate the specific steps you will take to attain your goals.
Action is when an individual who is contemplating change actually tries something new and different. This is the stage where all the planning and thinking is finally executed or put into "action."
Review the steps and goals created by you while preparing to make any change. It is then when you take that first step towards it.
Stay on track
- Be true to yourself and others regarding your growth and setbacks.
- Seek accountability and support from others.
- Set up short-term rewards for your accomplishment with each step.
Your rewards will ensure that your preparation and commitment to follow your action plan has paid off.
Maintenance occurs when you make behavior change a vital part of your lifestyle. This is the downhill part of the transformation process.
Below are some of the helpful strategies for sustaining change:
- Weekly review goals, achievements, and any difficulties. Whatever be the result of your review, be honest with yourself.
- Watch for steps or ideas to improve your plan. You can ask others also.
- Be in touch with the people supporting you.
- Know more about your targeted behavior by attending a seminar, workshop or conference.
- Maintain a daily journal of your thoughts and feelings describing your life as you journey into the process of change.
Acceptance is seen as the absolute outcome of the maintenance stage. It is the spiritual aspect of the process of change and the toughest one to mark and measure. Acceptance is where you realize the necessity of making a change and affirming yourself that everything will be alright in the end.
Behavioral problems in children
Some children have extremely demanding, complex, and challenging behaviors that are outside the norm for their age.
This sort of problematic behaviors can result from temporary stressors leading to emotional and behavioral disorders in the child’s life. The most common type of disruptive behavior disorders that can affect your child includes oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), conduct disorder (CD), odd disorder (OD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Boys are more prone to suffer from behavioral disorders than girls. Parent management training, cognitive behavior therapy, medication and treatment for associated problems are some of the treatment options for these behavioral disorders that parents can choose to help their children facing teenage issues.
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