5 Stages of Change
The New Year often comes with a lot of personal self inflicted expectations and often unrealistic goal setting. How many times have you given yourself a deadline that was so overwhelming that you don’t even know where to begin? For me, the task of organizing my closet and getting rid of things that I “might need” in the future is just so daunting that I don’t even have it on my immediate list anymore. The result is a jam-packed closet that radiates anxiety and follows false promise: “tomorrow I’ll deal with it, tomorrow. I’ll come up with a plan, and tomorrow I’ll stop procrastinating!”
Whether it be an organized closet, or intention to lose weight and get fit, these goals are relatable to most, and tie into the stages of change that define our true commitment. Since increasing fitness activity is a frequently made New Year’s resolution, that will be the basis of demonstrating the 5 stages of change.
In this stage, individuals have no intention of making a change. They do not exercise and don’t plan on it any time soon. Usually education and/or a health crisis are what will push this individual to the next stage of change.
This is a “thinking about it” stage, as individuals are considering exercise or becoming a more mindful eater. They are not active yet. Personal trainers can be very helpful to them by helping their new clients set specific goals, combined with education and motivation to get the ball rolling!
You want to run a 5K with your kids? Okay, there’s a specific goal – let’s start working on endurance!
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These are individuals who do exercise, but haven’t done so in a while, and want to get back to it in the very near future. These are your New Years “get back on the treadmill” people. As a personal trainer I LOVE to see people ready to take charge of their health. Making measurable goals (such as: “I will work to increase my running time by a minimum of 5 minutes each week”) allow individuals to see the progress they have made and keep them motivated.
I try and keep my clients’s expectations both relevant (is running a 5K truly important to you, or is it because someone else is pushing you to do it?) and attainable (3 months to train for the 5K, not 3 weeks). Are they setting a realistic goal? Oftentimes, people restarting an exercise routine feel like they can/should hit the ground as strong as they left. However, that feeling can result in frustration, especially when their body isn’t performing as quickly and efficiently as it used to. Give yourself 6 weeks minimum for your neuromuscular coordination to kick in. It will happen!
During this stage, individuals are working out on a regular basis (yay!), but they are still relatively new to this regularity. As regular longevity is developing, a personal trainer will work hard to keep you interested and motivated to reach your fitness goals! S/he will help you determine timely goals that give you a deadline (the 5K is in April, it’s January, we can do this!). In the action phase, the pros and benefits of exercise have become apparent physically and psychologically to the individual, and it feels great!
In the phase of longevity, you will find your true workout buffs. They make it to the gym on a regular basis and have maintained regular weekly exercise. Although they love to work out, they still need to be held accountable at times and motivated to not return to old habits.
I’m in the maintenance stage and while I love to workout, I also relish my rest days (when I don’t lift anything but a mimosa glass at Sunday brunch)!
In my fitness journey, I have been through each of these stages. Every stage has its fair share of challenges. Every person is different will face different challenges. At home, I have 3 kids which presents me with time management challenges. Others travel for work or have preexisting conditions or injuries that might deter them from taking their fitness to the next level.
Whatever your challenge, a personal trainer is trained to be mindful of these challenges and make your fitness journey possible.
What stage of change are you?
Keeping your fitness goals S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) will result in those New Year’s resolutions of “better health and fitness” to be within your grasp!
Happy and Healthy New Year from Strand Fitness!
Stop wasting your time on your own and put your goals to action. Contact Pam (630-653-8152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule your complimentary, no obligation fitness consultation.
Realize your fitness goals and enjoy being strong and fit!
To learn more how our experts can help you be strong, please visit our website: Strength Training
Strand Fitness is a personal training studio in Downtown Wheaton serving Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Winfield, & Chicago Western Suburbs.
About the Author:
Kecia Murphy is a Personal Trainer at Strand Fitness. She is aware that everyone has different starting points, different interests and different goals when it comes to fitness. She looks forward to personalizing her training programs to each client’s ability and interests. Whether her client’s goal is to improve their range of motion or sweat to high intensity-training workouts, Kecia is excited to help her clients feel better and achieve their fitness goals.