How the “Stages of Change” Affect Goal Planning & Outcome

By Rita Larsen, RD, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor

Change Ahead Sign

Researchers who study why some individuals do and some do not accomplish their goals, have a very compelling answer for us. “They are not ready!” As simple an answer as this may be, considerable study at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has shown that individuals go through “stages of change” which, when followed, will lead anyone to their desired outcome and, hopefully, their goal.

Stages of Change-Elite Sports Clubs

Stages of Change, developed some years ago by a pioneer behaviorist, imply that the thought and motivation to make change occur in our lives, actually happens in a step-by-step progression over time. The timetable, of course, can be hours, days, or even months before change can occur. The underlying idea is the fact that until we have all of the pieces in place, we will be making little change.

The example, of course, is made for the purpose of identifying why some people can make immediate change in behavior for a nutrition and fitness “makeover” while others will not be doing so in the very near future.

This has become apparent in working with individuals over the years in my practice. Taking a look at these stages, and identifying your current stage may uncover the reasons for “moving forward” or “staying right where you are at.” Take a look at the “Stages of Change Model” above and realize that for every behavior you try to change, it will require going through these steps.

If therapists and individuals took the time for this kind of review before starting any program, less time would be needed to assess the outcome.

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This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

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