The New Year is often the start-clock for a variety of resolutions to improve oneself. Changing behavior and lifestyle preferences is not easy. Often, we hit the ground running on January 1st without a plan, the knowledge, skills or support to make real change. Within a short-time frame enthusiasm and optimism wane. False expectations prevail. Little change occurs. And then we get stuck in the proverbial rut.
Behavior change is a process, not an event. There are six stages of change:
- Pre-contemplation: There is no intention of taking action.
- Contemplation: There are intentions to take action and a plan to do so in the near future.
- Preparation: There is intention to take action and some steps have been taken.
- Action: Behavior has been changed for a short period of time.
- Maintenance: Behavior has been changed and continues to be maintained for the long-term.
- Termination: There is no desire to return to prior negative behaviors.
Reframing the notion of behavior change as a process can help mitigate false expectations. Making sure you’re at the right stage of behavior change is an important consideration in your health and wellness journey.
For those who are in the business of helping guide others to a path of health and wellness, not only is it critical to understand how change happens, but it’s equally as important to understand that not all individuals have equal access to achieving optimal health. For example, socio-ecological barriers, like not having a job or access to transportation, or even a safe place to walk, can contribute to the inability to make healthy choices. Health disparities and access to health equity are not even possible for vulnerable populations including the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, the uninsured, low-income children, the elderly, the homeless, those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and those with other chronic health conditions, including severe mental illness.
Community Supports in Franklin County
If you are looking for support in the New Year, there are a range of free programs available to help you make lifestyle changes:
- Summit Health heart health grocery store tours in February
- Summit Health budget friendly grocery store tours in March
- National Diabetes prevention Program Prevent T2 Program
- Free community yoga sessions for heart health
- Bi-polar support groups
- Smoking cessation
- Healthy meal preparation… and more!