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Use the Behavior Change Model to Improve Health

Behavior change model improves health

From healthy eating and regular exercise to quitting smoking or simply watching less TV, changing our behaviors around health and wellness can be incredibly difficult. We are frequently told what we “should” do without any guidance on how to take small steps for long-lasting change. The behavior change model is a commonly used model for intentional change and focuses on meeting the individual where they are in their unique journey.

The six stages in the behavior change model include:

- Pre-contemplation: When the individual is not ready to make a change and possibly unaware the behavior has negative consequences.

- Contemplation: The individual recognizes the behavior may be problematic and intends to make a change within the next six months.

- Preparation: The individual is ready to make a change within the next 30 days and begins to make small steps, such as purchasing a new pair of sneakers for working out.

- Action: The individual is changing their behavior and intends to continue improving the habits or behaviors, such as working out regularly, eating the recommended daily serving of vegetables, drinking more water or less alcohol, cutting down on cigarettes or managing stress.

- Maintenance: The individual is sustaining the behavior change for more than six months.

- Termination: The individual has fully adopted the new health behaviors and has no intention of returning to previous habits.

Identifying your current stage in the behavior change model can help you recognize where you are in your unique healthy journey and evaluate your willingness to change. With the help of a nutrition professional, you can move through the stages intuitively and painlessly to fully adopt your new positive behaviors and obtain the healthy lifestyle you desire.

Written by: Tori Parsons, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern 

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