Recovering from divorce and ready to make a positive change? Making positive changes in your life is not always easy. Studies show that of those who make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% are successful in achieving their resolution.
Did you know that making positive changes in your life is a process? Change includes five stages, and it is possible to get stuck in the process. Then end result is no results.
Five Stages of Change
As you examine these stages, think of a positive change you wish to make, and ask yourself two questions: First, where am I in the process? Second, what is keeping me from moving to the next stage?
Let’s use the example of Josh, a middle aged man who is recently divorced. He has longed to start a consulting business in his field of expertise.
Pre-Contemplative: At this stage there may be an idea, but there is no plan for change. For instance, whenever Josh would think about starting his consulting business, life just seemed to be in the way. He is busy with family responsibilities, and his current company has him traveling quite a bit. Friends and family may be making observations and comments that Josh should start his own company, and although that does sound desirable, at this point he doesn’t see it. Josh continues to go about his current weekly schedule. Making a change isn’t yet on his radar screen.
Contemplative: After the divorce process, with the realization his life has been significantly altered, he wonders again about starting his own company. It is now him and his two children. He desires more time with them, and his current work schedule is just too demanding. Now is aware that there is no better time than the present to make a career change, but has not yet committed to bringing about action to make the change.
Preparation: Josh determines to do something, although he is not sure what steps to take yet. He begins to talk to others who have branched out of the corporate world and started their own business, and realizes he needs to make some preparations to follow that path. He hires Seth, a life coach, and they begin to talk about Josh’s current situation and his desired future. Seth has a great reputation for helping others build their own business, and begins to work with Josh setting a vision and timeline. Now, the makings of a plan start to form. They both begin to develop an action plan, which gives Josh time to recruit new clients and spend time with his children, and not neglect his current work responsibilities. Now, he is intentional on making a change. Josh begins to take some small steps towards putting an action plan in place, and sets up weekly meetings with Seth to be accountable to the plan.
Action: At this point, Josh is making it happen. He has a plan and is following it. He has a target number of new clients and is on his way to securing them, and a date to resign from his current company. Every day he wakes up with an agenda and action plan to achieve those goals. His new clients are excited about working with Josh because of his enthusiasm, and he feels a renewed vigor and outlook on life. Once a week, he has a session with Seth to evaluate the plan and report on progress. He is beginning to see results and feels great about it.
Maintenance: Although the divorce process was a difficult emotional time, Josh is now thankful that he used the opportunity to make a positive change and start his own company. Josh has achieved his goals of spending more time with his children, and feels very fulfilled in his new career. However, he realizes that his efforts cannot stop here. He and Seth have developed a plan to continue to meet to grow the business and become more successful professionally and personally. They have worked out a maintenance plan that fits his goals and lifestyle, and they meet once a month for encouragement and accountability.
Divorce is both an end and a beginning. It is an opportunity to make some positive changes in your life. And, change requires a plan that moves you through the stages so you can achieve results. Take the opportunity to treat yourself to following and achieving your dreams.
**The Five Stages of Change is a Motivational Interviewing technique used in Person Centered Therapy developed by William Miller and Stephan Rollnick in the early 1980’s.