Why Is Change So Hard?

You want to change.  You know what you need to do.  Your goals and tasks have been identified.

So, why does it seem so hard to change, then?

From a biological perspective, it can be argued that we are all shaped by our genetics and DNA, and we may be somewhat pre-set as to how we function in the world.

From a psychological perspective, it can be argued that we all have a tendency towards a certain personality type, and possess certain attributes when it comes to our thoughts and emotions.

From a social perspective, it can be argued that we all grew up in different environments and have been shaped by the people to whom we were exposed from a young age, and continuing all through our lives.

Combined together, the general biopsychosocial model often needs to be examined when looking at human behavior.

In tandem with some of these perspectives, change can encompass a series of steps and phases that we may go through to secure the desired change-behavior.  The “Transtheoretical Model” reflects upon the above-mentioned biopsychosocial model to conceptualize the process of wanting to intentionally change your behavior (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983; Prochaska, DiClemente, & Norcross, 1992).  Here’s a brief review of the six stages below:

  1. Precontemplative – You know you might want to make a change, but you’re not quite ready to do anything about it.
  2. Contemplative – You begin considering change more readily, and entertain what this process might look like.
  3. Preparation – You begin making a plan to enact change.
  4. Action –  You employ methods to carry out tasks in order to achieve your goal.
  5. Maintenance – You sustain self-efficacy and have made some modifications in your lifestyle related to the behavior at hand.
  6. Termination – Your behavior has become an automatic process.

Within each of these stages, there are experiential and behavioral processes that occur.  These processes vary in intensity, frequency, and duration.  Becoming educated about the change process and designing an individualized plan for change with a trusted mental health professional can often be an empowering and effective tool for enhancing your life.

Change can be a difficult endeavor for many of us, but it can be achieved!  Thoughts or questions?  Please contact me for assistance.  I’d be happy to help!

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