While I was running today, I was trying to think of something to write about so, I am going to write a few educational points about the mental thought process behind making a life change to exercise.
Being an Exercise Science major, we had to take an Exercise Psychology course and I found this particular topic intriguing.
Technically speaking, to make exercise part of a life change, it needs to eventually become a habit. Thus, the psychology behind making this life change is based on the theoretical model of "the stages of change" which will eventually create a habit out of exercising.
Stage 1 : Pre-contemplation; this stage includes people who say, "Absolutely not ... No way I'm going to do that ... or, I can't because ..." I used to be in this stage, I remember telling myself, I can't because I don't have time. This happens to be the most commonly used excuse in stage 1.
Stage 2 : Contemplation; this stage is when someone is thinking about taking action. They know they need to do something, but they're not sure they want to start today. I was in this stage for a LONG TIME! This typically tends to be one of the longer stages of the 5.
Stage 3 : Preparation; this stage is when a person has attempted to make a change. This is a volatile stage because it's easy to revert back to stage 2. This was one of the most difficult stages. For me, it was a mental block that I had to get over. It's really easy to say, "this isn't working, maybe I'll try again next week." I mentally had to shut off that part of my brain and JUST DO IT!
Stage 4 : Action; this stage is when a person finally feels successful. This stage is supposed to last up to 6 months. I think I reached this stage when I lost the first 10 lbs. But, I am currently still in this stage because it's only been about 3 months. (I'm 1/2 way to stage 5.)
Stage 5 : Maintenance; this stage occurs after 6 months of stage 4. This is considered the least potential stage for relapse and exercise has finally become a habit. THIS IS WHERE I WANT TO BE! All in good time.
When I look at this model, it becomes so obvious as to why so many American's fail at weight loss and staying physically fit. There are so many opportunities to fall off the wagon. But, this time I will prevail! (I know, a little Gladiator-esk ... :P ) Feel free to leave comments and tell me which stage you think you're currently in.
Still runnin' strong!