Regardless of what specific behavior you would like to change, there are several steps you must take in order to shift the habit. I find being aware of the pre-contemplation stage, where you muse about whether the behavior is a problem or not, and the contemplation stage, where you weigh the costs and benefits of changing, will help you achieve the goal with greater success. Furthermore, recalling these first two stages is the key to dealing with, and recovering from, relapse. Start with these questions:
|Questions for Patients in the Precontemplation and Contemplation Stages*
|*–The change can be applied to any desirable behavior (e.g., smoking or drinking cessation, losing weight, exercise).
Information from Miller WR, Rollnick S. Motivational interviewing: preparing people to change addictive behavior. New York: Guilford, 1991:191-202.
There is more on the American Family Physician website. Also if you want to quit smoking the California Smokers’ Helpline (800-No-Butts) is useful and I have a number of patients who have had wonderful success with hypnotherapy (and have a great one I would recommend).
|Stages of Change Model
|Information from Prochaska JO, DiClemente CC, Norcross JC. In search of how people change. Am Psychol 1992;47:1102-4, and Miller WR, Rollnick S. Motivational interviewing: preparing people to change addictive behavior. New York: Guilford, 1991:191-202.