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Queensland Stay On Your Feet® - Toolkit Phase 1 Personal readiness

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Assess readiness to take action

Personal readiness

You can assess personal readiness to change and how people adapt to change using a model which has been used widely across various areas of health promotion called the Transtheoretical Model [1]. Evidence suggests that behaviour change occurs in a cycle involving a pattern of adoption, maintenance, relapse, and re-adoption over time, rather than in a series of linear steps.

Transtheoretical Model

Stage Characteristics What can be done to encourage change
Pre-contemplation
  • Don't recognise any problem exists
  • Have no intention of changing their
    behaviour
  • Explain and personalize the risk
  • Encourage re-evaluation of their current behaviour
  • Clarify that any decision to change rests with them
  • Aim to gently move these people from "NO!" to "I'll think about it"
Contemplation
  • Generally ambivalent about any behaviour change
  • "Sitting on the fence"
  • Not considering changing any time soon
  • Acknowledge they are in control
  • Clarify benefits that could be gained from adopting falls prevention strategies and behaviours
  • Encourage further self-exploration
  • Leave the door open for further progress at a later stage
Preparation
  • Have recognised the need for change and are "getting ready" to make the required changes
  • May have already "tested the waters"
  • Thinking about how they can make the personal and environmental changes necessary to accomplish the new behaviours
  • Praise them for making a positive choice
  • Prioritise the most important elements of the change process
  • Provide support
  • Encourage small, individual steps in the right direction.
Action
  • Actually doing the things necessary to imbed the required changes into their daily practice and lives
  • Dealing with new ways of doing things
  • Need to be re-assured that they are doing well and making positive progress
  • May feel a sense of loss about old habits so reinforce the long term benefits of the changes made and the improvements that will start to accumulate.
Maintenance
  • Sustaining the changes
  • Need follow up and support to continue the new behaviours
  • Reinforce the rewards
  • Warn about the possibility of re-lapse.
Relapse
  • Resumes old patterns of behaviour
  • Help to identify "triggers"
  • Reassure relapse is perfectly normal
  • Reassess motivation for change
  • Plan stronger coping mechanisms.

Owen and Lee (1984) use a similar model to summarise their model of personal behaviour change:

  • awareness of the problem and a need to change
  • motivation to make a change
  • skill development to prepare for the change
  • initial adoption of the new behaviour, and
  • maintenance of the new behaviour and integration into the lifestyle.

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Last updated: 7 August 2012