People often inquire about how they can encourage their spouse, parent, sibling or friend to make some changes.
When individuals experience success working towards goals it's not uncommon for them to want to share the benefits of their new found lifestyle by motivating others.
While this desire to inspire others is honorable and usually stemming from a place full of good intentions, it's also important to remember that the process of change has many stages. Furthermore, some people may not be interested or ready for change. And that's totally A-o.k..
The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM) was developed by James O. Prochaska in 1977 and I love the way Habitry founder, Coach Stevo, describes the various stages of change behavior in his article, “No Excuses”.
1. Pre-contemplation - “Shut up, I’m all good.”
2. Contemplation - “OK, maybe I’m not all good.”
3. Preparation - “Yeah, I’m thinking about getting better.”
4. Action - “I’m doing what I need to do to get better, dammit.”
5. Maintenance - “I’m better, but still working at it.”
6. Termination - “I’m pretty good and man, was I fooling myself back then.”
So while you may be working on stage five or six. Your friend/spouse/sibling maybe hanging out in stage one, two or three. But behavior doesn't actually change until stage four.
Jumping in to help someone before they're ready can sometimes feel like a proposal on the first date. Totally overwhelming and usually unwelcomed. Slow down, Killer. Slow down.
You and I both know that forcing someone into behavior change is a sure fire ride in the fast lane to broken commitments, lack luster results, hurt feelings and sometimes even damaged relationships. (From personal experience, I’d recommend that spouses tread lightly. Very, very lightly. Wink, wink.)
So what’s a well-intentioned friend to do when you want to help foster change in someone else? Be the change you wish to see in others. Be patient. Be positive. And should that stage four day come, be there with open arms to help.
For additional (and amazing) reading on behavior change and motivating others, check out Habity.com.