MAKING A CHANGE: The Transtheoretical Model


Change…...Sometimes this can be a scary word that sends shivers down people's spines.  Why is major change so hard at times to incorporate into our daily lives?  Starting an exercise program is like setting off on a holiday. For it to be as easy as possible with limited surprises, we need a step-by-step approach as defined by the Transtheoretical model: Pre- contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.


In this stage, you don’t intend to take action in the foreseeable future, which is normally measured as the next 6 months.  Being uninformed or under informed about the consequences of ones behaviour may cause a person to be at this stage.  Multiple unsuccessful attempts to make a change can lead to feeling demoralized about your lack of success.

Precontemplators are often described as resistant, unmotivated, and not ready for help.

CONTEMPLATION (Getting ready)

At this stage, people do intend to change within the next 6 months.  They are aware of the pros of change and acutely aware of the cons.  They have taken it upon themselves to read up about exercise or have heard the benefits from friends or doctors, which has stimulated their interest in starting a program.

This is where you start to feel motivated and set your goals.  Asking yourself what you want to get out of this program is very important for long-term success.  At this stage, it is important to address the possible obstacles you may face as you take on your new challenge and work out ways to overcome these.

PREPERATION (Starting your journey)

Once you have thought about your motivations and what goals you want to work towards in your exercise program, you are in the preparation stage.  Preparing for the new healthy energised you. 

This is where you will take steps to prepare for your new exercise program.  You will make time to allow yourself the chance to train.  It is great with a personal trainer as when you set a date and time you become accountable for your actions.  Being accountable will make you more likely to stick to your program without wasting time by being side tracked.

ACTION (Adopting the program)

You are well on your way by this stage.  You are learning new exercises and doing them two to three times a week with a trainer, on your own or both.  You will start to see the results from all your hard work preparing and being active at this stage.

Your cloths will start to feel looser, your will be more energised, the task of doing daily chores will be a lot easier, you will sleep better, you will feel that it is easier to concentrate, you will begin to feel excited to do exercise.  This action stage will continue as long as you are engaged in an exercise program.

MAINTENANCE (Staying on track)

At about 6 months, training has become part of your life.  At this stage, you will find it hard to not want to be exercising as you have felt the benefits of doing an exercise program.  Everything becomes easier as you have developed strength and cardio fitness so you are not huffing and puffing as easy as you once were.  You feel happier in yourself and people are commenting on the new happier person you have become.

It doesn’t happen overnight.  To make a successful, healthier change to your life long term, it is best if it happens slowly overtime.  This helps to allow your body to adapt slowly to the change without being scared away by being too intense during the beginning stages.

We form bad habits over time, so to reverse this we need to take the time.  So don’t feel like you need to rush into a program and expect results straight away.  This will only cause you injury which will be a huge set back to your process of becoming a healthier, stronger happier person.

Amber Schuecker