Understanding Levels of Motivation for Change (Part 2 of 3)

In the first post of this series we discussed the five levels of motivation as they have been described by DiClemente.

  1. Pre-Contemplation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparation
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance

I would suggest that before you dive into this post you read the previous one, linked above, to get a better understanding of these concepts. The first post is designed to help you understand where you are within the levels listed above while this post is meant to ask three questions to help you understand where you are so that you may move forward in your journey.

What Are My Past Experiences?

Where have you been in your journey? Since your struggle became pronounced, what is G4-1the highest level of motivation that you have been at during your struggle? What accounted for that progress? What accounted for the subsequent regression? Since attending G4, have you seen some progression through the levels of motivation?

Taking into account these questions, the desire is to continue to move forward. The first step in not being discouraged in you journey is to understand that a setback does not mean failure. In any journey, there will be progression and regression. Our goal is to ensure that you are making overall progress despite occasional setbacks. Every instance of progress (and regression) is something that we want to learn from; these successes aren’t “wasted” just because they weren’t permanent if we learn from them.

Where Am I Now?

In which of the five levels of motivation listed above do you believe yourself to be in currently? Knowing the place to begin your personal journey is vital to future victory. If you are still in the beginning of your journey, be sure not to overlook steps that might help you build an understanding of your struggle. The most important thing here in this time of self-reflection is to be honest with yourself.

You may not be at the same level of motivation for every aspect of your struggle. Assess your level of motivation for each aspect of your struggle that needs to change. Your motivation may be high for one needed change and low for another. Let’s be honest about that too.

What’s Next?

After evaluating where you have been and where you are now, it’s important to understand what’s next for you. Are you at a place that you have decided that you truly desire change? If so, it is time to start understanding what it is that you will need to change so that the result will be lasting change. Understanding the five levels of motivation can provide you with vocabulary to use when you’re “faithfully working the 9 steps” of G4 but you can often feel your level of motivation regressing. This is natural in any change process. If you’re honest about it and stay the course, it’s actually beneficial. If you don’t talk about it and it causes you to quit making needed changes, it’s destructive.

If you have already begun to make changes then perhaps you need to take time to evaluate how well those strategies have worked for you. After evaluating the changes that you have already made, seek to find ways that you can improve upon those changes. As part of that evaluation I would ask you to ask the question if you have committed fully to the change process of G4. That means, faithfully attending, joining in accountability and community, and working the curriculum.

This evaluation is a chance to invite the community and accountability of your G4 group into your life to help you affirm or deny the positive nature of those changes in your life. Additionally, it is likely that the individuals in your group can give you wisdom based on their own experiences. By asking questions such as: “What have the other people in your group tried with success or what have they learned in their failure?” you are better able to understand might work well for you. Allow the group members to help you think through potential changes that will happen in the coming weeks and months to better prepare you and encourage you through those changes.

Often times a lack of motivation comes from being discouraged by the lack of results we believe we should see after making changes. Having a community such as G4 to encourage you to keep going in a time of discouragement can be make a major difference in your ability to stick with your commitment to change. In order for this to dedication to commitment to begin to take place, we suggest that you commit to G4 for a minimum of six weeks. Committing yourself to a set period of time to determine the effectiveness of G4 for you in your struggle allows for some initial changes to begin to take root and for you to be able to determine your motivation for change.

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