How do we persevere in the midst of trials and tribulations? How do we maintain a sense of balance in the midst of chaos? Perceived trials and tribulations can come in all forms and range from child birth, illness, marriage, death, divorce, attending college, starting a new job, transitioning careers, to empty nesting. At times, we are pushed into the journey of change. Each transition has its own set of emotions and behaviors, which serve to create a process of shifting and developing a new norm.
The famous philosopher Francois Bacon stated, “knowledge is power,” therefore, understanding that change is a process that has recognizable stages helps us navigate the journey of shifting challenge into positive outcomes.
There are 5 Stages of Change (Prochaska & DiClemente):
Pre-contemplation – If you are in the pre-contemplation stage, you will not recognize any need for change. Other people may express concern, but you will deny that a problem exists and most likely will defend your actions. Though someone raises your awareness of the problem, you likely will choose to not shift.
Contemplation – In this stage, you are aware of the need for change, in process of evaluating the pros and cons of prevailing behavior and assessing your readiness to adapt to new paradigms of belief and behavior. This stage can be short or last for an extended amount of time, depending on the individual.
Preparation – A commitment has been made. In this stage, a plan is created by identifying specifics of change, including clear goals, plan of action and ways to measure progress. Make sure your plan is solid to encourage a steady course, as well as alternatives for mishaps.
Action- At this stage, implementing your plan truly begins your journey. Your concrete plan is set into action. This stage draws on your strength to risk, dive in and follow through. It is bolstered when beliefs, thoughts, and actions align.
Maintenance – During this stage, it is important to be creative and flexible to problem solve as needed to remain on the journey. Loving self-discipline is essential. Embrace challenges, seeing the opportunity for transformation, as well as victories, big and small. Ultimately, creating and implementing new and different skills will keep you on course.
Know that failure may occur, however it is at those times where we have the opportunity to re-create the plan, seek wisdom from others, pull on our internal and external guides, and identify new coping skills. At times, we all feel like giving up, however, it is perseverance that will keep us on the journey. The following tools can be helpful to maintain the energy of perseverance:
Remembering the end goal
Thinking of who will benefit from our growth
Honoring those who’ve paved the way for our success
Learn more about the author of this post: Kanosha Leonard, LCPC