The stages of change model helps us better understand the process of behavior change. It breaks down the different stages someone goes through when experiencing change.


Pre-contemplation

During the pre-contemplation stage, people are not yet thinking about change and are not seeking help. During this stage, they might defend their behavior and not see it as negative or harmful.

In the pre-contemplation stage, they are less likely to discuss their problems with others or focus their attention on looking for solutions.


Contemplation

During the contemplation stage, they become aware of the consequences that affect their lives and that of those they love. Even though they are thinking about ways of modifying their behavior, they may not be ready just yet.


Preparation

During the preparation stage, they realize they can change and start to prepare. They gather information, look for advice from professionals, and talk to friends or relatives about wanting to change.


Action

During this phase, they understand they have the will and ability to change their behavior and take action. They use the skills learned during the preparation stage to cultivate a new lifestyle, one that supports change. 

The amount of time people spend in this stage varies. Some people might spend six months in the action phase, while others are in this stage for only a number of days.


Maintenance

In this stage, they work to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Once they enter the maintenance phase, they focus on what’s important to them and how to move towards positive goals.