Don’t doubt yourself. Try to not let the doubt of others fill you either. But, are you ready for the things you want to accomplish? I’m not just talking about your health, but in general, everything you want – do you really want to put your words into action or are they just words right now?
I talk about goals a lot because I feel better and more in control when I have a goal in mind – either continuous or deadline driven. I have a mostly Type A personality meaning I like structure, but I’ve also figured out how to go with the flow and be more fluid with my methods and goals. However, not everyone is like this and that’s completely okay.
Whether you realize it or not, as you think about tomorrow, next week, next month and next year you are going through The Stages of Change Model. I first learned about this model in my psychology course last fall, since then, it’s been discussed in five out of nine of my program’s classes.
In 1979, James O. Prochaska developed a transtheoretical model of change in a study that compared 18 different therapy systems and reviewed about 300 therapy outcomes. His model categorized the systems of therapy into five processes of change. “These processes are differentiated along two dimensions.”
1. verbal and behavior categorized the change process according to application – therapy that relies of verbal interaction or behavior manipulation.
examples: feedback and awareness of a problem like smoking, education about a problem like smoking
2. experiential and environmental categorized the change process by the individual’s experience or the individual’s surrounding environment
examples: finding new coping mechanisms instead of smoking, removing triggers like ashtrays and cigarettes
In 1982, Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente worked together using Prochaska’s model to examine self-change and therapy change in smoking behavior. Their study was titled: Self-Change and Therapy Change of Smoking Behavior: A Comparison of Processes of Change in Cessation and Maintenance. It was published in Addictive Behaviors volume 7 that year.
The sample was small, but there was a mix of gender (29 males to 34 females). Smokers who quit on their own (n=29) were compared with two different groups of smokers: an aversion group (n=18) and a behavioral-management group (n= 16). The sample was random with self-quitting participants recruited through various methods like fliers, advertisements and newspaper – remember, this is 1982. Participants from the two therapy groups were recruited randomly as well through fliers handed out after meetings.
Within seven weeks of quitting all subjects were given a change-process questionnaire verbally with all responses recorded on tape. They also answered a variety of smoking history and demographic questions. They were told they would be interviewed a second time within six months.
From these responses, Prochaska and DiClemente looked six verbal and four behavior process of change, and three stages of change (decision to change, active change and maintenance).
Here’s what they found:
1. Attempts to quit among the three groups were similar, gender didn’t necessarily make a significant difference among the three groups either.
2. The group that did see signification differences (p < .01) were from the behavioral-management group. These participants were older with an average age of 42, the age range varying from 30.4 years to 53.6 years. They smoked for a longer time than the other two groups with a mean of 25 years and a years-as-a-smoker range from 14 years to 36 years. These participants were more invested in quitting this time.
When looking at the different processes of change they found:
1. Individuals who quit on their own rated feedback, stimulus control and social management as less important than the other two groups.
2. All three groups rates self-liberation as quite important, however, the aversion group said it was more important than the other two groups.
3. The behavioral-management group rated counterconditioning as more important than the other two groups.
During the follow up they found:
1. Two-thirds of all subjects remained abstainers.
2. There were no differences in proportion of successes and relapses for all groups. Looking at the variables such as age, education, occupation, years smoking, etc. didn’t have any significance.
When speaking to participants who relapsed:
1. They struggled to find other coping mechanisms to deal with personal problems like consistency with exercises or health-related physical activity.
2. Some said they believed the habit was under control even with the relapse.
3. Some said they missed the habit.
Prochaska and DiClemente conducted new study a few years later where they used a sample of 872 smokers. This study was an extension of the first.
This model of behavior change is taught in all areas of the health field from psychology to sociology to nursing and public health. While I don’t blatantly tell my clients they are going through this model when we have our screening, I assess them with this model.
Many who talk with me are usually past precontemplation and contemplation – they’re ready for action, however, some are still determining the right course of action. It’s not about how bad they want change, it’s about being ready for change and finding the right way to go about making changes to their lifestyle.
There are some cases where a client and I will discuss their goals and I’ll say, I think these are great, but be aware that it’s possible that they may change, that you may realize there are other things that will assist with these goals that may become more important for the time being. This isn’t too discourage them, but to let them know that I’m acknowledging that goals can change and that as their coach, I think it’s okay. An example may be the client who says they want to lose weight, but doesn’t realize that they have a poor relationship with food. The goal eventually will be weight loss, but for the moment it’s about working on building a better relationship with food so it’s not used as a coping mechanism or so that they don’t restrict themselves and feel incapable of adhering to their nutrition goals. We will work on stress management, meal planning, meal creation and setting micro-goals that work towards a healthy lifestyle that assists weight loss for eventual weight loss over time.
It’s completely okay to not be ready for a goal, it’s also completely okay to change your immediate goals in order to work towards the bigger picture.
When we think about our goals and what we want out of life, what direction we want to take, we also need to look at the driving force behind it. I always ask my clients why their goals are their goals. The responses have ranged from “I want to be able to get on the floor with my kids” to “I want to be stronger”. There are also some who say they want to lose weight because they believe they will be happier or feel better when they have. I have said to them that size doesn’t equate happiness, but if being a healthier smaller size means that they will be more outgoing and their mental well being will improve – then yes, it’s reasonable to say that you believe you may be happier when you’ve lost weight.
But for all clients, regardless of their reasoning behind their goals, I ask them to dig deeper to make sure that their goals are truly something they want.
Living a healthy lifestyle is more than the time that it takes to lose weight. It’s more than the time it takes to learn to allow freedom and flexibility. It’s about building lasting habits and truly implementing and learning positive behaviors.
Now, that’s not to say that you won’t ever “mess up”, you won’t ever not want to eat off plan,. It’s human to have set backs. It’s human to take a break. It’s crazy to think that every day has to be perfectly lived towards these goals. I don’t believe that’s realistic, but it’s about small behaviors that add up over time that make meaningful change.
I challenge myself often to remind myself why I’m back in school, why I’m coaching, what health means for me in this moment. I want you to think about your why’s, your life, your plan – are you ready? Do you have the support around you? Do you truly support yourself to make the changes necessary to accomplish whatever it is you want to?
I hope you can see the greatness inside you. There’s nothing more rewarding than the light bulb going off when something finally clicks for a client or they start seeing the greatness I see in them.
I wish for you empowerment in the New Year. I wish for you that you allow yourself time as you start to figure out your next steps. Don’t rush – good things can come slowly, we just need to learn to be patient.
My schedule this fall is pretty steady because I know which days are busy and which days I have down time. The days I have down time vary in what they’re filled with, but are pretty spread out. Tuesdays are pretty light: I eat, I workout, I do homework and sometimes when my Wednesday client can’t talk on Wednesday, we talk on Tuesday.
Last Tuesday, I had a pretty light day and while it’s nice to not have to be “go-go” all the time, the down fall of being a “go-go” person is that you can’t decide what to do with yourself when you do have down time.
I thought I would go out and read with a cup of coffee, but I didn’t really want to spend the money on coffee knowing we have a solid collection in the pantry. I figured I just wanted to get outside, it didn’t necessarily need to be physically out near other people. So I went for a run outside and looped the area.
Later in the day I still wanted a drink, but I didn’t want to go out for it. After some searching on Pinterest and knowing what I do about lattes, I made one for myself at home on the stove.
So if you have about 10 minutes and don’t want to leave the house this fall, or worse, get snowed in this winter – this may be a fun pick-me-up. It’ll also save you some money and calories as we head into pumpkin, maple, gingerbread season!
Here’s some variations we’ve tried and how to make them.
Blueberry Caramel Latte
This was the first one I made to see if I could even make these stove top. I looked at a few recipes and played with the ratios, so here’s what worked.
What you’ll need
- Blueberry coffee
- Caramel topping
- Milk or milk alternative
- Small pot
- Brew your coffee a little stronger than normal. I filled my coffee pot to the 4 cup line and used 1/4 cup of grounds.
- While your coffee is brewing measure out 2/3 cup of milk or milk alternative and warm up on stove top using low to medium heat. I used unsweetened cashew milk for my milk because that’s what I had on hand.
- While the milk is warming up whisk in 2 teaspoons of caramel sauce.
- When milk is up to temperature add half of the coffee and whisk together.
- Pour in your favorite mug, top with whip cream if you want and drink.
Nutrition for Blueberry Caramel Latte: 1.5f | 13c | 1p or 70 calories
*nutrition varies based on milk/alternative and flavor add-ins
Hazelnut and Honey: Substitute blueberry coffee for hazelnut and caramel topping for 1tsp of honey.
Pumpkin Spice: Substitute flavored grounds for unflavored, cinnamon or pumpkin and use pumpkin pie spice blend to taste, 2T of canned pureed pumpkin and either 1tsp honey or caramel sauce.
I’m still playing with combinations, but check out Pinterest for other ideas!
The fall semester starts in 9 days.
I’m feeling excited. I’m feeling anxious. I’m feeling relieved.
I’m excited about the fall because it means more flexibility. I know there are people who think this is a piece of cake, but remember the grass always seems greener on the other side – there are still things that aren’t all sunshine and daisies. I have a good balance of everything that is important: work, school, boyfriend and myself – not necessarily in that order and not always in the same order.
One thing that is hard for me is to sit still. I know I need to relax and give myself a break, but it’s really hard. I thrive on structure and being busy. This year has been a damn rollercoaster and it’s the most time I’ve ever had to myself.
While summer classes were very busy and left little wiggle room, since finishing them at the beginning of August, I have found myself with time to slow down if I choose too. That has been quite the challenge.
I think about the summer and my mind races – I don’t know where to start. This isn’t what I expected my summer to be, but that doesn’t mean it was bad.
I ate more than I intended, but I don’t really regret it. Yeah, I had days where I will look at JP and poke myself, but really, this was the first time I wasn’t saying ‘no’ or pushing back. I probably should’ve said no more than I did, but I’m moving on and you should too.
I’ve said before that you can a lot about a person through how they write during certain times. When it’s been rough it reflects in my writing, when it’s getting better it also reflects.
I look back at June 17th and a reread that post – found here. I agree with that Cristina. I shake my head with her because I still feel parts of her. The parts that are in disbelief that I ended up here, but sometimes I don’t even know where here is. I know that sounds confusing, but I think some of you can relate.
Sometimes when I think about my future I see one thing, but the reality becomes another. Each day brings something new and we should embrace it. Embrace the risk and see what happens – that’s the hippy side of my thinking. The other side of it is calculated, like, yes, of course you ended up here and if you turn this way you can take this path and if you turn this other way there’s another path. This summer I became better at blending these two thoughts. I don’t always need to be calculated and sometimes it’s just not going to happen.
Thinking about what I wrote in regard to balance in June – that Cristina needed a nap and a cup of tea, but she was trying her best. If only she knew what was in store during the cross city move. However, July was better and August even better as I crashed then got back up and found some kind of routine that I could make sense of. For the past five weeks I’ve had a solid workout schedule that makes me feel like I’m balancing fitness Cristina with all the other Cristina’s. We still have breakfast together, but on Sunday’s I lift while he stays in bed, however, he’s been going running while I go to the gym. On week days, I go to the gym when he leaves for work, so I have about an hour for my meals to settle – I’m not a fan of lifting on a full stomach, I definitely prefer fasted like I do on Sunday’s, but that’s just my preference.
Adding yoga a week and a half ago was a really good idea because I’m already feeling a difference in my back, so I’m alternating it with my lifting and running – still taking a rest day somewhere in the week…wherever it makes sense for that week.
I believe in bagels – you can read about that here. I believe in working hard for what you want. I believe in jumping and taking risks. I believe in making minimal excuses and breaking down barriers. I also believe that my grind is going to look different than the person beside me. It won’t always be understood and that’s ok.
I wrote less this summer because I didn’t feel I needed it like I have in the past. That is a risk for me. That is new. I’ve connected in other ways that were just, if not more, meaningful. However, it made me uncomfortable to feel like I couldn’t share my day. If you meet me in person, I won’t talk much until I am comfortable with you and then it’s going to be late nights with liter and a half bottles of wine. I think that’s what happened. I was so comfortable talking to a screen, forgetting that people are on the other side. This summer I relearned how to communicate in a way that I felt was safe. That meant more journaling and letting experience happen with maybe a photo or two to capture it. Below are some photos from this summer.
I’m taking my bagel philosophy and charging full on into September. We might not talk like we used to, but I can’t wait to take you with me.