Thinking about a change? Part 2: You know you can change – the preparation stage

Once you have made up your mind to change, you are half way to reaching your goal!

The first article in this series covered the contemplation stage of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change. This is when you are just thinking about making a change. The stage that follows is called Preparation. You reach the preparation stage when you know you can change, and you create an action plan to reach your goal that includes steps that work for you.

One of the strategies to help you move out of the preparation stage toward your goal is to create your own action plan. Your action plan should have steps you want to take on the way to meeting your goal. You will want to think of solutions to the barriers you listed in the contemplation stage. Using “eating better” as a goal, here are examples of how to overcome the barriers on the list.

Barrier: No time to cook

Solution: Schedule a day when you make several healthy meals that you can freeze and eat later when you do not have time to cook.

Barrier: Costs too much

Solution: Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are an affordable option to fresh. Chose fruits and vegetables with no or low sugar and no salt added.

Barrier: Don’t know where to start

Solution: Start out small and build your collection of healthy recipes. Try making your old favorite recipes in healthier ways, such as trimming fat from meats, using low-fat dairy and adding vegetables to your favorite casserole.

Ask others for help as you make your action plan. If your goal is “eating better,” ask family and friends who you think are healthy cooks for advice. There are numerous resources available to help you make a change. Michigan State University Extension has information on a wide variety of topics that will help you make your plan and move to the next stage of change: Action.

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