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19 JAN
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The 5 Stages to Resolution Success

If you’re reading this there is a high chance you have joined millions of people who have made a new years resolution that is fitness related and there is a high chance that only 1 in every 10 people will stick to it! In this months Men's Health (Jan-Feb) P4 Virtual Trainer's very own Dylan Jones explains how to manoeuvre through the stages of making positive change, written by top fitness journalistTom Banham. If your struggling then read on, it might just get you through this tricky time if you have just started OR encourage you if you're still trying to convince yourself it's a good idea.    

 

Behind the scenes with Dylan Jones.

 

When Tom Banham approached us at P4 to give commentary for January's Devil's Advocate feature, I was overjoyed as this section of Men's Health magazine regularly covers some refreshing angles on health & fitness related topics. Tom had the idea, offering a unique and totally non stereotypical piece on when to approach exercise, after making that infamous fitness driven new years resolution and what to do to make sure you reach success. I based my views and input on the Transtheoretical model studies (J. O. Prochaska), 5 stages in human behaviour, which relate to readiness to act on a new, healthier lifestyle. This theory provides us with some structure and understanding as to why some people manage to follow through with their desire to become more healthy and many do not. The stages are as follows;

 

Stage 1: Pre-contemplation (Not Ready) 

 

There is no getting through to this person, they know better... In fact they get quite defensive when they find themselves in the same room and someone is talking about how good their nutrition has become or how much they are enjoying their new training regime. Its a very difficult stage to emerge from and can't be convinced otherwise. However, it’s common that discovering some shocking news from the doctor about a condition or having someone close who is suffering from an illness, or perhaps even a big event landing them on the centre stage, like a wedding or a new love interest can successfully pull them out of this stage.  

 

Stage 2: Contemplation (Getting Ready)

 

Still indifferent but starting to show more of an interest. At this stage the person may start to ask questions like 'How do you manage to find time in your day to go to the gym?' or 'what’s it like not eating chocolate when you want to?'. They develop a natural attraction to health & fitness magazines and blogs fantasising about being one of those people in the pictures with a super fit body, running down the beach. This is what eventually switches the light on, that this could actually work for them, but still the thought of going to a gym seems like the very last thing they want to do! This is where a lot of mistakes are made, by jumping ahead too quickly and forcing the process (sound familiar?) missing out on the vital acclimatisation during the preparation phase - As they say “failing to prepare is preparing to fail!"

 

Stage 3: Preparation (Ready)

  

This is the stage of no return. Digging out that old sports kit and running shoes which were bought years ago when being talked into getting fit by a friend, but never actually seeing it through. This time it feels different. Gathering as much information as possible as they attempt to absorb every exercise routine on You Tube, visualising how good they are going to feel when then drop those extra pounds and tone up that mid rift. This is a good time to write a plan of action and start adding a little extra activity into the week. Be warned though, too much too soon can have adverse effects and set you back so try starting with a very simple programme at home or simply walk around the park and gradually build it up until you’re committing to 20-30 minutes each session. If you’re unsure of what to do then sign up for a programme with an online personal trainer who can talk to you about your goals and give you exercises that will compliment your body and prepare you for more intensive workouts without breaking the bank….or your back! 

 

Stage 4: Action

 

Finally, the time has come and if the preparation has been done correctly this person will already have a good idea about when to train, what to do and how to do it, and will hit the ground running instead of feeling like an alien from out of space in their new chosen environment. Setting short term goals that are measurable and achievable is defiantly the way forward, with little rewards along the way. This does not have to be only exercise related but can be based on lifestyle incentives such as increasing the amount of rest as this also plays a huge part in how you look and feel. 

 

Stage 5: Maintenance

 

The hardest stage by far and one of the highest rates of dropout. Goals have been reached and you look and feel your best so you kick back and start to relax! It takes motivation and a lot of discipline to stay in this phase and keep it up with the drive and determination you had several months ago. It’s important to reward yourself and take the foot off the gas slightly but don’t fall into a false sense of security, as you may end up back where you started. Instead periodise your program in such a way that you are not always hitting it hard. Continue to set goals and sign up to a something you have never done before like a hill walking event or a swimathon just to keep it fresh.  Never try to stay at your peak, allow yourself a buffer so that you can go to outside of the time you want to be totally ripped without loosing it all. This will not only help you mentally stay in the game, but will also keep you motivated, focused and have goals to work towards. 

 

By understanding these 5 stages, it is possible to place where you are in the cycle and ensure that a natural and progressive approach is taken. Rushing into it can cause relapse and a higher chance of failure.  Don’t beat yourself up, think about what you want to do before you set out and then plan accordingly, ensuring you have the right programme for your experience, body type and goals. Avoid fad diets, lotions and potions which will promise you unrealistic results. Just stick with it and feel good knowing that you are doing something for yourself that will make you feel like a better human again.  

 

 Article in this months Men's Health 

 

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If you are stuck on any of these stages and need any help or with a personalised programme, then please email me dylan@p4virtualtrainer.com and me or any of the P4 Team will be happy to get you on track.  

 

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P4 Team
The P4 Team collectively, is a group of highly skilled health & fitness experts equipped with the knowledge and experience to get the very best out of their clients by going that extra mile to ensure the highest level of service is reached with satisfaction guaranteed.

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