Prochaska’s Transtheoretical Model of Change

Some of you may have heard of Prochaska and his model of change somewhere in your travels. What follows is a refresher of his his model or in some cases a fist presentation.

Prochaska contends that change follows a several step model of change that is essentially the same for everyone! He explains that you start at Precontemplation. This is when you are not even aware you have a problem. You are actually in denial that anything is wrong. You are eating away at your favorite buffet and eating everything your heart desires, without a care in the world. In fact you go back for seconds and heaven forbid thirds! Oh my! Your belly is sagging and your back hurts, and you have ongoing gas and bloating after you eat. I wonder why! That’s Precontemplation.

Contemplation is when you are seriously questioning whether or not you would like to make a change. During contemplation you may be weighing the pros and cons related to create the change you are considering. So you are considering the trade offs. What do you have to give up to get what you want and is it worth it in the end. So here you might consider is it worth it to give up sundaes, cupcakes and Chinese almond cookies, along with French fries and chicken wings, not to mention chocolate chip pancakes smothered in maple syrup or eggs Benedict and hash browns, in order to feel better or sport that new figure on the beach, and spare yourself diseases associated with our preferred food regimen such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and auto-immune disorders to name a few.

Preparation is the stage in which you are actively getting ready to engage in new behaviors to lead to a new result. So you are going to plan on what combination of exercise and diet you will pursue to effect change and build a body that you prefer as compared to what you already have. In this phase, you might be clearing out your pantry and your refrigerator. You might create meal plans for the week and you may be researching several of the numerous dieting options out there, in order to select the one you plan to pursue. You may even go out and purchase a new pair of tennis shoes, a new work out outfit or a new bathing suit. You might even purchase a membership to a new sports club.

Action is the stage in which you actually begin to set the plan in motion. Once in the action stage, daily you are engaging in new behaviors designed to help you reach your ultimate goal over time. In this stage, you may grocery shop in a new way. You might, for example, choose to shop the perimeter of the store and forgo what’s in the middle. You might check over your cart before heading over to the cashier. When you recheck your cart, you can remove those items that are not in line with your new diet plan. You may weigh yourself to get a baseline weight. You may bake your chicken, instead of frying it. You may eat berries, instead of more traditional and fattening desserts. You may serve yourself on smaller plates. You might intentionally push yourself away from the table, before you even feel full, knowing your brain takes time to process your food and send out signals of satiety or fullness.

In the maintenance stage of change, you are cruising along without much difficulty in maintaining the changes. However, you are still at risk for relapse.

Once you hit termination, the changes you have made have become ingrained habits and are truly second nature. You are no longer craving foods you once ate religiously, and might in fact find your new way of eating preferable to your old habits which got you into quite a bit of trouble. At termination, you no longer need a cheerleader at your side urging you to make the best choice. You make the decision effectively without deliberation and are comfortable with your new normal which is really now just becoming old hat. Wouldn’t you just give about anything to be at termination regarding the change that is knocking on your brain right now? I know I would.

Where are you regarding creating positive changes in your life?


Do you think you could reach goals faster, quicker and with less stress, if you hired a health coach to work with you? Of course, reaching your goal faster, quicker and with less stress can’t be guaranteed, but that is generally the idea behind coaching. Many can reach their goals more efficiently with coaching, than if they go it alone.

Adding a coach to the mix might be the new ingredient that might make this attempt different from the rest. Perhaps by being accountable to someone else, you just might do a better job sticking to your promises and thereby reach that goal you so desire. Do you think it’s worth a try? Only you know for sure! You are the expert on you. If you are one of the ones that feels it’s time to ramp up your efforts and hire a coach, you can reach me to schedule an initial session through Contact Lisa.



Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
The Wellness Coach at Building Better Bodies Rocks
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

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