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  • Writer's pictureHunter Heath

Readiness for Change

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

based on the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change

The Stages of Change Model gives a breakdown of the steps a person would normally go through when they’re making efforts to create positive change in their life. Usually, an individual will go through this series of steps from beginning to end but that doesn't mean that they will only move in one direction. There can be times when a person may revert back to a previous stage or be unaware of their shift from one stage to the next. Understanding the differences between each stage and how they relate to your personal journey may be critical in building out a strategy that promotes your success and ensures you can maintain your desired changes long term.

The 6 Stages of Change

Precontemplation - At this stage, there is no intention for a person to change their behavior or situation. It’s usually because they are unaware or in denial of the fact that they have a problem or issue that needs to be corrected.

Contemplation - In the next stage, a person may finally admit they have a situation that needs to be improved or changed. This is the stage when a person spends their time thinking about the ways they’d like to improve and reach their goals.

Preparation - During Preparation, a person will be making official plans to create their desired change. This can include self-education, planning, and researching available resources that can help them to succeed.

Action - During this stage, the individual is putting their knowledge, plans, and resources into action to achieve the desired outcome. This step usually involves the highest degrees of motivation and perseverance. Some people may find themselves moving back and forth through the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stages of change depending on their ability to progress, succeed, and alter course when they fall short of their expectations.

Maintenance - The Maintenance stage can be a long and ongoing process to carry on the results, improvements, and changes made as a result of the action stage. Requires “active alertness”

Termination - Termination can be seen as the final stage and would be reached once the desired change has been achieved and sustained to the point that no more effort or action is required. There may be some changes that can never be terminated but require maintenance indefinitely such as drug addiction or alcoholism and could be seen as a Lapse Stage.


Zimmerman, Gretchen L., et al. “A 'Stages of Change' Approach To Helping Patients Change Behavior.” American Family Physician, 1 Mar. 2000,

“Organizational Readiness To Change Assessment (ORCA) Tool.” NCCMT,

“Readiness For Change.” Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing,

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