Mental Fitness Challenge – Changes

Change. Some of us can’t wait to take it on and others run from it. I view myself as a person who enjoys change, but when it comes to creating new habits, I tend to resist it.

We know exercise is good for our bodies, but do we do it? We understand that bad habits increase in intensity as we age, but do we change them? Eating lots of veggies and fruits is still a great idea, but isn’t always the immediate choice.

I recently rediscovered an old issue of The Journal on Active Aging (Dec 2003) entitled “Keys to behavioral change.” Specifically, this article deals with the stages of change model. (Next blogs will address the specific areas of brain health.)

The model’s premise is that we need to move through five stages of readiness before we make a behavioral change. Let’s say you want to increase your physical activity. The model might look like this:

  1. Pre-contemplation (not even thinking about making a change)
  2. Contemplation (starting to think, “Maybe I need to increase my exercise”)
  3. Preparation (You’re taking a walk or lifting weights irregularly)
  4. Action (You’re consistently exercising, but have been doing so less than six months)
  5. Maintenance (You’ve maintained your new habit for six or more months. It’s not a struggle to keep up your new routine.)

So start “not thinking” of the five areas of brain health and where you want to focus—physical, social, mental, nutritional and spiritual.

Kari Berit

Categories: Caregiving Resources, Mental Health

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