Stages And Phases Of Change
So far, I have covered both the first and second stages and phases of change. Today I am talking about the third stage and phase of effective change processes.
Stage 3 is Conscious Knowing.
At this stage, you now know what you need to do. You are no longer unconscious, and no longer unknowing. You are aware of the need for change and you have learned what you need to do to create it in your life. So it is time to do it!
Phase 3 is Integration / Incorporation.
In this phase, you practice, practice, practice what you have learned – in a conscious way. It will start out being a little uncomfortable. You have to remember to do what you have learned, to keep practicing it, and sometimes you will forget. But as you move through this phase, those lapses become fewer and fewer as your new habits become more comfortable and ingrained.
Essentially, you are integrating what you have learned into your life, ensuring that instead of a temporary “new” thing to do, this becomes the foundation for the next stage of your life.
This is one of the most difficult phases in a change process. Many people undertake change, like going on a diet, thinking that the changes they are making are temporary. That they only need to practice these new skills and behaviors until they achieve their goal. And then they can go back to the way things were before. But it doesn’t work like that.
There is no going back to where you started.
Instead, you fall back to Stage 3 where you still know what you need to do, but you just aren’t doing it any more.
In order to successfully complete a change process, you need to complete Phase 3. You need to fully integrate and incorporate your new skills and behaviors into your life. This becomes your new norm, your new foundation for moving forward.
If you don’t do that, then you will find yourself in a perpetual cycle – moving through Phase 3 but not completing it, then falling back to Stage 3 – being at a place of Conscious Knowing but without actually integrating and incorporating the change into your life. It is a particularly frustrating cycle because you are awake and aware of what is happening. And yet some people can’t seem to stop themselves. I’ve been there. I know what that is like. Not only does it suck, it is majorly depressing. It makes you wonder if you’re ever going to really succeed.
What is the secret to arriving at the fourth and final stage and successfully changing your life? Read my next post to find out.
To quickly summarize everything to date:
Stage 1 – Unconscious Unknowing; Phase 1 – Initiation / Awakening
Stage 2 – Conscious Unknowing; Phase 2 – Transition / Action / Learning
Stage 3 – Conscious Knowing; Phase 3 – Integration / Incorporation