All of those frustrating moments, reoccurring fights and nagging feelings are trying to tell you something. That is your subconscious trying to break through to you. An executive coach I know uses the analogy of trying to drive a car when the alignment is off. If you take your hands off the wheel for only a moment, your car will pull to one side or the other. You have to really steer hard to keep going straight. The minute you start to relax your grip on the wheel, the alignment error starts messing with your lane choice.
This is what its like when your conscious life (job, family, day to day activities) isn’t lined up with what you really want, in your subconscious. The alignment is your subconscious and the car/wheel is your conscious mind. Where does your mind go when you daydream? When you get frustrated, where do you wish you were? You might start to fleetingly question things ... Gee, should I be drinking this much? Or, am I an emotional eater? Wait, did I pick that fight, or did he?
The 6 stages are:
1. Pre-contemplation (not ready)
2. Contemplation (getting ready)
3. Preparation (ready)
4. Action (doing it)
5. Maintenance (active and have strategies against relapse)
As a personal counsellor and coach, I often see how contemplation is the stage where a lot of people get stuck. They sort of know where they want to go and can visualize themselves achieving their goals. They sometimes even already know the steps they need to take to get there. But it just isn’t happening.
Why is this?
Interestingly, there is a growing body of research that blames the growing ‘positive psychology’ movement … if we think happy thoughts, change our negative self-talk, then we can think ourselves into a better life, right? Apparently not. A game plan, and someone to hold you accountable, is in fact necessary (Oettingen, 2014). It’s critical to plan for all the obstacles that might potentially spring up in your path, and know how you might overcome them. There are recent studies demonstrating different techniques proven useful in moving people past contemplation to action – achieving the goals they want to achieve (Houssais, 2013).
Positive psychology is important and can contribute to a sense of positive well-being and self-efficacy. But if you are stuck, and wondering what more you can do to make it happen, reach out! You might do well with the support of family and friends. If you’ve already tried that and it hasn’t worked, reach out again. You can definitely get there and it might be time to set up your own personal Dream Team. Think about it.
Malotte, C. K., Jarvis, B., Fishbein, M., Kamb, M., Iatesta, M., Hoxworth, T., & ... Bolan, G. (2000). Stage of change versus an integrated psychosocial theory as a basis for developing. AIDS Care, 12(3), 357.
Oettingen, G. (24 Oct, 2014). The Problem with Positive Thinking. NY Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/opinion/sunday/the-problem-with-positive-thinking.html?_r=0
Houssais, S. D. (2013). Using mental contrasting with implementation intentions to self-regulate insecurity-based behaviors in relationships. Motivation & Emotion, 37(2), 224-233.