Firstly a big thank you to all of the local sports clubs, fitness providers and individuals who supported us in our RED January. It was great to see so many of you taking part and sharing your journeys with us.
As we now turn to February, what do we do when the challenge is over? We thought this would be a good opportunity to look at motivation, not just to be active, but in all areas of our lives. We all lack motivation at times – things we know we should do but can’t be bothered due to being tired, overworked, lacking enthusiasm, fear of failure, stress and anxiety…the list is not exhaustive but each is an emotional response to something being unbalanced in our life.
Deep-down we may recognise some unhealthy patterns of behaviour but bringing these to the conscious and being motivated to change is more complicated. There are several theories around motivation and change but essentially motivation is what propels us forwards to do something rather than holding us back.
We look at the Cycle of Change Model (Prochaska and Di Climente, 1983) which we believe can be useful for individuals to consider and relate to their situation. The most important lesson to learn is that no change happens in just one step!
Step 1: Pre-contemplation (also referred commonly to as being “in denial”; no accepting that there is a problem or a negative behaviour pattern that needs to be addressed.
Step 2: Contemplation (this is when we realise there is something that needs to be addressed but are still in the phase of weighing-up the pros and cons of any potential changes; it is at this stage that we become more open to considering information that confirms our behaviour as detrimental. Depending on the individual, this contemplation stage can vary widely in duration and can be years in the case of more complex behaviours or patterns.
Step 3: Preparation (this is the first step towards action – perhaps you have called your GP for an appointment or have got enrolment forms for a new activity… this is the first concrete step towards making a change. Recognising and eliminating triggers and accessing resources and support)
Step 4: Action (you have made specific, noticeable changes)
Step 5: Maintenance (the change made becomes a positive behaviour that is sustainable. It can take as long as years to reach this stage)
Step 6: Relapse (this is not a linear journey and we can go around the cycle on average up to three times before succeeding. This is where you fall back into your old patterns of behaviour.)
We are not suggesting that it is as easy as this but what is important is that we recognise where we are in the cycle. Being aware of where you are will equip you better to take the necessary steps and access support to keep you on track. Also, please don’t be hard on yourself if you end up back at step 1 – relapse is common and you shouldn’t be defeated. Acknowledging that it can take several attempts to realise sustainable change and growth will allow you not to be so hard on yourself. View a relapse as a learning opportunity, a chance to be stronger and better equipped to move towards your goal – what did you not have in place that would have helped you?
Throughout each stage of the cycle of change you will learn something about yourself, become more self-aware and resilient and better prepare yourself for any future hurdles.
The team at West Kent Mind have certainly noticed the positive effect on our mental health and well-being from being active every day and are supporting each other to maintain this motivation going forward. We invite and encourage our readers to do the same!
For more information on our services, please visit www.westkentmind.org.uk
You can contact us at the following email addresses:
• firstname.lastname@example.org (for training in schools)
• email@example.com (for enquiries about courses for individuals or organisations)
• firstname.lastname@example.org (for general enquiries or support)
UPCOMING EVENTS & TRAINING
Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) certified courses:
• Tuesday 25th – MHFA Adult 1 Day (Tunbridge Wells)
• Wednesday 11th – MHFA Adult 1 day
• Wednesday 18th & 25th – MHFA Adult 2 Day (Tunbridge Wells)
• Monday 23rd & Friday 27th – MHFA Youth 2 day
• Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd – MHFA Adult 2 day
• Tuesday 28th – MHFA Adult 1 day
OTHER COURSES & WORKSHOPS
• Tuesday 11th February – Listening Skills Workshop
• Tuesday 25th February (for 6 consecutive weeks) – Introduction to Mindful Meditation
• Wednesday 6th May – Address Your Stress
• Tuesday 9th June (for 4 consecutive weeks) – Introduction to Counselling Skills
• Monday 29th June – Listening Skills Workshop
All courses are in Sevenoaks unless stated otherwise.