Why is it so hard to make changes? The intentions are there, but the idea of giving up something or starting something new seems daunting and basically takes too much effort. We really want to improve ourselves or stop bad habits ruining our way forward, but this seems to remove us from our comfort zone. So we believe we can be happier staying put! You will be pleased to know that this is in fact natural human behaviour towards change. Even the most dedicated and focused athletes have to contemplate and plan for any changes made to their current programmes or regimes. There are five stages to successful behavioural change that we all have to go through before we can state we have achieved a complete habit change.


This stage is where there is no intention of change. We are unaware of any issues or problems that we need to deal with or change. Possibly, at this point we are in a state of denial


This is the stage where we are aware there is a problem or issue and intend to tackle it at some point, but have not yet made any commitment to do so. This is where we have decided we need to lose weight, start an exercise programme or spend less time on social media but not quite willing to change our diet, book an exercise class or dedicate certain times of the day to switching off our tech.

The Preparation Stage

This is the stage where we start gathering information and plan any changes we want to implement into our routine. This is the most important stage. If this stage is skipped, we are likely to regress to the previous stage. Behavioural change requires forethought and classification to succeed.


This is the stage where we implement the plans and information gathered in the preparation stage and start to modify our behavioural patterns. This requires a considerable amount of thought, time and energy to put into action


This is the stage where we have changed our behavioural patterns and work at continuing our reformed changes without relapse. For addictive behaviours this can be the hardest part of our journey and needs constant reviews.

Implementing Change

As you can see, behavioural change is not as easy as it first appears. Many bad habits that we have acquired over the years are hard to break. It takes these stages of accepting change, information gathering, planning, action and finally maintenance.

The best way to tackle any major change is to make small changes, just one step at a time. We have a tendency to undertake a big 'overhaul' and this leads to possible failure. When making any plan you have to take all aspects of life into account. To achieve the "best version of yourself" you have to be realistic. You need to look at all your commitments and free time to make sure this plan will work alongside these external factors. It's no good for either your health or well-being if you plan to go to the gym every day for at least an hour, if this means you compromise your hours of sleep to achieve this. Sometimes we focus on just one aspect of our health and neglect others for example, trying to over exercise to compensate for a bad diet. I truly believe in the "one step at a time" approach to achieve a good plan and make it a success. Address the small areas of your daily life and make changes, one day at a time.

If you think about your own goals and what you want to achieve. For most of us it's a huge list and feels very daunting! Almost an impossible task. So, remember the stages of successful behavioural change.

In my example below, the goals are not doable in a short space of time, but they are all achievable. Some are more achievable than others in a shorter space of time, but all of these goals must be accomplished by taking small steps to reach this bigger picture.

1. To walk 10,000 steps everyday
2. To drink 1-2 litres of water a day
3. To completely declutter the whole house
4. To sleep restfully for 6-8 hours per night
5. To have a happy life and enjoy every day.

The changes below will help you to understand the steps needed to obtain these ultimate goals (above) and how you can implement them into your daily routine. These daily changes will then become healthy habits. This is the journey from the preparation through to the maintenance stage.

1. Add a 20 minute walk to your day. Plan your walk each day for example, after your main meal or during your lunch break or as soon as you wake up. (goal - 10,000 steps a day)

2. Drink 1 glass of water whilst you wait for your brew, or before you shower, or first thing in the morning. (goal - drink 1-2 litres of water a day)

3. Set yourself just 15 minutes a day to declutter one drawer or cupboard. (goal - declutter the whole house)

4. Practice deep breathing before you go to bed for just 5 minutes …..Take deep breaths in and out to relax. (goal - to sleep restfully for 6 - 8 hours at night)

5. Start a gratitude journal. Write down three positive things that have made you smile today. (goal - to live a happy life and enjoy each day)


To change our habitual behaviours we first have to accept we need to change, gather information and plan, take action and maintain these new healthy habits. This will help us achieve the 'bigger picture' and accomplish our own goals and personal growth.

Author's Bio: 

Catherine is a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer and founder of Healthy Forever Fitness Motivation. https://www.healthyforeverfitnessmotivation.co.uk/
Her mission is to help everyone stay active and live a healthy and happy life. Catherine promotes all things 'positive' and believes that all aspects of health can work together in harmony. A healthy body and mind, together with good nutrition will achieve optimal health