The first step in a behavior modification program is consciousness-raising. This step involves obtaining information about the problem, so you can make a better decision about the problem behavior. Consciousness-raising may continue from the precontemplation stage through the preparation stage.
Social liberation stresses external alternatives that make you aware of problem behaviors and make you begin to contemplate change. Social liberation often provides opportunities to get involved, stir up emotions, and enhance self-esteem—helping you gain confidence in your ability to change.
The next process in modifying behavior is developing a decisive desire to do so, called self-analysis. If you have no interest in changing a behavior, you won't do it. You will remain a precontemplator or a contemplator. In your self-analysis, you may want to prepare a list of reasons for continuing or discontinuing the behavior. When the reasons for changing outweigh the reasons for not changing, you are ready for the next stage—either the contemplation stage or the preparation stage.
In emotional arousal, a person experiences and expresses feelings about the problem and its solutions. Also referred to as "dramatic release," this process often involves deep emotional experiences.
Having a positive outlook means taking an optimistic approach from the beginning and believing in yourself. Designing a plan so you can work toward change can help you remain enthused about your progress. Also, you may become motivated by looking at the outcome—how much healthier you will be, how much better you will look, or how far you will be able to jog.
Upon making a decision to change, you accept the responsibility to change and believe in your ability to do so. During the commitment process, you engage in preparation and may draw up a specific plan of action.
How you determine the frequency, circumstances, and consequences of the behavior to be altered or implemented is known as behavior analysis.
Goals motivate change in behavior. The stronger the goal or desire, the more motivated you'll be either to change unwanted behaviors or to implement new, healthy behaviors.
During the process of self-reevaluation, individuals analyze their feelings about a problem behavior. The pros and cons or advantages and disadvantages of a certain behavior can be reevaluated at this time. You also might visualize what it would be like if you were successful at changing.
The process whereby you substitute healthy behaviors for a problem behavior, known as countering, is critical in changing behaviors as part of the action and maintenance stages. You need to replace unhealthy behaviors with new, healthy ones.
During the action and maintenance stages, continuous behavior monitoring increases awareness of the desired outcome. Sometimes this process of monitoring is sufficient in itself to cause change.
In environment control, the person restructures the physical surroundings to avoid problem behaviors and decrease temptations.
Surrounding yourself with people who will work toward a common goal with you or those who care about you and will encourage you along the way—helping relationships—will be supportive during the action, maintenance, and termination/adoption stages.
Peer support is a strong incentive for behavioral change, so the individual should avoid people who will not be supportive.
People tend to repeat behaviors that are rewarded and to disregard those that are not rewarded or are punished. Rewarding oneself or being rewarded by others is a powerful tool during the process of change in all stages.