How do you change unhealthy habits and behaviors? BOOK REVIEW

Want to eat healthy, exercise, quit smoking, cut down on drinking, or stop popping pills? Learn how “Changing to Thrive” can help you identify your current Stage of Change and how you can move forward at your own pace to increase happiness. More here in our book review.

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Ever thought of changing a behavior (or several behaviors) but seem stuck? Don’t know how to move to the next level? Well, here’s a book that can help!

Changing to Thrive: Using the Stages of Change to Overcome the Top Threats to Your Health and Happiness” by authors James O. Prochaska, PhD, and Janice M. Prochaska, PhD, is written to help you! With the help of this book, you can steer your will and readiness to change through the six-stage process.

Continue reading our review of the book and how it can help people in addiction recovery. At the end, feel free to send us your questions and we will try to respond personally and promptly.

What is the Change Model?

Studies of change have found that we tend to move through a series of stages when modifying our behavior. Of course, we all differ at the amount of time we stay in each stage, but the tasks required to move to the next stage do not vary.

There are six (6) Stages of Change:

  • Precontemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance
  • Termination

“Changing to Thrive” will help you learn more about each of these stages in depth. This book can also assist you in identifying the stage you are in at the moment, and provide you with the needed knowledge, skills, and tools to move through the remaining stages. The goal of the book is to show that you have the power within to change and improve yourself emotionally, physically and socially.

Changing to Thrive: The 6 stages of change

From Precontemplation to Contemplation

  • Do you want to stop drinking?
  • Do you want to quit smoking?
  • Are you looking to cut back on some prescription pills?

First, you need to know a little bit about what you’re about to go through. As this book teaches, there are three (3) types of precontemplators that can get in the way.

1. Don’t know how – It isn’t necessarily that you can’t see the solution to the problem or behavior that needs to change. It is more likely that you can’t see the problem in the first place.

2. Demoralized – You feel the situation is hopeless and there is nothing you can do to change it.

3. Defending your habits – You try to justify your actions or place the responsibility for your problem behavior on factors such as genetic makeup, family, society, destiny, etc.

With the help of “Changing to Thrive” you can learn how to recognize the lingering problems that can be changed, and what needs to be done to transform defending or ignoring into coping. The actions that you take will take you from Precontemplation to Contemplation.

From Contemplation to Preparation

Do you too struggle to understand your problems, and wonder about possible solutions? Maybe you tell yourself that some day you are going to take matters into your own hands and work on the change you want in your life? If you answer YES, this book can help you move to the Preparation stage.

From Preparation to Action

In the chapters of this book you will be taken through some real and practical examples of how others who were willing to change but were feeling stuck, or were just not feeling ready yet, finally made a change and moved to the Action stage.

However, you see, the change you want is never done in the Action stage. Instead, change really comes in the MAINTENANCE stage. Without a strong commitment and motivation to maintain the newly adopted behavior, there is usually a relapse (most likely to precontemplation or contemplation stage).

Maintenance and Termination

Maintenance is one of the most controversial stages of the Change Model…but it’s a crucial one. In this book, the authors weren’t afraid to ask some important and generally divisive questions, such as:

  • “Is maintenance for long-term but not for life?”
  • “Is termination the ultimate goal?”
  • “Is it better to be ‘in recovery’ or ‘recovered’?”

Many professionals believe that in order to be effective, maintenance needs to last a lifetime, or otherwise the person is at risk of relapse. Others believe that maintenance should last long-term, but not forever. They partly measure the maintenance period by time – when you can maintain a behavior for five years and more without relapsing.

“Changing to Thrive” also covers relapse as a normal occurrence on the spiral-shaped path towards change. Thus, it is normal to revisit certain behaviors and “recycle” as you incorporate new everyday activities into your lifestyle.

Who can benefit from reading “Changing to Thrive”?

Anyone who wants to change!

“Changing to Thrive” cover a series of twelve (12) principles of progress, and guides you through all stages from Precontemplation to Termination. You will also find useful tips and exercises in the form of questionnaires that can teach you how to:

  • deal with unhealthy habits
  • develop healthy and helping social networks
  • evaluate and strengthen your commitment to change
  • foster positive relationships
  • lessen, prevent, and deal with stress
  • open yourself to a fuller and happier self
  • practice self-liberation and increase personal freedom
  • relax
    …and much more.

So, whether you are in denial about a harmful behavior, aware of the problem and you want to change it but don’t know how to start, or you have taken action and want to maintain the newly adopted habit…”Changing to Thrive” can help you in any time and period.

Most importantly, the same principles can apply to multiple behaviors; From smoking, alcohol dependence, poor weight management, hard drugs addiction, too little exercise, stinkin’ thinking, and much more.

Why we like “Changing to Thrive”?

You can view “Changing to Thrive – Using the Stages of Change to Overcome the Top Threats to Your Health and Happiness” as your guide to change regardless of whether you are not ready yet, getting ready, or ready to take action.

Most importantly, this book gets you motivated and shows you the work you need to do in order to progress in your desired direction. The knowledge shared in “Changing to Thrive” can be applied to all situations in life where you feel that your behavior needs to change.

You can also return to this guide as you are thrown out of course when you encounter unexpected challenges throughout your journey. But that’s OK too! Because getting back on track can lead to more permanent and healthier change. And, the more positive changes you succeed to incorporate in your life, the greater your chances for changing yet another behavior.

Isn’t that really the road to being healthy and happy in life?!

Stages of Change model questions

Do you have any questions that you’d like to learn the answers to? Please use the designated section to send us your questions. We are here to provide personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.

About the Authors: James O. Prochaska, PhD, is one of the originators of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change and the author of more than 400 publications on behavior change for health promotion and disease prevention. Dr. Prochaska leads the Cancer Prevention Research Center and is professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Rhode Island. He has received, among others, the Innovators Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and an award for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology from the American Psychological Association.
Janice M. Prochaska, PhD, is one of the most published authors in the field of social work. Dr. Prochaska leads the development of innovative, award-winning well-being and change management programs that address cutting-edge behavioral health issues in children and adults at Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. In 2013, Dr. Janice M. Prochaska was recognized with an achievement award by Providence Business News as one of the Outstanding Leaders in New England.
About the author
Ivana helps moderate Addiction Blog by providing helpful comments and suggestions to our readers. She is also an optimist and a dreamer. Ivana is inspired by books, travels, conversations and people and we are so grateful to have her on our team.
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