Despite "plasticity", ruts in our brain, genetic disposition and the rest...there are those who break bad habits and change for the better. They do it with out surgery, without life altering trauma, without pills, therapy or 12 step programs. They do it with everyday hard work and a dogged persistence to achieve their goal. They are driven to succeed, and they are willing to sacrifice to get there. How? Why? What makes them so different from the rest of us?
Well, there just so happens to be a "system" and most of them go through it without even knowing it. The 6 stages of change, discovered by James Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo DiClemente;
6. Termination / Transcendence
The book is fascinating, as I have discussed before, mostly because it illuminates the stages one encounters in change, much like the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, they are just a part of the human condition. For such a wonderful discovery, and impeccable research by these psychologists, not much has been written or expanded about it since. Consider the break through of discovering a verifiable way of change, and yet, these ten plus years later, nothing. Why? They themselves say in the book, the media wanted some pithy summation about the "system" that they could promote in a sentence, and they refused, it just isn't simple. While the book is thorough, It really is too bad that there was no follow up by other psychologists as I did not found the book helpful in moving from stage to stage. Right now, and for the past decade, I have been stuck on stage 3, "preparation". A few times I have been to stage 4, never to stage 5 in my entire life.
The point is, everyone goes through these stages when changing, even if they don't know it. You can't jump from one stage to another effectively either, it just isn't how the human psyche works. Knowing this won't make you lose weight, but knowing it might make it more possible. For example, instead of wasting time on more diet planning and book reading, I realize that I am just avoiding stage 4, action, and that these things I am doing, and maybe you, are just to avoid the anxiety of change. I am taking it to the precipice, but I don't have the commitment, or desire, to jump yet.
If you are intrigued by these stages and would like to know where you are, I would recommend getting the book, here is a link if you want to check it out on Amazon.com. You can also check out this site, addictioninfo.org for a little more in depth analysis of the stages, or go to this Doctor's web-site, habitdoc.com, who uses the stages to help people beat addictions.