The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of Change provides you with insight into the various stages that a person goes through when undergoing a change. By understanding the process of change and the stage in which you are, can help you prepare yourself from the changes in a positive way and be more receptive to adopting the positive lifestyle and health changes.
TTM features five stages of change – pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. You will notice a cyclical movement in these changes where you may have to make several attempts to change your behaviour before you accomplish your goal.
This is the stage where you are not even thinking of incorporating a positive behaviour or a healthy change. It can be anything from concentrating more on your studies to making time for physical activity to reducing unhealthy behaviours like smoking and drinking. In this stage, you have not even considered adopting a transformation or thinking of the benefits involved in it.
In this stage, you begin to contemplate the idea of adopting a positive change. You may not be ready to embrace the transformation yet, but you are already thinking of the benefits of a change. At this stage, your lifestyle wouldn’t have gone through any changes, but you are already weighing the pros and cons of it. This is still progress based on the fact that you weren’t bothered about it at all earlier.
As you chew over the idea of a change, even more, you begin to prepare yourself physically and psychologically to embrace the change. In this stage, you will already start making small changes in preparation for the actual change.
If you decide to take up more physical activity, then you will begin running or jogging before you start using the gym regularly. In the same way, if you are trying to change your diet, then you may begin to eat foods include in the new diet in small quantities before you completely change to it.
When you begin to actively work towards bringing the change like joining a gym, starting a new diet, giving a specific number of hours to your study, reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke, or limiting the number of drinks you have, then you are in the action stage.
In the early part of the stage, you will usually find that the effects of the change motivate you to do better and bring about the change. Build your confidence and encourage yourself to embrace the change fully.
If you have been able to act on the changes without any relapse for 6 months, then you have moved into the maintenance stage where you are required to maintain the changes you have brought about in your health or lifestyle. Identify things or elements that tempt you into relapse so that you can train yourself to recognize temptations and avoid them.
Self-efficacy and Decisional balance play an essential role when you go through the different stages of change. If you display high self-efficacy, then you will be able to bring about changes more effectively than those with low self-efficacy. These are internal factors which will help you maintain positive behaviour changes. At the same time, there are external factors like your work, friends and studies, which will also make an impact positively or negatively.
As an international student, you will be in a new place with many new lifestyle and behavioural changes. When you try to adopt positive changes, you may find yourself moving back and forth the different stages. It is common to find yourself going back into a stage of contemplation or preparation before you get back into action and maintenance.
By understanding and having knowledge about the many stages of change and how they can impact your adoption of change will make you more aware and may even reduce the chances of a relapse. Use the Trans-theoretical model of change to bring positive changes to your lifestyle, to focus on your studies and to lead a better quality of life not just while you are studying but also when you return you your home country.