Are You Moving Through The 5 Stages of Change

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Are You Moving Through The 5 Stages of Change

This week with this dream I have been thinking a great deal about change and how we handle it.  There is a term called The Trans-theoretical model of Change which breaks down the process of change as a series of 5 stages It attempts to answer why we get “stuck” or alternatively why we did not change.

1.  Precontemplation –
The stage where there is no intention to change in the foreseeable future. Many of us in this stage are unaware we have a problem or a situation that needs to change.

I am happy to report I am not stuck at stage 1.

2.  Contemplation –
The stage where we are aware there is a problem and are seriously thinking about overcoming it but have not yet made a commitment to take action.

I am happy to report I am not stuck at stage 2.

3.  Preparation –
The stage where we are intending to take action in the immediate future, usually measured as the next month.

I am happy to report I am not stuck at stage 3.

4.  Action –
The stage in which we modify our behavior, experiences, or environment in order to overcome a problem or situation. This action stage involves the most overt behavioral changes and requires considerable commitment of time and energy.

OK – this is where I think I am with my dream, making changes to the 8 Women team to move forward and ramping up the PR / marketing of this blog. This stage brings with it a certain intensity.

5.  Maintenance –
The stage where we are working to prevent going back to the way things were before or allowing ourselves to slip and not continue moving forward.

I can relate to this. Since the weather has changed, my walking has gone from 6 days a week down to three. I am writing this post with one eye open as I try not to drift off to sleep. I am temped to stop and just go to sleep. Would anyone notice there is no Tuesday post?

But I don’t want to go back to the way things were before I started down this path, so I sit here propped up by pillows, eyes burning, arms hurting, brain fuzzy typing away this post for Tuesday morning.

In my previous post called The Change Process I discussed the emotions that come with change –

  • Anxiety
  • Happiness
  • Fear
  • Threat
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Hostility
  • Acceptance
  • Moving Forward

I think I am at the moving forward stage, but then I am so exhausted at this point I can’t be certain where I am or if this even makes any sense.

But I notice all these same reactions and emotions in my fellow team members as we change the dynamics of the team on 8 Women Dream and shift out of our comfort zone and move this project to the next level.  The reactions made me think about how we all process change and I thought I would remind everyone that these reactions are a part of the process.

With that, I have to lay my head down before my eyes pop out on to the computer begging me to stop typing.

But sometimes, you have to do your dream even when you can’t stay awake.

Keep dreaming –



  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Sandy, you are very sweet. Thank you. Aren’t you glad to know we are all the same when it comes to changing our lives?

  • Sandy

    I am glad to have read this. I do believe I am stuck in Stage 4 and sometimes, yikes! I slip back to Stage 3. I will keep trying and will never give up. Thanks for your beautiful writing.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Wow I am so happy! We have comments – good comments! Are you watching me dance? Thank you Veronica, Charlotte and Remy. Your comments are great.

  • Remy

    Cath, I have worked with many clients over the years that have had to make changes…and even the “good changes” can have negative emotions, mostly due to the unknown and comfort zone issues. Without going too deep, I’ll have to say I’ve had a long held belief that all anger we feel (threat, guilt, angst etc) is based on “fear.” I got into the habit of asking myself “what am I afraid of” everytime I got mad – even things like being mad at my sister for making us late to school when we were kids – and my fear is usually about me looking dumb or being mis understood. Cant stand that. Moving past it for me just means understanding why Im mad, stating the honest answer, and then deciding what the next move is…and then actually MOVING. I am inspired by your open ness and willingness to change..that is where all the fun is, right? :0 Rem

  • I think I’m in stage four, but sometimes most of my action is just in changing my thought pattern and what I put my focus on. The physical action like writing seems more like ACTION in the grand sense, but before anything I write can come out a thought has to come first. So focusing energy on something to me is action and not just planning…;)

  • Veronica

    I also am stuck in stage 4. Changing, being willing to change. Character defects, ok something I think I need to take a look at and either be ok with or CHANGE…..