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The Four Stages of Change

Phew! We have finally reached December and the end of 2020.

This past year has been a year of change for so many of us. Some of those changes, whether it be our hair color, our office environment or the number of carryout meals we order, we can control. But others, like the results of the presidential and local elections, we cannot.

So as 2020 comes to a close, it’s an ideal time to look at change itself and how we respond to it.

Over the next four weeks, we will use an easy-to-read, question-and-answer format to travel through the four stages of change: denial, resistance, exploration and commitment.

There is value in each stage. Understanding the signs and benefits will help you achieve new experiences – and a new outlook – in 2021!

So let’s get started with denial.

Q: What is the denial stage?

A: The absolute rejection of a thought, idea, process or person that attempts to bring change into one’s life personally or professionally. This stage invokes a great amount to energy into believing that the change will not take place.

Q: Where does it fall in the stages of change?

A: The denial stage is the first of four stages of change, followed by resistance, exploration and commitment.

Q: How do I know if I’m denying change?

A: In the denial stage, one will make statements such as, “That won’t really happen,” or “It can’t happen to me.” Feelings of anger, resentment, and frustration may also accompany those statements.

Q: What are some actions I can take to shorten or get through this stage?

A: Talk to someone who will give you an honest, non-judgmental answer. Be sure to not leave out any details because this could skew the response. It’s better to receive an objective answer than one tailored to what you want to hear.

With denial, we’re just getting started. Next week, we will explore the resistance stage, where you accept change is happening but refuse to comply.

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