The 6 Stages of Change

a person about to run a race

Verywell / Julie Bang

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Every Friday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, shares the “Friday Fix”—a short episode featuring a quick, actionable tip or exercise to help you manage a specific mental health issue or concern.

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Friday Fix: Episode 173

Whether you want to lose weight or you want to get out of debt, change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process–and much of that process happens long before we even begin to create change.

Before we set out to create change, our brains need to become convinced that we have a problem we need to address. It also needs to see that the cost of staying the same outweighs the risk of creating change.

Change doesn’t end just because we take action, however. We’ve all likely started a goal only to abandon it a few weeks later. Maybe it just felt too hard to do. Or maybe you didn’t feel like the work you were putting in was effective. 

Fortunately, gaining a better understanding of how change works can help us make more informed decisions about the habits we want to change. It can also help increase the likelihood that the changes we make stick. 

Understanding the stages of change might also improve your relationships. After all, you’ve probably been in a situation where you’ve listened to a friend complain about their lives day after day without doing anything about it. You may have wondered why they didn’t take action.

Or maybe you’ve had a family member who insists that they just can’t do something. You may have offered advice, lectured them, or even begged them to change to no avail. When you understand how change works, however, you’ll have more effective ways to support them.  

In this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, I explain the six stages of change, how you can apply them to your own process of change, and how you can help someone else in the process of creating changes in their own life.

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Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors. Thank you.

For media or public speaking inquiries, contact Amy here.

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By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.