Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Change ...

I've been listening to the news out of Egypt lately with such sadness.  I can remember the excitement, the hope, the optimism generated by the initial revolution.  Such possibilities!  And so hard to believe that dreams too dear to dream were apparently on the verge of coming true.

But they haven't.  Some have said that the current chaos is worse even then what was before.  Of course, it's said that the Israelites told Moses that they'd rather go back to their bondage than remain in the discomfort of their freedom.  Change is hard.  And messy.

Yesterday, while listening to the news I found myself remembering the excitement, the hope, the optimism generated by Barack Obama's initial run for the Presidency.  Here, too, was the apparent actualization of dreams many had dared not utter.   And here, too, reality has not actualized the hype.

In their book Changing for Good:  a revolutionary six-stage program for overcoming bad habits and moving your life positively forward, Ph.D.s James O. Prochaska, John C. Norcross, and Carlo C. DiClemente describe six stages through which we must move if change is going to be real and lasting.
  1. First, there's Precontemplation.  This is the stage in which you still think the people or situations
    around you are to blame.  You recognize that there's some kind of problem, but you see the cause outside of yourself.
  2. Then there's Contemplation.  Here you've begun to recognize that the cause of your problem is something you're doing or not doing, yet you're not quite ready to do something concrete about it yet.
  3. Next comes Preparation.  First you recognized that things weren't right, but it was someone else's fault.  Then you began to realize your own accountability, yet weren't ready yet to take the steps necessary to change things.  Now, while you're still not ready to make the change, you're finally ready to get ready to make it.
  4. Obviously, Action would come next.  You begin to put into action the plan you developed during the preparation phase.  (And which you might have begun thinking about during the stage of contemplation.)
  5. Then there comes Maintenance.  Here the struggle of changes becomes the struggle to keep from sliding back.
  6. Finally, there is Termination.  At this point the change has so rooted itself in you that it's no longer new, it's no longer even really change.  It is, to use a bit of cliche, "the new normal."

Changing for Good does an excellent job of explaining these stages -- including their challenges -- and helping the reader to discern where she or he is in the cycle and how to move forward.  One person, one vote, we Spring of Action is not enough.  Lasting change is a process -- whether for an individual, a society, or the world.

In Gassho,

RevWk Print this post

No comments: