Proschaka's Six Stages

From the field of addiction counseling, James Prochaska researched and developed a theory of readiness for change in people that is pretty well defined. The six stages are also a useful exercise to consider when thinking about behavior design in your product.

 

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation

During this stage people are unaware for their need to change. Using assessment data that is specific to that user can help raise the awareness for change.

Stage 2: Contemplation

People are considering making a change when in this stage, but are often unsure how to proceed. They often struggle with whether making a change or taking action is worth it and will get stuck weighing the pros and cons of making a change.

Stage 3: Preparation

A person moves to gathering information, and lining up resources, or gathering options in order to make a change. This stage is a pivotal transition from thinking (Stage 2) to doing (stage 4). This is where a product or service can play a pivotal role in facilitating behavior change in individuals.

Stage 4: Action

This stage is where a person is actually trying new things and taking action.

Stage 5: Maintenance

Persisting with an action long enough for it to become a habit or routine is the hallmark of this stage. making minor modifications or tuneups to a persons plan based on their environment is key.

Stage 6: Termination

This term is used to simply signify that the person no longer needs any kind of programatic system to help facilitate change because key actions have successfully become a natural part of their lifestyle.

These six stages are not always linear and a person could be in multiple stages at the same time while addressing multiple behaviors. 


Williams, Patrick, and Diane Susan. Menendez. Becoming a Professional Life Coach: Lessons from the Institute for Life Coach Training. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. 76-79. Print.

Market Problems and Behavior Design

When it comes to building a successful product there are two pillars that cannot be left out; market problems and behavior design. You must understand your markets and their problems and you must design a solution that triggers actions and behaviors that your market is ready to take. 

If you focus on trying to get a market to use your product and they are not motivated nor have the ability to use your solution, your product will fail.  Your product doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to help your market solve their problem at the very moment they need a solution.

 

Choices Become Habits

You make thousands of choices everyday. You either choose to do something or you choose not to do something. Each of those choices are prompting your behaviors, good or bad.

Somewhere along the way a single choice can become a habit if the choice continues to be made and some choices require more willpower than others.  For example, attending an early Sunday morning worship service may be a behavior that sits on the fence between being a choice and becoming a regular habit. For some the lack of willpower or enthusiasm will keep it on the choice side of the fence rather than forming a strong habit.

You can give up on a choice ever becoming a habit if it requires a lot of willpower, but you should be aware of what you are giving up. Placing yourself in a good environment on a regular basis may have more benefits than you are aware of. Using the Sunday morning example, by going regularly, you're triggering yourself not to stay up too late on Saturdays, not sleeping in on Sundays, and you're rubbing shoulders with people who in most cases want to be and do good in the world. It stretches you socially, spiritually, and perhaps intellectually. None of these things are bad, but to get the value each week you may need some willpower.

Remembering the "why" behind something that is difficult to do is key. If you can't come up with a good list of why's, then it may not be worth the effort. However, one of those why's ought to be considering what bad habits you might pick up if you weren't filling the space with a healthy, hard-to-do habit. 

If you are struggling with a good choice becoming a habit, improve your odds by making an investment in your preparation. See if you can't make some smaller habits that help you rest and eat better in order to feed your willpower.

May you find the strength to choose good behaviors that turn into healthy habits.

 

I Will, I Won't, I Want

In her book The Willpower Instinct, Kelly McGonigal, Ph. D. examines the principles of self-control and provides readers with exercises to improve their self-control and flex their willpower muscle.

At the beginning of the book she identifies three powers that shape our self-control.

  • I will - the power that gives you the ability to do what you need to do,
  • I won't - the power that gives you the ability to avoid the things you don't want to do.
  • I want - the power that gives you the ability to see beyond immediate temptations and focus on the greater good.

I've found that using these three powers as a method for facilitating a behavior is useful. Creating a chart and listing desired behaviors is a great first step in being intentional about identifying where you want to improve and identifying the things that might trip you up. It's a bit of a spin on McGonigal's work, but I find this method is helpful.

Using the chart, I like to think about my aspirations first. I'll list those in the "I Want" column. Then I'll focus on the things I need to do in order to reach those aspirations by listing those in the "I Will" column. Finally, I'll list those things I anticipate to cause conflict with my aspirations in the "I won't" column. 

Writing these down has a magical effect on raising your awareness and commitment to taking the next step. 

I Want, I Will, I Won't Example

I Want, I Will, I Won't Example

May you overcome yourself and reach your goals and aspirations!