There are eight stages of behavior change. Let’s say we go to our doctor and we are obese as many Americans are. Our doc says, “stop eating so many bloomin’ onions.” Here is how the 8 stages of change model works for not eating all you can eat Chinese food lunch buffets.
Precontemplation: I love me some all-you-can eat crab rangoons!
Contemplative: I know crab rangoons are bad for me, but I gotta have some rangoons!
Preparation: I’ll keep eating crab rangoons in September, but in October, no more crab rangoons!
Action: Only carrot sticks from now on. So long crab rangoons!
Maintenance: Boy these carrot sticks are great! I can’t believe I ever ate crab rangoon.
The last election Obama dazzled us with a message of Change and Hope. We wanted both. We needed both. We were hungry for both. He served it up on a super-sized, strip mall of Chinese, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet and Americans helped ourselves to massive portions of yummy goodness with a side of duck sauce.
When we elected Obama four years ago, we were in action mode! Give me HOPE! Give me CHANGE! I gotta have it. I’m ready! We had eight years of the Bush administration to contemplate for change.
After four years of the Obama administration, the question everyone is asking is “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”
If yes, vote Obama.
If no, vote Romney.
Is it really that easy? How do I answer that question? Where am I in my stages of change? Like this model of behavior change, when I once was ready for action, maybe I relapsed along the way to preparation? Isn’t that what do as a country? I do it so frequently in my life, on my diet, on my exercise plan. Why wouldn’t I do it with my politics?
During election time we may have voted a Democratic President into the White House, but so many seats in the House of Representatives are still filled by Republicans. Doesn’t that means we switched as a country back to the Contemplative Stage? Did we relapse in our change model from Action to Contemplation? Did we lose hope along the way? We are impatient. Maybe we didn’t feel like we were progressing fast enough. The desire for progress was too great and the rate was too slow. How easy we forget why we needed change in the first place.
How can we hold Obama responsible for inaction when we are the ones who relapsed in our behavior by having a Republican controlled House meaning so little would actually get done? Aren’t we responsible for our own stagnation?
Maybe looking at these 8 stages of change, we can not only understand why so many diets fail, but also why so much of our political system fails. Suddenly I have a craving for crab rangoon with a side of change. I have a feeling I’m going to get a huge serving of it tonight!