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In this stage, an individual intends to take action or are seriously thinking about it but have not yet made a commitment to take action

“I really get stressed out, but I don’t have the time to work on stress management skills.”

In the contemplation stage, individuals begin to express concerns and reasons to change as they become more aware that a problem exists. They have higher sense of consideration of the possibility to stop or to cut back their habit in the near future as compared to those in the pre-contemplation stage. Although they are able to consider the possibility of changing, they tend to be ambivalent about it.

THE NOT-SO FUN FACTS: People in the contemplation stage may remain trapped in this stage for many years, spending all their time contemplating about the pros and cons of changing their behaviour!

Despite them thinking about the negative aspects of their bad habit and the positives associated with giving it up (or reducing), they may be stuck in this stage for years as they may doubt that the long-term benefits associated with quitting will outweigh the short-term costs.

This stage is seemingly a paradoxical stage of change. With consideration of problem and making a change, yet uncertainty can make contemplation a prolonged issue.

Contemplators have to be convinced that making a change is worth the effort. Incentives and personal motivators or information could impact the decision making in this stage.

Let us discuss some of the HR roles in helping an individual to work through ambivalence.

  • One should consider the pros and cons (from an individual’s perspective and peer to help your colleague) of the problem behaviour, as well as the pros and cons of making a change.
  • Secondly, they should be gather information of past change attempts. For an instance, how many days have you successfully went by without engaging in a certain behaviour? What have you done to make a change? How long did it take before you have decided to make a change? These factors should be captured in terms of “small success” rather than “change failures”
  • One should explore options that you have considered yourself or your colleagues have considered (if you are helping them out of contemplation stage) for the change process and offer additional options where indicated and within area of interest. Remember, an individual in the contemplation stage are novice level individuals in the change process.
  • You should remember to always bring forth change statements (spontaneous oral exchanges or from prompted written responses that includes behavioural, affective, and cognitive components of change)

The key strategy in the contemplation stage is to inquire about the “good and less good” of the problem behaviour. Additionally, always ensure to explore concerns. This would eventually lead to the contemplators generating change statements and make preliminary commitment to make a change in their behaviour for the better.

Watch this space for further information on the next stage of change: – PREPARATION!

By Darnisha & Lisa