You’re looking through a good friend’s family photos on Facebook, and all-of-a-sudden an ad that guarantees “Abs in 5 Days” pops up. You weren’t thinking about abs. You weren’t thinking about fitness. You were merely thinking about how much you love your buddy and are happy to see him doing well. But, heck, who wouldn’t want abs in 5 days? And it’s only a newsletter, 10 bucks, etc. “Sure, let’s give it a try,” you say.
For those unfamiliar with behavioral change psychology, you probably read that and thought, “so what?” The “so what” is that readiness for change is a complex journey that isn’t flippantly executed. In fact, caring people DISCOURAGE someone who is at the wrong stage of change from conforming to another stage. Why? Because it actually worsens outcomes. Of course, people without scruples couldn’t care less. The very thing they want is to catch a dollar, no matter the consequences.
In more than half of my initial consults and coaching appointments, I will at some point in the discussion say, “this likely isn’t a good fit for you at this point.” It‘s in reference to a next step, a more dramatic demand from them, or sometimes even workouts or food planning. I’m aiming to take drowning people and get them afloat, or take treading people and get them to shore, or take strong swimmers and make them champions. Why would I hand you a barbell, food plan, or ask you to reach into your pocket while I’m trying to save you from drowning?
Thus, beware, especially this time of year. Your internal readiness for change doesn’t have anything to do with flashy deals or marketing. Your position in the stages of change doesn’t shift by momentary excitement or good-sounding external pressures.
With regard to a diet or exercise program and each step therein, you are either in precontemplation or not. You’re either in contemplation or not. You’re either in preparation or not. You’re either in action or not. You’re either in maintenance or not. You’re either in recidivism or not. Don’t start a preparation or action step while you’re in the contemplation stage.
Marketers are perched or circling like birds of prey. But I’m telling you, right now, you may not be a good fit for the next step.