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Stages of Change and Moving From Preparation to Action and LUCKY by Marissa Stapley


Cover of the book Lucky by Marissa Stapley, used as a teaching example for moving from preparation to action in the stages of change

Many people want to change but struggle to move from intention to action. Read on to learn about the stages of change and how to move from preparation to action in the stages of change.


The stages of change are:

  • Precontemplation (Problem? What problem?)

  • Contemplation (OK, this isn’t great. But I’m ambivalent about changing.)

  • Preparation (I’m doing/learning these things to get ready to change.)

  • Action (Putting the plan to work. Change, here we come!)

  • Maintenance (Now that I made this life for myself, I’m living it.)

Specific steps, all of which I'll post over time, help people move from one stage to the next. Today we'll focus on moving from preparation to action. Here are the tips:

  • Write a list of the reasons that you want to change. Remember that changing will be easier if you truly believe that the benefits outweigh the downsides of staying the same.

  • Create a set of goals that are specific and reasonable.

  • Work on a plan to attain those goals, paying particular attention to planning around barriers that may pop up.

Teaching Example: Lucky by Marissa Stapley

The only people Lucky ever trusted were her dad, who is currently incarcerated, and her boyfriend, who just disappeared without a trace. Lucky’s upbringing was unique. She didn’t attend school or make friends. Instead, her criminal father trained her to be his little accomplice. Later, with her boyfriend, Lucky became a partner-in-crime. Now, Lucky is an adult and has run quite a few independent scams. But she’s realized that she wants to turn her life around.


Applying the Skills

Lucky is in the preparation stage of change, she frequently thinks: one more scam so I can stop scamming. Lucky’s reasons would include lessening her fear of going to jail or facing other consequences and being able to create honest relationships with friends. Her goals might be finding a stable job, living within a budget that obviates the need to steal, and making a few friends. Finally, her plan might include applying to jobs, creating a realistic budget, and joining free or inexpensive community groups (like book clubs, adult sports leagues, etc).


If Lucky took these steps, she would be more likely to succeed in her new, more honest life. The only downside is that the reader would get a more stable and less dramatic story.

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