The Preparation Stage of Change

The preparation stage in the Behaviour Change Framework describes the processes that you go through when you intend to take action to overcome mental health problems, achieve a goal or modify your behaviour in some way.

You may have already contacted a professional for help (such as ourselves) and spoken about what it is that you would like to change.

If you have decided to follow a programme of therapy or coaching with us, then it is at this stage that we will be formalising your specific goals and agreeing some of the preparatory steps designed to help you succeed.

Elements of change preparation include:

  • Defining, in some detail, what your goals are.
  • Agreeing and setting up a baseline tracking and progress monitoring system.
  • Raising your awareness of the causes, consequences and solutions to your problems.
  • Initiating emotional intelligence.
  • Assessing the Costs and Benefits of change (and not changing) – known as Decisional Balance.
  • Committing to change.

This preparation stage proceeds for as long as it needs to so that you are able to adequately prepare for the shift into the next phase of the change process, taking action.

The Preparation Stage of Change

Change Facilitators in the Preparation Stage

Research shows that failing to adequately prepare for change, leaping prematurely into the Action phase, almost certainly predicts failure.

  • Your goals need to sufficiently defined, specific and measureable otherwise they are really just ‘nice ideas’.
  • Your monitoring system needs to include at least a week of measurements in which you do not attempt any changes – this will be your baseline by which you measure change progress.
  • You need to have a pretty good comprehension of the types of situtaions which tirigger or lead to the behaviour that you want to change as well as the consequences of your behaviours.
  • It is only by understanding the causes and consequences that we can help you to identify the possible solutions.
  • Becoming emotionally intelligent involves recognising the link between thoughts, beliefs and emotional experiences because change is rarely achieved through logic and thinking alone.
  • Creating a Cost V Benefits (or Pros and Cons) analysis of your current behaviours can help you to realise that a great many obviously negative behaviours often bring hidden benefits.
  • If changing your behaviours leads to nothing other than ‘Costs’ or ‘Cons’ it is extremely unlikely that you will want to change because you will gain nothing from it.
  • Finally, committing to change, especially if that committment is formalised in a ‘personal statement’, has been shown to be a significant component of succeeding.

Changing is hard work and will involve lots of resistance, times of low progress, challenges to your fundamental understandings of the World around you as well as uncomfortable feelings.

As the old saying goes – “You cannot make an omelette without breaking the eggshells”.

You cannot cange without actually changing things, and this inevitably means doing things (acting) differently.

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Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more the preparation stage of behaviour change and mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular issues and the different types of mental health counselling we offer (including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT) without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.


During the preparation phase you begin to identify your specific change goals, organise support and introduce baseline tracking.