What they forget to tell you about the stages of change

If you’ve ever taken an introductory psychology class or done some reading on human behavior and development, you’ve probably stumbled across the Transtheoretical Model, better known as the Stages of Change. 

It offers some insights into how behavior change happens, why it sometimes doesn’t (or seems like it doesn’t) and how we can better support behavior change efforts–both our own, and those of people around us.

But there are some nuances to this that I think deserve a little more exploration and who better to do that with than clinical psychologist and friend of the podcast, Dr. Bethy Campbell?

We have also created an assessment for you to get a read on where you are in relationship to any change you are working on or contemplating, along with a playlist of Change Academy episodes targeting that particular stage of change.

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If it feels good, it must be bad for me…and other fairy tales

Hedonic self-care involves activities that we find pleasurable. A massage or a nap or time spent with dear friends. 

Eudaimonic self-care includes those things we do not necessarily because they are pleasurable in the moment, but because they support our goals and objectives.  Things like getting our teeth cleaned, or doing meal prep ahead of a busy week, or spending time and money on a therapist or hiring a health coach. 

You could easily get the impression that eudaimonic self-care is better or more virtuous than hedonic self-care. But this is not the case. And I don’t want you to forsake hedonic self-care as lesser than. 

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Better together: How community and connection build healthier habits

In the previous episode, I talked about some of the things that can go wrong when we put corporations in charge of our wellbeing. In this episode, I share an example of what it looks like when it goes right, and how corporate-sponsored wellbeing programs can actually have a very positive impact on individuals and workers as well as on the company’s bottom line. 

Lindsey Soroka is a registered dietitian and works as a health promotion specialist for a major national corporation, where she’s in charge of (among other things) engaging the employees in wellness education, services, and programming. 

Lindsey and I first worked together when her company brought me in to offer the 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade program to their employees, Afterward, we sat down to talk about what she’s learned about motivating people and why major corporations want to invest in wellbeing programming.

But there are valuable lessons for all of us in this conversation. In particular, I hope you catch the ways in which our efforts to enhance our own wellbeing can ripple out into our families, workplaces, and communities. 

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Should health insurance companies really be in charge of our well-being?

A lot of employers and health insurers are now offering wellbeing apps and portals. They’re obviously hoping that giving people tools to help them manage their health conditions and nudge them toward healthy behaviors will reduce health care costs. 

I recently checked out the wellbeing app offered by my own health insurance company. I actually think that some of the well-meaning but poorly-conceived prompts could be doing more harm than good.

To be fair, figuring out how to nudge people to adopt healthier habits is a hard nut to crack. In this episode, I share five ideas on how we can design behavioral interventions that are more effective as well as more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable. I also have an opportunity for you to see these principles in action.

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Recalibrating your reward system: treating yourself better

The theme of treats and rewards is coming up in a lot of my conversations right now…with my coaching clients, with people who have reached out to talk about working together, even with my friends and colleagues. Specifically, using food as a treat or reward.

This is something a lot of us have learned to do. And like any highly rewarding behavior, this habit has the potential to do harm…and can be surprisingly hard to break.

In this episode, we’re going to talk about cultivating new sources of reward and pleasure — ones that make our lives richer, and don’t have unintended consequences. I’ll also share three ways that being more intentional about treats can increase the pleasure you get from them–as well as strengthening your willpower.

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Why a healthy self-image is essential to your future growth

How we see ourselves has an enormous impact on our mental health and wellbeing, how we function in our relationships, even what sort of goals we set for ourselves. Often, we believe that achieving those goals will improve our self-image and make us feel better about ourselves. But usually, it happens the other way around.

Our self-image is often very distorted. Others may barely notice “imperfections” that are all we can see when we look in the mirror. And, by the same token, we can also take steps to heal poor self-image without actually changing anything about the way we look. Often it starts by examining our beliefs about how we SHOULD look. 

Joining me today to talk about all of this is Cassie Christopher, whom you know from several past episodes. Cassie is a registered dietitian, workplace wellness expert, speaker, and coach. Repairing body image is a big part of Cassie’s work. She and I are also teaming up to offer a special program this October focusing on on Body Image Repair and Resilience. 

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Three things you need to change in order to succeed (ft. Molly Watts)

If you’ve been listening to the Change Academy for a while, you’ll remember Molly Watts from several previous episodes. But if you’re newer to the Academy, let me quickly tell you who she is. 

Molly is the host of the top-rated Alcohol Minimalist podcast and author of the book Breaking the Bottle Legacy.  Molly’s work focuses on helping people create a more peaceful and sustainable relationship with alcohol. And the approach that Molly takes is very consonant with our philosophy here on the Change Academy.

Molly has graciously agreed to let us share an excerpt from her podcast in which she shares the three things she had to stop doing in order to finally change her drinking habits. You can substitute just about any unwanted or  problematic behavior or habit for “drinking” and Molly’s advice would be just as valuable. She’s also generously offered a free digital copy of her book to any Change Academy listeners who would like one. (See below).

As you listen, think about how Molly’s insights about changing her drinking behavior might apply to a behavioral pattern or habit loop that you’ve struggled to change.

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How to transform difficult feelings into powerful insights

All of us occasionally struggle with negative or overwhelming emotional reactions.  But few of us have been taught to handle difficult feelings effectively. In this episode, Dr. Bethy Campbell returns to the Change Academy to share techniques for working with our most challenging emotions–enabling us to handle stressful situations with greater resilience and to access healthier emotional responses. 

Dr. Bethy Campbell is a clinical psychologist, a marriage and family therapist, with special expertise and certification in career development counseling.  During her academic career, she also pioneered a curriculum on Helping Skills, a process that people who are not trained therapists can safely use to support others (or help themselves) when dealing with psychologically or emotionally challenging situations.

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Feeling uninspired or unmotivated by your goals? This could be the missing element

I met Kelly Howard a few months ago, when she invited me to be a guest on her podcast.

I loved the concept of her podcast, which is that fitness is not just another chore that we’re supposed to do. It is a gateway to more freedom. Kelly takes that message beyond her podcast and into the real world, where she runs a company that offers hiking, biking, backpacking, and kayaking adventures, as well as fitness coaching programs to help people prepare for those adventures. 

In other words, fitness is not the real goal. Fun and freedom are the goals, and fitness makes those possible. 

It’s a perfect example of something we talk about all the time here, which is how important it is to have a compelling why, and to align our goals to our larger objectives.

In this conversation, you’ll hear how Kelly applies those principles to the work that she does. But these insights apply just as well to any other goals that you may be working on.

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How satisfied are you with your life?

Part of living your best life involves thinking–at least a little–about how you can set yourself up to live a good life in the future.

If you’re of a certain age, you might keep track of things like your cholesterol or your blood pressure. Or, you might keep an eye on your 401K balance, with an eye toward ensuring future well-being.

But there’s another lesser-known metric that can also be predictive of both your current and your future health and longevity. Just like those other markers, it’s a number you should know.  

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