The intention to change to healthier behaviour may be good, but to accomplish it is a challenge, especially if you don’t have the knowledge about how to achieve this change. Change usually does not happen all at once, it is a gradual process that involves several stages. Psychologist James Prochaska, John Norcoss, and Carlo DiClemente developed the Transtheoretical Model of stages of change to aid with the process of self-change. This model identifies six stages in the process that describes underlying processes that people go through to change most problem behaviours and adopt healthy behaviours. Most frequently, the model is used to change health-related behaviours such as physical inactivity, smoking, poor nutrition, weight problems, stress, and alcohol abuse. Understanding each stage of the model will help individuals to determine where they are in relation to their personal healthy lifestyle behaviours. It will also help to identify processes to make successful change. The stages are as follows: CONTEMPLATION People in this stage acknowledge that they have a problem and begin to seriously think about overcoming it. They are not quite ready for change, however, they are weighing the pros and cons of changing. People may remain in this stage for years although in their minds they are planning to take some action within the next six months. Education and peer support is valuable during this stage. PRECONTEMPLATION People in this stage are not considering change or do not want to change a given behaviour. They typically deny having a problem even though other people around them, including health-care practitioners, identify the problem clearly. They have no intention of changing in the immediate future and may even avoid information and materials that address the issue. These people frequently have an active resistance to change and seem resigned to accept the unhealthy behaviour as their ‘fate’. At this stage, educating them about the problem is critical to helping them start contemplating the change, by helping them to realise that they are ultimately responsible for the consequences of their behaviour. PREPARATION In this stage, people are seriously considering change and planning to change a behaviour within the next month. They take initial steps for change, like even trying the new behaviour for a short while such as quitting smoking for a day or exercising a few times during the month. During this stage, people define a general goal for change and write specific objectives to accomplish these goals. Continued peer and environmental support are helpful during this stage. ACTION People at this stage are actively doing things to change or modify the problem behaviour or to adopt a healthy behaviour. This stage requires the greatest commitment of time and energy on the part of the individual. The person is required to follow specific guidelines set forth for that behaviour. Relapse is common during this stage, and the individual may regress to previous stages. Once the individual is able to maintain the action stage for six consecutive months, they move to the maintenance stage. MAINTENANCE During this stage, the person continues the behaviour for up to five years. This phase requires continued adherence to the specific guidelines that govern the behaviour, example, exercising aerobically three times per week. The person works to maintain the gains made through the various stages of change and strive to prevent lapses and relapses. TERMINATION/ADOPTION Once a behaviour has been maintained for over five years, a person is said to be in the termination or adoption phase and exits from the cycle of change without fear of relapse. In the case of negative behaviours that are terminated, the stage of change is referred to as termination. If a positive behaviour has been successfully adopted over the period, this stage is designated the adoption stage or the ‘transformed stage of change’. This phase is the ultimate goal for all people seeking a healthier lifestyle and the quest for wellness. However, the likelihood for relapse is always high and can happen at any stage. Relapse, however, does not mean failure. Failure comes only to those who give up and don’t use prior experiences as building blocks for future success. The chances of moving back up to a higher stage of the model are far better for someone who has previously made it into one of those stages.
“Some of the main findings of recent studies are that the majority of victims as well as perpetrators of crimes reported by the Police are young males 18 to 35 years old.”Those were the shocking facts revealed by Caricom Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on Tuesday as the Caribbean Summit on Youth Violence kicked off at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Georgetown.LaRocque further stated during his presentation that the Caribbean Region hasCaricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocquesome of the highest figures of youths being convicted for crimes.In fact, the Ambassador disclosed that according to a United Nations (UN) report, 80 per cent of prosecuted crimes are committed by youths between the ages of 19 and 29.“There are a number of socio-economic determinants of crime, of the least of which is the high youth unemployment in the Region of 25 per cent in 2017. That is three times the average and the highest,” the Secretary General pointed out.According to him, it has been realised that there is great need for intervention in order to combat the current challenge.He said, “The Crime Prevention National Plan and the Caricom Youth Development Action Plan are two of the main policy frameworks which guide and design the implementation of policy and programmes in Member States to address crime and violence from a prevention perspective through addressing the underlined social factors”. This is all done, LaRocque noted, with the intent of creating an enabling environment for adolescent and youth well-being. He, nevertheless, sought to highlight the critical role that families must play in theA section of the gatheringprevention of crime.The Summit, which is being hosted with the intent of pooling ideas for the prevention of youth violence in communities and schools and, to an extent, individual countries, will culminate today.The Summit is also geared towards creating “targeted actions” on policy-makers and stakeholders to create and maintain a peaceful Caribbean environment.Participating in the event are a number of Caribbean countries like Jamaica, St Lucia and a number of other nations, including the United States.Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton, while delivering the feature address, spoke of the need for developing programmes to help build the self-esteem of youths.Norton told his fellow Caricom States’ representatives that, “We must all continue to implement programmes and activities that seek to develop and enhance youths’ self-esteem and confidence; promote tolerance; respect for laws and rules and empower them to be change agents in our societies”.The Minister explained that such programmes must include an avenue for youths to be able to shake off their aggression and release stress and anger which would have built up owing to insecurities.He added that they must be geared towards fostering peace and cohesion among youths and the nation as a whole.“These programmes would include sports and recreational activities, educational and cultural programmes, mentorship and counselling programmes, creation of youth-friendly spaces across countries, consultations and practical and life skills training,” Norton posited.During the two-day affair, participants will be involved in discussions revolving around the promotion of healthy masculinity, youth-driven responses to criminal gangs, and addressing risk and protective factors for youth violence, among others.