Are you stubborn? Known for kicking against the goads from time to time? I know I am, or at least that is what I’ve been told. Change is a critical process that we all are going through every day. Sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be while other times we are flat out in denial anything needs to happen at all. Nevertheless, change will come whether we want it to or not.
The Stages of Change
When it comes to change (which we all love so much) there are five stages a person will go through to make a significant modification to their life. Interestingly enough change begins without you even knowing it. You’ve likely heard the metaphor kicking against the goads. Goads were used to prod livestock forward, and they would kick back at them causing more harm than good.
Would you change how you live your life if you were able to look back on your life when you ignored God or a loved one’s well-intentioned attempt at urging you to take a specific path or action (to stop kicking against the goading) only to find out that if you had listened you would have avoided a load of heartache?
For the sake of this article, we will refer to this as the first stage of change – PRECONTEMPLATION. Even though the Holy Spirit, loved one, doctor or counselor has been planting seeds in your mind, raising doubts and pointing out the risks of your behavior you are still unable or unwilling to change – you just don’t see the need. Eventually, something happens, and you are finally willing to meet halfway and listen, which leads to the second stage of change – CONTEMPLATION.
Even though you may be uncertain if a change is what you need or want it is a possibility. Maybe God has been planting the same seed in your mind year after year without it ever sprouting because you never nurtured it. Contemplation is where you nurture just enough to see some growth and determine if the pros out weight the cons. If you decide that change is worthwhile, you enter the third stage of change – PREPARATION.
Finally, the rubber is meeting the road, and the willingness to change will lead to preparation. Clarifying goals, planning your first steps and strategies will be the groundwork for the fourth stage of change – ACTION.
Nothing will ever get done unless you take action. You may feel a bit unclear about the direction you’re going, it may feel awkward, risky or uncertain but when you are working towards a positive change, you shouldn’t let anything stand in your way. The last and final step in change is – MAINTENANCE.
Once you have begun to meet your initial goals, you will want to stay motivated to continue. This is where you “keep on keeping on.” Remember that God has a plan for you so don’t let fear or what other people think to keep you from creating a positive change in your life. Prayer, faith, support groups and getting out of yourself (volunteering) can all help fuel your motivation to keep going. When we kick against the goads, we aren’t hurting God… we are only hurting ourselves and those around us.