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required_reading_#2behavior. - Title"Just do it isn't...

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Title: "Just do it" isn't enough: change comes in stages. Tufts University diet & nutrition letter, 07474105, 19960901, Vol. 14, Issue 7 "JUST DO IT" ISN'T ENOUGH: CHANGE COMES IN STAGES Section: SPECIAL REPORT The release earlier this summer of the Surgeon General's report entitled Physical Activity and Health certainly was well intended. But its advice was far from ground-breaking. Americans had heard it before in countless other official reports: Get some exercise. Perhaps because more than 60 percent of adults still are not heeding the call to engage in enough physical activity, the report tries to make "enough" sound simpler than ever. Walk, rake leaves, wax your car, wash windows--just do something. Why won't people get off the couch and move their bodies? For that matter, why won't they eat less fat, make a salad, or have fruit for a snack when they know these things are good for them? James Prochaska, PhD, a psychologist and head of the Health Promotion Partnership at the University of Rhode Island, says it's because change doesn't begin with action. Thus, whenever advice to change starts with the admonition to act--which is most of the time--it can backfire. Fewer than 20 percent of a population that needs to make a change are prepared for action at any given time, Dr. Prochaska says in his book Changing for Good (William Morrow and Company, New York, 1994, $22). "Yet more than 90 percent of behavior change programs are designed with this 20 percent in mind." Everyone else falls through the cracks. Dr. Prochaska says action is the fourth of 6 stages of change (see page 5). Apparently, he's onto something. His approach has been used successfully by, among others, the National Cancer Institute to help people stop smoking, by the National Institutes for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse to help people stop drinking, and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to curb behavior that leads to HIV infection. To find out more about the stages of change, we conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Prochaska. Q: Don't many people make changes cold turkey? After all, you hear so many people say, "I quit smoking once and for all on January 1st"; or "I woke up one day and said, 'That's it!' and began to exercise."
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Dr. Prochaska: We haven't been able to find those folks. Sure, there are people who say that. But if you start to assess them further, you often find that this is not the first time they've taken action. Studies show that on average, New Year's resolutions are made 3 years in a row. If it is the first time, you have to ask, "What got you doing it at this point?" And you'll see that over time, they have been reevaluating themselves and becoming more aware that their values about healthful living are in conflict with their behavior. Let's use smoking as an example. People can say exactly when they quit and that it was cold turkey. They can tell you it was sheer willpower. But they may not recognize how their awareness had been increasing, because it's a continuous kind of thing--becoming
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required_reading_#2behavior. - Title"Just do it isn't...

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