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Theory of Change

Healthy Behavior Change

  • There are so many pieces that come together to make prevention effective. We know that simply being educated on the harmful effect of substances is not enough to prevent someone from using or to stop using in many cases. Understanding what goes into making healthy behavior changes can be a useful tool to those of us considering and even for those of us not yet considering making a change. Whether that change is quitting smoking, getting more active, or even improving our sleep schedule - we are all at different points of readiness. This campaign was created to help us talk about and better understand just that.

Stages of Change


  • Precontemplation is when we are unaware or under-informed about the consequences of a particular action or if we have not begun to consider making a change yet. A person who has no intention of changing behavior in the next 6 months would fit into the Theory of Changes precontemplation stage. 



  • Contemplation is the stage where we begin to consider behavior change and weigh out the pros and cons. We may not be ready to make that change, but we recognize that a change should or could happen. A person who is intending to take action in the next six months would fit into the Theory of Changes contemplation stage. 



  • Preparation is the stage where we start to gather research, talk to specialists and gather needed supplies; change starts to feel less overwhelming. Prior to starting the process, we put a plan in motion. Sometimes this is a formal plan and sometimes it may just be taking some time to think it through. A person who is ready to take action in the next 30 days would fit into the Theory of Changes preparation stage. 



  • Action is the stage where we start to put our plan into action. It is when we officially begin the process of change - a process that looks different for everyone. It’s important to know that even when we start to make the change we often don’t jump right to an end goal. Change takes time. A person who is actively making an overt lifestyle change in the past 6 months would fit into the Theory of Changes action stage. 



  • Maintenance is the stage where we form new habits that support the behavior change. Even after making the change or successfully meeting a goal, it is important to know that we may require additional work to help prevent relapse, failure, and fatigue. Depending on the desired goal, maintenance might be a short process or a life-long effort. Surround yourself with a support system for the best results! A person who has changed behavior for more than 6 months would fit into the Theory of Changes maintenance stage.

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