Health Change: How Do I Know If I’m Ready? Part 1 of 4

September 8, 2022

By: Dr. Mary Rose Strickland
Physical Therapist | Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner

If you have been following our emails and articles ( ), you likely understand the importance of making healthier changes in your life.  This includes moving your body more, fueling your body with whole-food nutritious options, getting good sleep, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol use, managing stress appropriately, and being socially connected to others.  You are now faced with the question:  “So many changes, how and where do I start?”

Over the next 4 weeks we will be discussing health change broken down in to 4 main articles.  This mini-series is meant to give you practical, hands-on advice and skills on how to implement health change into your life.

Before we begin, it is important to assess if you are ready for change.  Knowing which stage you are in can help identify what steps you need to take to be ready to implement health changes in your life.

  1. Precontemplation – in this stage there is lack of awareness of the need to change a problem health behavior. Often there is no plan of making a change in the near future.
  2. Contemplation – an individual considering making a change in the next 6 months. Mixed feelings about change, often weighing the pros and cons of health behavior change.
  3. Preparation – you are aware of the change you need to make and are preparing to do so within the next month.
  4. Action – specific health behavior changes have started but the individual has not yet hit a target goal or engaged in the behavior for 6 months.
  5. Maintenance – in this stage a goal behavior has been achieved and behavior has been sustained for more than 6 months.

Another tool that is helpful is to identify the importance and confidence of making a change.

  1. On a scale of 0 to 10 (where 0 is low and 10 is high), how confident are you that you will master this health change in the next 3-6 months?
  2. On the same 0-10 scale, how important is it to you to make this health change in the next 3-6 months?

The level of importance and your confidence in making a change is directly tied to how likely one is to succeed in making health changes.  Not scoring all 10’s?  That’s OK.  That can come with time and work with your New Life PT Lifestyle Medicine provider.  This is a process, and I invite you to pause and consider the WHY behind your change.

What situation, health concerns, life abilities or goals led you to seek out this information and desire to improve your current health?  Make a list of these items.  They will come in helpful when you experience tough days, challenges, and have feelings of doubt that enter your mind.  Write them and post them in a place you can see each and every day.

Health Change:  Practical Application Tips

  • Step 1: Write down why you want to change.  Post it in a spot you can see each day.

Join us next week as we discuss how to develop an action plan for change!

Dr. Mary Rose Strickland is a physical therapist and certified Lifestyle Medicine provider.  She is currently accepting lifestyle medicine clients where she can help identify areas of health change, work with you to set up a plan for success, and guide you through necessary change to achieve your health goals.  Reach out to her at or call 608.742.9356 to get more information or schedule an initial lifestyle medicine consultation.