Readiness to change is something out of the fitness universe called the Trans-Theoretical Model (TTM), however it can also be applied to any subject regarding change. The TTM has five stages, where online and aspiring online entrepreneurs can even compare to themselves and their own readiness.
We’ve been through all five stages and it’s possible to move back and forth between each stage, as I’m sure many of you (myself included) have done for years. But, once we fully understand the TTM, it opens our eyes to new perspectives as it enhances our own awareness on where we stand in our own online marketing journey.
The TTM, for that matter, can easily be applied here in the online marketing world and it will help you find which stage you’re currently in and how long it will take you to reach the next stage.
Some of us might remain in one stage for longer or shorter time periods, but when we reach a certain stage, things really begin to speed up. Therefore, read this article critically, identify the stage you’re in, and you’ll get a solid idea on what you need to do to make it to the next rung on the ladder and how long it may take you to do so.
Stage One: Precontemplation
This is the stage where one is unaware of their readiness to change. They’re resistant to change and they believe that what they’re doing in life is either correct or they’re okay with their path.
In the fitness universe, this is where those who live a sedentary lifestyle while consuming an unhealthy diet reside. In the online marketing world, this is where those of us working a steady job, even if it’s not exactly what we wanted, are located.
We might not like what we’re doing, but we’re making ends meet, we have a house, bills, a car payment, and other utilities as well. We’re content with where we are, but not truly happy, just content. We’re okay, but we might know in our heart of hearts something isn’t right.
Even with such knowledge, the awareness isn’t there just yet. We don’t want to be told we’re possibly not on the right path. We think everything’s okay, or we just tell ourselves it is.
In this stage, there’s no timetable for change and many of us might be stuck here for years or even decades on end.
Stage Two: Contemplation
This is where we take our knowledge and become aware. We know we should change in our lives, but we’re still holding ourselves back. Either way, we still acquire information regarding change.
We’re thinking about change, but no action has been taken. Those in this stage might say, “I’m going to do X this year,” or “I want to get Y done this year.” They have plans, they have goals, but zero action is being taken here.
A lot of information is given in the contemplation stage, and such information might cause us to write some plans or ideas down that will prepare us for the next stage, Preparation.
There’s often change about to occur within the next six months when one enters Contemplation. For me, personally, my Contemplation Stage started in March 2018 and by September 2018, or six months later, the Preparation Stage started.
Stage Three: Preparation
This is the stage where change will occur within thirty days. The plans have been written and are finalized. Irregular activity might start, so in the fitness world, this is where an individual might start exercising inconsistently. Have you ever been to the gym and you see members coming in a few times a month? Those members are in Preparation.
Preparation means change is about to happen; something big and exciting is about to unfold. The individual is gunning for change and it’s imminent. The final plans are being sought here.
As a personal trainer, prospective clients who just joined the gym and have come to see me for a consultation are also in the Preparation Stage. So, in the internet marketing world, joining Wealthy Affiliate as a Starter Member might be the end stage of Preparation.
Stage Four: Action
Now comes the Action Stage, where actual action is being taken in pursuit of a goal. For fitness, it means that the individual has joined a gym and is using their gym access three times a week or more on a consistent basis.
The Action Stage takes about six months of consistency. It’s also a stage where it’s easy to fall back into Preparation, since undertaking the activity might be new to many. However, those who make the changes and stick to them will find themselves in the next stage in the not-too-distant future.
With action comes consistency and with long-term consistency comes rewards for one’s efforts. In the internet world, action involves joining WA Premium, going through the training, getting involved in the WA community, and consistently posting and updating your niche blog. Oh, and consistent learning should also be undertaken in this stage, as I implied earlier.
Stage Five: Maintenance
Finally, after the four stages, which can range as little as one or through several years, depending on how fast one goes through each, they will reach the Maintenance Stage. Now, it is VERY possible to backslide here, so it’s important to remain at the apex.
How do we do this?
We continue doing what we did in the Action Stage, which is all maintenance really is. Continue learning, continue with your consistency, and continue to build your site.
Maintenance might include collecting and building an email list, adding site maps, checking analytics, adding affiliate links, and in time, earning some income on your affiliate networks. Getting your site trusted by and indexed in Google is also a big deal here while gaining more clicks through the search engines, which also enhances visibility to other users.
Maintenance is not where lifestyle change is complete as lifestyle change is never complete, however, it is the stage you want to remain in once you reach it. I don’t like to tell people to “keep doing what you’re doing,” but I love telling them to continually improve upon what they’re doing, as with continual improvement comes greater returns.
So, I’m sure you’ve either identified the stage you’re in right now and where you may have been in the past. You may have also had flashbacks to being in certain stages as well as the length of time you may have spent in such stages.
Some of us may be in the Maintenance Stage while others may be Contemplation, Preparation, or Action. Those in Pre-Contemplation may not come across this article just yet, or they may glance at it and look away.
Some of you might be disheartened with the fact some of these stages last as long as six months, but if you spend six months in Contemplation, one month in Preparation, and six months in Action, then you’ll be in Maintenance within thirteen months. So, if you started this today, right here, right now, you can be in Maintenance by next August.
And from there, it’s all about growing.