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Don’t Let First Impression Fool You. Check These 7 Things Instead

Don’t Let First Impression Fool You. Check These 7 Things Instead

Have you often been let down by people you considered to be your friends? Ever been fooled by people who you thought were your well-wishers, but got backstabbed by them? Then it’s possible that you may be a poor judge of people and end up taking them at face value at first impression, instead of really getting to know them beforehand…

As human beings, we need people around us and need to be in social contact with each other. This is why we make friends and spend time in each other’s company – and why we actively seek out people we like to be with. Sometimes though, it’s easy to be taken in by a person’s outward charm, forming a first impression, only to later discover that from the inside, they are completely different.

Don’t get us wrong, we are not trying to say that the world is a bad place, but to know whether we can actually be lasting friends with someone, it’s very important to know the other person truly to avoid any unpleasant discoveries or situations later on… [1]

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The idea is not to judge people – the idea is to know people fully and make the right decisions about them so as to not be fooled by those who don’t have good wishes for us, or not underestimate those who may not look the part but are really nice people. This is why a first impression, dazzling as it may be, does not hold true many a time.

Things that Can Help You Quickly Evaluate a Person

Whether you are hiring someone, or making a new friend or even getting romantically involved with someone – it is important not to fall for surface beauty and dig a little deeper about how the person actually is on the inside. This is so that we form the company we actually want or need, instead of having people who increase negativity around us and hold us back from reaching our true potential. Read and learn about how you can be a better judge of people, to see if the person you just encountered can actually be a good addition to your life… [2]

How Much Do They Listen vs. Talk?

People, who are likely to be a good addition in your life, are the ones who are good listeners. They don’t just hear what you have to say but are concerned and caring enough to actually listen to all that you are saying, and even all that you are not. These are the people who are interested in you and care for you, and so they are willing to invest their time and attention on you. They will listen to you, try and make changes for you and even interrupt you if they feel you have misunderstood them or are heading the wrong way. Many might pretend to listen to you to leave a good first impression but then how long will that false interest last? If someone perpetually interrupts you when you talk, they are probably only interested in themselves and you may be barking up the wrong tree in this case. [3]

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Are They Intrinsically Kind?

People who are “nice” on the inside, make a special effort to treat the everyday people they encounter nicely. Basically, it’s all about the magic words and of course, having a sunny disposition. Someone who considers themselves to be too high up to pay any attention to the service providers around them are likely to be mean of heart and small of mind. You want to have kind people around you or even working for you – simply because they make the world, and especially your world, a little better and a lot brighter.

As Mark Twain said, “Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see!”

Do They “Act On” or “React To” What You Say?

You may have noticed – that when you give the same feedback or comment to any two or more people, you get varied results. Some people take what you said or asked them to do in a positive manner and use criticism constructively as well. Still, others tend to take offense to what you say and react with anger, resentment, and negativity. Do you really want to be around such people? Everyone can pretend goodness to leave a positive first impression but anger shows through sooner or later. [4]

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Do They Make You Feel Warm, or Embarrassed?

Frankly, everyone likes to be appreciated and loved. If someone comes up to you and says nice things, it is likely to make you feel happy, loved and all fuzzy inside. And yet there are times when flattery makes you uncomfortable or even embarrassed, be it at first impression or later. These are the people you’d probably want to avoid because your gut might be telling you that their sweet words have an agenda behind them which may be making you downright uncomfortable. Steer clear or make your feelings clear too…

Flattery looks like friendship just like a wolf looks like a dog!

Are They Sunshine People or Those From Darkness?

There are some of those in the world you can literally light up a dismal atmosphere simply by being themselves. And yet there are those who can freeze conversation, kill laughter and leave you feeling vaguely depressed about yourself and your life. The first kind of people have positive energy – they are happy people who like to spread happiness and smiles and if you have them as a friend, count your lucky stars. They are also those with far too much of negativity in them, and can quickly turn a sunny day dark and dismal. These are the people who hold you back from reaching your true potential and pass on their negative energy to you. [5]

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Can You Spend A While With This Person?

Many of us often make friends that we then go long lengths to avoid. These are the people who are an intrinsic and basic mismatch with us. They may be nice people, but they are not the kind our personality gels with. It could be a matter of opposing beliefs, varied interests or just a personality mismatch. If we find spending time with that person a drag, the relationship is not going to last much now, is it?

Do They Set Off Warning Signs In Your Gut?

The heart can be fooled and the mind can be swayed but the gut gives you the truest reading of anyone, the very first time you meet them. They are times when you may find someone off-putting, for no given reason but your instinct – and yet you still end up being in contact with them. Only to have your gut proven right in the end! As human beings, un-backed by science, we do end up picking up on the vibes people give off – and sometimes those vibes are most definitely negative. Heed yourself then, and approach cautiously. Not to say that you should ban that person from your life; for making snap decisions based on a frist impression isn’t right. You can certainly approach the next few meetings with eyes open wide, and a mind and heart tuned to pick up further strangeness. [6]

Ultimately, the decision of who you want to be friends with, in love with or even work with lies with you. Don’t be in a hurry to form an impression, and don’t always think that your first impression about someone is a 100% correct. People have nuances and facets and more importantly, sometimes people do change as well, as well as trying to appear to be what they are not – learn to read between and behind the lines and keep your heart, head, eyes, and ears wide open to avoid getting hurt or being betrayed! [7]

Reference

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Last Updated on October 30, 2019

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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