Motivation for Change

William Howatt Ph.D., Ed.D.

2014 © Howatt HR

Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you will never be able to truly change at all, because you'll be forever in the control of things you can't give up. ~ Andy Law

The purpose of this tool is to help you self-evaluate how ready you are to start or where you in the change process. To change you will benefit form being aware of your current motivation and readiness. Your long-term success will be influenced by your motivation and readiness for change. Many fail to change because they are unaware change is a process. Change requires stopping some behaviour and replacing it with a new one. For example, to lose body fat one will need to change their daily habits of exercise and diet. It does not matter what the reason for change is – health, relationship, or who originated the idea. Only you can do the work or no change will happen.

There are five stages of change1.

  • Precontemplation: In this stage you are not ready to change behaviour or habits. You just do not see a problem or value in changing.
  • Contemplation: In this stage you are thinking change but taking action yet.
  • Preparation: You’re doing the work to prepare and/or practice for your change (e.g., developing the skills needed; often called capacity building).
  • Action: You are actively doing the work. You have stopped an old behaviour and replaced with a new one. You’re working daily to develop habits.
  • Maintenance: The new behaviour is integrated into your life as a new habit. The more aware you are of what stage you are at in the change process, the more likely you will be successful in making the trip to the final stage.


  • Where you see a blank, fill in the words that fit your current situation.
  • When responding to the statements, focus on the behaviour you want to change.
  • The purpose of this quick survey is to evaluate your motivation to make the change you want.
  • Your survey result can help you focus on how committed you are to make this change.


1 Prochaska, J. O. & DiClemente, C. C. (1992) Stages of change in the modification of problem behaviors. In M. Hersen, R. M. Eisler, & P. M. Miller (Eds.)  Progress in behavior  modification  (pp. 184-218). Sycamore, IL: Sycamore Press.