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Embrace Slow Change

How to change a clients behaviour
Posted by Nick Grantham

Trying to get a client to change their behaviour is tricky and it can sometimes take a long time. The important thing is not to become frustrated. Slow change can be good. In a world where everyone wants everything to happen in a hurry there are times when we just need to embrace slow change.

Instead of always going for the easy win and quick fix there are times when we need to embrace slow change – the drip feed that eventually results in a light bulb moment when your client actually gets it…and once they get it, the change will stick.

Recognising where your clients are in the change process is important.

#1 Pre Contemplation

It’s not that they can’t see the solution. It’s that they can’t see the problem. Chances are they are under pressure to change from others… spouses, parents, coaches…YOU! They don’t want to change and will resist change! I’ve seen this with fat loss clients as well as super talented young athletes. They’re not training because THEY want to, they are training because someone else wants them to! This is doomed to failure – everyone will become frustrated.

#2 Contemplation

At this stage the client wants to stop feeling so stuck. They now know what needs to be done and start to think about making a change. Many contemplators have indefinite plans to take action within the next few months. “THEY KNOW THE DESTINATION, AND EVEN HOW TO GET THERE, BUT ARE NOT READY TO GO YET”

#3 Preparation

Most clients in the preparation stage are planning to take action and are making the final adjustments before they begin to change their behaviour. They may still need a little convincing.

#4 Action

This is when the changes start. Your client will overtly modify their behaviour and their surroundings. They will make the move for which they have been preparing. This is a crucial stage and requires the greatest commitment of time and energy.


Change never ends with action and consistency of approach is vital. Without a strong commitment to maintenance, there will surely be relapse, usually to recontemplation or contemplation stage.


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