The Right Stage for You – Four Stages of Learning and Competence

This is a revised article from back in 2012 when I first started ARM and preaching behavioral change as the key to weight loss.

As time has progressed the research has repeatedly shown that this this method of weight loss is the only sustainable one. Almost any dietary approach will work but the problem is—for how long?

Most often what slips us up is not the diet itself but our adherence to it.

While having the effective plans, systems, and methods for doing this is important; it is even more important to know where to start with each new client.

Clients that come to us have a variety of different backgrounds and are at different levels of readiness:

STAGE 1: YOU DON’T KNOW AND THEREFORE DO NOT DO

Otherwise referred to as unconscious incompetence this stage is often represented by a lack of knowledge.

You aren’t doing the right habits because you don’t know what they are and are unaware that what you are doing is counter-productive towards your overall goals.

There is a large portion of the population that fits under this category. With the media telling us one bad piece of advice after another it is no wonder there is so much confusion when it comes to eating and exercising.

Our goal at this stage is to help you recognize unproductive habits and educate you on effective ones.

STAGE 2: YOU KNOW (FOR THE MOST PART) WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING BUT FAIL TO PUT IT INTO ACTION

Referred to as conscious incompetence this is the most difficult stage for most people and where the greatest value of a trainer/coach comes in.

At this stage you are aware of what habits are helping or hurting you but struggle to put the right one’s into action.

Most people at this stage tend to blame their genetics for their lack of results but the truth is they simply have not practiced the appropriate actions long enough for them to become habit.

Our goal at this stage is to create successful training and/or nutrition habits.

This stage is all about making mistakes and learning from them, often a very difficult process for some but also an essential part of the learning processes.

Without the accountability of a coach the transition from this stage to the next is where most people struggle, they start with good intentions but quickly lose focus and revert back to doing the same actions that they began with (with a new found frustration).

STAGE 3: YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO AND ARE DOING IT…BUT WITH CONSTANT EFFORT

Also referred to as conscious competence at this stage you have learned what is needed and for the most part are practicing it, the only downside is that it requires constant concentration and effort devoted to maintaining it.

Accountability is also a must in this stage as this new habit may take months or even years before it forms.  Most of our clients reach this stage very early and it is up to us to ensure the habit stays long enough to become permanent.

Our goal at this stage is to now keep you accountable and ensure that this new habit is practiced long enough to transition to the next stage.

STAGE 4: YOU DO WITH WITHOUT KNOWING

Also referred to as unconscious competence at this stage you have practiced your new habits long enough that they no longer take much effort to sustain and can be performed with ease.

This is our ultimate goal when it comes to eating and exercising—and where transformation is truly present. It not long becomes something you “do” but rather a part of who you are.

The stress of “sticking to a diet” is now gone and food can be enjoyed without guilt.

Don’t get me know, there will still be times when your food choices may not match with your goals. However, your transition back to eating foods that are good for you will be as seamless as writing with your good hand after a day of writing with your bad one.

At this stage our goal is simple; ensure you have the tools you need to keep going.

You no longer need us to succeed but gain value from the services provided (such as exercise routines, cooking recipes, etc.).

Our relationship at this point becomes more of a friendship.

BUT HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

I get his question lot and wish there was a simple answer, but there is not.

The rate of your progression through these stages is determined by a wide range of variables that you may not have control over but more importantly you must be willing to put in consistent effort with the right actions in order for your success to occur at all.

Consider why you are reading this, chances are you have an area of your life that you would like to enhance but don’t know how to do it.

Adopting the appropriate actions for your current stage of learning is the first step.

Good things may come to those who wait but great things come to those who act.

–Adam

PS. Want to find out what stage you are at? Complete a Client Application to find out (simply don’t it submit unless you want us to follow up with you ;)).

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