Helia Fitness women's personal training change

The 4-Hs of Change

There’s a reason why sayings such as, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” exist. Changing habits is difficult…but not impossible. Scientists have developed very specific stages of change, what’s referred to as the Transtheoretical Model of Change—or what I like to call, the 4-Hs.


Any change begins with a desire to do so. I call this the heart level. When contemplating making a change, ask yourself, “Do I really want to make this change…or am I making it because my spouse (or children or coworkers or friends…) want me to?” The amount of external motivation anyone needs differs person-to-person. Some need it more than others to be able to make changes and make them last. However, everyone needs intrinsic motivation—that deep-down desire to make the change for yourself, regardless of what anyone else thinks or wants. Without intrinsic motivation, you may be able to make a change for the short-term…but not for the long-haul.


The head level is that moment of choice—when you actually choose to make the change. It’s the time when you say, “Yes, I really want to make this change, I’m ready to put the work into making this change, I’m going to do it!” The head level is the bridge between wanting to change and actually doing it.


Here’s where the action takes place—the hands level. It’s time to stop just talking about making this change and start doing it. At the hands level you’ll be putting your plan of action together, designing goals around your change, and moving forward with your plan. Remember: progress, not perfection. Plan for obstacles, anticipate setbacks…expect success!

One very key ingredient in your success is our last H: honesty. By being honest with yourself throughout the entire change process, you’ll know for sure if you’re ready to make this change—and if not, why. You’ll be able to admit when you’ve used an excuse as a barrier to change (i.e. But she gave me the donut! I didn’t want to hurt her feelings…). And you can take an honest look at past failings to make this change so that you can learn from them and turn them into success this time around. You can do it!

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