The Spiral Of Change





When mastering a new skill, we go through stages of competence.

The Stages Of Competence

Stage 1 is unconcious incompetence. It’s that stage when you think you’ll be able to do something because someone who is a master makes it look easy and you get started, only to find that you suck and it’s hard!!

This is me and yoga at the moment.

My trainer makes it look soooooo easy and elegant and beautiful.

I look and feel like this:


At first it can feel reeeeeally awkward. It’s like wading through treacle and it takes every ounce of strength to keep going. This is now stage 2 and is known as conscious incompentance.

Then as time goes on, the thing you found hard starts to get easier – you’re not fluent yet, but you’re on your way. This is stage 3 and known as conscious competence.

And one day, you’re so fluent you forgot how hard it was to begin! This is known as unconcious competence!

At some time in the future I hope that I’ll feel like this with yoga!

The good news is that this is the normal cycle that EVERYONE goes through – no one is born knowing how to do something. We might all have natural gifts that help us along the way, but ultimately we all start from scratch.

So how does this relate to money?

It is worth knowing the stages of competence because if you know where you are, you can suddenly see the steps laid out before you. It feels “do-able”.


If you’ve never used the money pie method to manage your money, then it will feel really weird at first.

Same goes with going cold turkey on using a credit card. It’s all a bit odd and scary at first.

And that’s NORMAL!

But in order to climb up the staircase, we also go through a spiral of change again and again and again.

I use this with patients who I want to talk about stopping smoking or getting of drugs or alcohol. I know that the more times I see someone and ask the same question, eventually I might be able to shift them along the cycle to the next stage and closer towards taking action.

You might notice that there is a stage called relapse, and this is because we can’t all be perfectly moving through these stages without slipping up. Money is no different. We vow to be better with money this month, but then we might overspend on something and go right back to the beginning again.

The idea is that we then learn from the mistake and do better next time – and so on and so on until we nail it!

The Spiral Of Change

The spiral of change starts with precontemplation. This is where we wouldn’t even consider making a change. We’re happy with the status quo.

Then moving onto contemplation, we get the idea that a problem exists, but taking action isn’t something we’re prepared to do.

Eventually we get to preparation stage – and this is when we start looking at how to make a change – perhaps we start seeing articles or talking with friends to find out what to get started with.

After preparation, we reach action, and this is when modification of behaviour begins!

Maintenance is when the change is replacing old behaviours and habits, and relapse is as expected – we we fall back into an old pattern of behaviour again.

It is necessary to follow all of these steps, and it is ok to relapse and start again.


Things to watch out for

At any stage in the cycle, other people who are not as enlightened as you can derail your progress. It’s especially important to be aware that they may come from those closest to you.

Others might resist you making changes because it’s SCARY to them. If you change, where does that leave them?

So when you’re making changes to MONEY in particular, it helps to surround yourself with likeminded people to talk about it with, rather than your spouse of your friend who might not understand or be supportive.

You might want to come into my free private facebook group for this!

Final Thoughts

I hope you found that useful – understanding that change is a well documented process is important. I find it reassuring, and I know that if I push through the had times, life will be much easier on the other side!

I’d love to know how you get on – feel free to comment below or come into the facebook group.

Until next time,




If you enjoyed that, why not try:


Saving vs Investing Title Picture


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *