What is ECOC and Why Do You Need To Understand It?

As most of you know by now, I try to spend my time studying behavior change, peoples drive and productivity, and less "X's and O's" of exercise. 

As much as I think variations of squats are important to know, I think what keeps people motivated long-term on a fitness journey is much deeper than that. 

I recently came across something and I just had to share it with you. 

It's called ECOC.

Emotional Cycle of Change. 

It's the five stages we all go through when we're going through ANYTHING that is voluntary change. 

Now, as always, I'll focus on how it applies to fitness, but you'll see that this level of behavior change applies to all facets of life. 

You go through this when getting a new job, a change in a relationship, or even as small as a new idea you want to implement. 

The ECOC is 5 stages.

1. Uninformed Optimism

This is commonly referred to as the honeymoon stage. You're excited, you can't wait to get started, you see all the great things that can happen because of this stage. You're informed, meaning you don't yet realize all the costs (time, energy, money, sacrifices) associated with making this change. 

2. Informed Pessimism

This is when things get a little rough. This stage is when you learn about all the costs associated with making the change and you may start to get a little angry or frustrated. You're out of the honeymoon phase, and now because you're more informed about what's involved, you either have to find ways to push through it or give up. Obviously, we want to push through it, but know that at this stage it's important to understand what you're willing to do to make that change and find motivators to push you through it. 

3. Valley of Despair

Before it gets good, it must get really bad. The valley of despair is when your frustration and anger is at its highest. This could be a plateau with your fitness and nutrition or the negatives of balancing a long-distance relationship. Remember, for today's overview, I'm keeping it brief and general so you can put the pieces together and understand that good fitness and nutrition is a behavior change, just like any other behavior change, it all follows this path. 

4. Informed Optimism

We're on the up and up. You start to get the hope and confidence again that you had in stage one. We know now what it takes to get the results, we're willing to put in the time and pay the costs, and we're excited about what the future holds. We're motivated, we know what drives us, and we're optimistic about what is to come. 

5. Success & Fulfillment

This is the gold star. You've reached your goal, and you feel fulfilled. This may be hitting a fitness goal, finding a career you love or saying "I do" to your best friend that you've been in a relationship with. It's time to keep trudging forward, you've achieved the desired outcome, and it's time to set some new goals!

Again, for today's introduction, I kept each stage overview brief. 

In reality, each stage could be its own post, but I know some of you love this stuff, and some of you not so much. 

Just remember, success at anything, fitness or life, is not a linear path. 

It's a series of ups and downs, and if you look at any behavioral change, they all follow these five stages. 

I'd love for you to think about where you're at and let me know what questions you have. 

I'll be back tomorrow to keep the week going strong! 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling