According to the trans theoretical model of change, individuals go through stages of progress as they implement change. Individuals go through pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, and action within the first six months of installing a new habit. Research has indicated that many individuals stop exercising during the first three to six months. For individuals that have made it through the first six months, they then enter the stage of maintenance.
The most important factor in the maintenance stage is to create the proper environment for continued success. A healthy social network is a good place to start. Spending time with family and friends that maintain healthy lifestyles can enhance the individuals chance to create permanent change. Periodically or regularly the individual should maintain a journal. Journaling is a great tool for monitoring your habits, and re-energize habits that are slipping. Working with a qualified health coach is another strategy to help motivate, educate, and guide the individual for continued success. Setting up rewards through this stage is another tool the individual can utilize to increase the likelihood of permanent change.
An individual in the maintenance stage is working towards the final stage of change: termination. Behavioral changes can take years to fully develop within an individual. Once termination has been meant the individual cannot see themselves stopping the habit. The habit becomes them.