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The Readiness to Change Ruler: Are You Ready to Change?

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The Readiness to Change Ruler is exactly what it sounds like: a tool used to assess how ready or willing someone is to change.

The ruler is a continuum from “Not prepared to change” to “Already changing.” It helps to determine where a person currently is within the stages of change and how motivated he or she is to change a specific behavior, such as addiction.

How It Works

After marking a point along the continuum, the addict may be asked why he or she did not mark a spot closer to “Not prepared to change,” which elicits motivational responses. These statements can help the addict realize how far he or she has already come. They may also serve as reminders for why the addict wants to change, and they can renew his or her faith that change is possible.

The addict may then be asked what needs to happen in order for him or her to get closer to “Already changing,” which helps this person identify obstacles that appear to be preventing him or her from progressing. After these perceived barriers are identified, the addict may be asked to come up with suggestions for overcoming them as well as specific actions that he or she can focus on until the next assessment takes place.

Some other questions the addict may be asked include:

  • • What are some positive things about the way you’re currently trying to change?
  • • What would be a positive result of changing?
  • • What’s helping you maintain a change in your behavior?
  • • If you’ve relapsed, what did you learn from the experience that may help you when you attempt sobriety again?

Many people have to go through the stages of change several times before the attempt is successful and the change in behavior lasts.

Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)