When a person is in the preparation stage of behavioral change, she has made the decision to change her behavior but has yet to put the change into action. People in this stage may have made attempts at change in the past and failed because they didn't have a plan.
An example of a person in this stage is Dana, a 33- year-old mother who knows that her eating habits are unhealthy and has made dozens of failed attempts at dieting during the past few years. However, she consistently fails back to her old, familiar patterns. There have been times in which Dana has modified her eating behavior by choosing a healthier snack or ordering a salad rather then the normal high-fat dishes she routinely gets when out to eat with her husband. however, she has been unable to reduce or eliminate her junk food cravings or consistently increase her physical activity.
Dana tends to blame stressful life events for her inability to successfully change her eating behaviors. She says that she will start to exercise and eat right just as soon as her life becomes more manageable. Delaying action and previous failed attempts of behavior modification both are signs that a person is in the preparation stage of change.