Woohoo! You've made it to the Action Stage! You have weighed the pros and cons of one of your behaviors and have bravely come to the conclusion that the cons outweigh the pros. You have also spent time to research the barriers that may come along the way and to create a plan for when these barriers arise. You have created your short-term goals (STGs) and long-term goals (LTGs.) Now, you are ready to jump in to action (corny pun intended)!
In the action stage, you are making the necessary time and energy commitments to actually carry out your goals. You are consciously marking down how many cigarettes you are smoking each day and making sure the number is lower than the one you set up in your STG. You are tracking how many minutes you are doing an aerobic activity for if your STG is to increase the amount of time you spend doing that a week to improve your heart's health.
In the action stage, you are also modifying your STGs as you achieve them. You may be changing your LTGs as you achieve those as well. For example, if after a week, you have been able to reach your STG of smoking only 10 cigarettes a day every day quite easily, you might want to change the following week's STG to smoking 9 cigarettes a day for a week. However, during this second week, you are only able to smoke 9 cigarettes a day for 3 out of the 7 days. Do not despair! In this case, you will want to do some self-reflection and write down what worked for you during those 3 days in which you did smoke only 9 cigarettes. For your third week's goals, you might want to change your goal to smoking 9 cigarettes a day 4 days out of the week (instead of every day).
In this same example, maybe your LTG in a three month period is to smoke less than 9 cigarettes a day, and by that time, you are already easily smoking less than 8 cigarettes a day. You are also interested in continuing to limit your smoking, so you can then change your LTG to smoking less than 7 cigarettes a day.
So the action phase is as much carrying out your goal as it is spending time to continuously reassess your progress and change existing goals. If you are not comfortable or proficient in reassessing and modifying your goals, as most people are not, a lifestyle consultant can teach you how and/or guide you in the right direction.