Summer has finally arrived here in the Northeast. I for one am very happy to have long hot days, though I wish I could spend them all on the beach with an iced coffee and a good book. But, I digress. For many people summer is about the realization of goals set in the cold winter months. Many people start the year resolving to lose 10 pounds, get in shape, eat healthier, or start working out. Many of those people want to see results by the time they are able to lounge on the beach book in hand…and many of those people fail. Now, it’s not for lack of trying, or desire, or commitment necessarily. It’s more about the goals or the goal setting.
Back in when I was in grad school at Boston College I took a class called Solution Focused therapy. In this type of therapy each client is asked three scaling questions in the first session in order to assess how they see their progress or severity of problem, willingness to work on solving problems, and confidence that there will be change. In each and every follow up session progress and confidence are reassessed. In this way, the therapist gets a sense of not only what the client sees as the focus of treatment but also how therapy is progressing, how willing the client is to putting in the work and how confident they are that therapy will help/is helping. I loved this model from the minute I learned it and have used it with clients for years.
Last week in my Nutrition Coaching group we talked about assessing clients to see how ready, willing and able they were to work toward behavior change. Immediately I thought about Solution Focused therapy and how well that worked. I got to thinking, why don’t we ask ourselves those very questions when we set goals? I think if we started to assess our own level of ready, willing and able and all that would mean, our goals may look a little different. Sure I may want to lose a few pounds but am I ready to give up weekend Bagel World bagels with my fiance? Am I willing to? Sure I’m able but I don’t know if I am ready or willing to do what it would take. However, when I trained for my marathon I was 100% ready, willing and able to put the work in. I fully committed myself to the task at hand and never looked back.
Having goals is fantastic. My goals keep me motivated to run through the cold winter and to get up early on the weekend. Making sure you are ready, willing and able to work toward those goals, to make the behavior changes necessary to achieve those goals, now that’s something worth thinking about. If you’re not quite there, maybe make the goals a bit smaller, put them off a bit longer, or think of what it might take to get you more ready willing and able. If nothing will get you there, then maybe it’s not the goal for you. Assess and reassess and I bet you’ll be achieving goals before you know it!