The beginning of a new year has the appeal of an exciting and promising time. Many people experience the flow of new ideas, fresh motivation, and ambitious personal goals during this time. And yet, towards the end of January, most of us realize that having strong determination and clear goals are not all it takes to make them happen. As one study shows, roughly 80% of people who have made New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February.
So what happens to our eagerness to achieve a goal, or two, in the new year? It seems that as we start pondering all the action and effort required to achieve our goals, our minds begin to remind us of past failure and fruitless labour that did not pay off before. As we further remind ourselves of the trials and errors in our past, our goals become fuzzier, scarier, and less achievable. Fear of failure takes the place of burning motivation. Gradually, we lose sight of our initially clear vision and settle for the comfort of familiar and habitual routines which do not move us forward. Without even attempting to make our goals happen, we experience a mental block that paralyzes our ability to transform our goals into reality.
Whether coaches want to address their own mental setbacks or help their coaching clients to do same, they are equipped with effective coaching tools that work best for moving past blocks of various kinds. In Solution-Focused coaching specifically, there are numerous coaching exercises proven to effectively deal with mental setbacks and generate successful solutions in this area. For the purposes of this article, we are going to review one such highly effective and easy tool which Solution-Focused coaches use to generate positive action-oriented states, called the “As-If Frame.”
As master coach Marilyn Atkinson describes in this video, the As-If Frame is the essence of coaching, and at the core of its effectiveness is its focus on the question – “If I am at living at my fullest and best self today, what would I be doing and how would I be showing up today?” As Marilyn explains, when coaches work with this tool, they are aware that past failures and negative history have no effective power on their way to moving beyond a specific mental block. Mental blocks stem from fear and self-limiting beliefs, which can be overcome by a completely different focus of the As-If Frame visualization. As such, a coach can ask their client to visualize a present state of positive ability and confidence, and further generate action steps based on this state of resourcefulness.
When working with As-If Frame, a coach can apply the lens of the successful accomplishment of a goal. Most people find that turning off the negative self-talk, which reminds them about past failures, is a necessary but not sufficient step to defeating their mental blocks. However, when they combine it with solution-oriented As-If Frame exercise, they often experience a breakthrough. The As-If Frame’s unique focus on experiencing future positive states in the present moment can dissolve a persistent mental block.