Ready, Willing, and Able: How to Change Your Training Behaviour

This past Friday, Jon Mills, a member of the Academie Duello instruction team and the principal fitness trainer of Black Dog Strength and Nutrition here in Vancouver, lead a workshop on coaching practices for the Duello instruction team. One of the central themes was Motivational Interviewing as a tool for helping students move toward behavioural change.

The reality is that to achieve any goal outside of your current path requires behavioural change, whether that is the goal of simply learning something new, achieving a particular martial goal, or making a change for your health. To do these things you may need to take on new weekly or daily practices, alter an existing habit or establish a new one. As we all know, making these sorts of changes is often easier said than done.

One of the ideas that Jon presented that I particularly enjoyed was that of speaking with a client (or yourself) in terms of “Ready, Willing, and Able.”

  1. Ready: Is this the right time to make this change? Are you prepared logistically, emotionally, mentally? What do you need to do to become prepared?
  2. Willing: Do you have the willingness to make this change? Are you doing it for you or for others or some other less motivating reason?
  3. Able: Do you have the capacity financially, in your schedule, or in your body to make this change? It’s important to be practical about what’s actually within your means. If you’re unsure, seek some expert advice. Set a goal that fits within what can be reasonably accomplished.

Build on Small Wins

These things can be considered in degrees. Perhaps you are not yet ready, willing, or able to take on a life changing alteration to your routine, but how about a small one? I frequently advocate the five-minutes-per-day practice regimen.

Jon suggested rating a course of action on a scale of one to ten based on your belief of success, i.e. “On a scale of 1/10 how likely are you to go through with this plan?” Perhaps taking on a new 1 hour per day training program only rates at a 3/10. What about 5 minutes per day for one week? If that hits at least a 9/10, then do that. Don’t worry that it’s small. Build on success and increase the commitment after you hit your first mark. Keep rating and building from there. Little wins over a persistent period are what really make big changes.

Thanks Jon for the great food for thought. I recommend checking out Jon’s website and the motivational interviewing book linked above!