Lecture 7: Commitment

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Hi, this is Dr. Rich Florida. And welcome back for session seven. In this session commitment, I'll kind of show you how values and acceptance and mindfulness tied together when setting values, congruent goals and then committing to them. Remember, that's the whole goal of AC coaching, is to get those clients of yours that are stuck in this sexual rut, to do a little introspection to kind of understand what their sexual and what their sexual relationship values are. And now to really take the next step and commit to taking action to get out of that rut. And the best way that I found to do that is to set measurable objectives and goals.

And we're going to talk all about this in this session. So if you haven't printed off the activity, I think there's one activity for this session, printed off, get it ready, and we're going to do it on a little bit. So let me reduce myself and let's get on with the show. Okay. All right. So again, you know, looking at the ramp model that Tim and I developed, you can see that we're moving from psychological inflexibility to psychological flexibility.

And we're looking to take some committed action, okay? And you'll see that we've talked about mindfulness, we've talked about accepting what you now become mindful of. We've talked about exploring values and looking at what's important in terms of sex and sexual relationship. And now we're going to talk about setting up an action plan, how do we get out of this rut and get to where we want to be? So commitment, in a nutshell, is the process of engaging in values congruent behavior, or coexisting with troubling thoughts and painful emotions. And again, I like to think of just bringing them along for the ride, rather than trying to control them or avoid them or eliminate them.

We're just going to throw that baggage in the rucksack we're carrying on our shoulder with all the other crap that's going on in our lives. And we're going to bring it along for the ride. So acceptance is that cognitive part of commitment and commitment is the action part. You know, except that I've got all this baggage, all this pain and suffering that comes along with taking this step and taking this action. But you know what, I'm going to commit to doing it anyway. And once again, I want to come back to this little mantra that you can use and have your clients start to just get comfortable with when they feel you know, a little squeamish about accepting and coexisting, you know, on the surface of this value.

I am willing to accept this pain and suffering while doing this. So now we're going to get to that doing part, the behavioral part and the action part and you know, gets stuck and they fall back and they don't move forward on this sexual relationship goal. It's always like, let's bring them back to that goal. And you know, a goal came from a value. And when we talked about that value, and we talked about setting this goal, we knew that there was going to be some troubling thoughts and painful emotions and little fear and anxiety and embarrassment or whatever, that come along with it. So what what I'm willing to do now is accept that while taking this action step, and this little phrase connects the values of commitment, and the acceptance part was taking values congruent sexual action.

And one of the main reason people don't commit is because of experiential avoidance. And if remember, from way back one, like in session two or three, we talked about the reasons that contribute to psychological inflexibility and getting stuck and one is avoidance. You know, Refusing to take a chance and engage in a new experience, because of all the pain and suffering. So if you know your client is stuck on something his or her partner wants to do, because it's new, and it's a little dangerous, a little exciting, you know, makes them a little anxious. And they said, well, the best way to deal with this is to avoid it, you know, then they're going to shut off that avenue and undermine the acceptance and the willingness to kind of grow and get out of that sexual rut. And often experiential avoidance is linked with outdated personal scripts and past relational frames, you know, so fusing with this outdated version of the self that no longer holds true.

And it's, you know, even I mean, the one that I use most often to give an example of this is a failed relationship and someone now having the opportunity and they met someone new And they like this person, and they've been out a couple of times, and they really want to take it to the next level, which might mean, you know, starting a sexual relationship, or the next level might mean, you know, committing to this person to become a couple, whatever it is, you know. And so that's the goal. Yet, when they close their eyes, and they see the past failed relationship, and those personal scripts and those, you know, painful images and those scary emotions, those painful emotions that are connected to those past failed relationships, and those past relational frames, it keeps them from kind of throwing that in their rucksack moving forward and coexisting with the pain that all of that brings up.

So the outdated script is the old failed relationship and all the dialogue and all the mental images that go along with it. And the past relational frames are all those old contexts in which those failed relationships were created. So I like to constantly remind clients that, hey, you're a new you. It's a new time in place. This is another new partner, since the last time you were in this failed relationship, you've grown as a person. You've gained all new cognitive and social skills.

And yeah, it's scary. And yeah, there's a lot of, you know, stuff you're carrying around in that rucksack filled with pain and suffering. But we can move forward, drop it, take a chance, and be willing to grow. So taking action I've found and you know, taking that step, and again, one way to help your client to visualize it is literally put a piece of tape or draw a line in the middle of your office. And on the other side of that line is whatever sexual relationship behavioral goal they've set. And then you say, Okay, with that, there's that line and now we're carrying this rucksack with all of our troubling thoughts and painful emotions and in order to do To take that action, we've got to cross that line, you know, it's a lot easier if you just drop that rucksack and cross that line.

And the other thing that will make it a lot easier is if you're really clear about the goals and the objectives you want in this relationship or you know, in, in reviving this current relationship or whatever. So I really think it's very, very important to have clear goals and measurable behavioral objectives. And I use a very simple formula for writing measurable objectives. It's the who will do what by when, question. So who will do what by when? Here's an example of the measurable objective related to the goal of having a baby by the end of 2017.

We will stop using birth control and try to conceive so the who is asked the couple, the what is stopped using birth control and the when is by the end of 2017. So this person this couple literally, you know, January Second 2018 can look back and say, I haven't met, where I didn't meet this objective. It's clear, it's measurable, it's behavioral. And what clear goals and measurable objectives do is they reduce ambiguity, and they give the relationship and the behavioral change structure. And I know a lot of you are artsy fartsy types and you just hate you know, this rigidity of having goals and oh my god, that guy's having goals and objectives related to sex. You know what next?

Well, most of your clients do better when things are clearer rather than more ambiguous. I know that very artistic, creative people love ambiguity, and they don't necessarily like clarity. So maybe with those folks, you may, you know, get away from such tough type measurable objectives. I still find they're helpful with all types of people. But most people I work with don't like ambiguity, they like clarity. So having clear goals and objectives gives them clarity.

And when you're dealing with a touchy subject like sex, and sexual relationships, I find that having goals kind of makes it a little easier to talk and communicate about this because it's a touchy subject for a lot of people to begin with. And chances are if you're taking this course because you have clients that are stuck on sexual relationship issues, it's a touchy subject for them. So making it a little cleaner, a little clearer, a little less ambiguous would be a good thing. Now goals to me are you know, I always say have your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground. So the goals can be lofty that's your head in the clouds part. You know, I want to have sex seven days a week, okay?

Might be a goal. And maybe realistically more with this partner. If you can get three that would be great. You know, but goals are lofty and, but still trying to be somewhat realistic. Now objectives, however, are very, very crystal clear. And they're rooted in action.

So some goals, I'll give you some generic goals and then I'll give you some sexual goals. You know, generic goals are things like finishing college, starting a business, buying a house serving in the Peace Corps, they're really not measurable in the sense that by this time I've done this, it's like, at some point, I want to finish college. At some point in my life, I like to start a business, you know, to be nice to buy a house, things like that. But they still revolve around values and taking action. So even though they're not, you know, crystal clear in terms of being measurable, they're still consistent with values. So values congruent behavior is you know, I'll go to class I'll sign up, I'll pay my tuition or whatever, for that values congruent goal of finishing college, for whatever reason, it resonates.

It's important. It has meaning for me or Starting one's own business, I always wanted to have my own business. And it wasn't until I retired from college teaching that I really was able to jump into it with both feet. But you know, that may not be a goal for other people, but I always valued being an entrepreneur. So these goals even though they're not as tight and measurable as objectives, they're still values based values congruent. And sexual goals are similar.

You might have a goal of having sex more often Well, what is more often, you know, we bet up to the eye of the beholder. Trying sexual behaviors, conceive a child, spend more time with for play, share birth control responsibilities. Those are all goals that revolve around values congruent behavior. So let's let's practice this so you can then bring it to your clients and pull out the activity writing values based goals and objectives. And I'll take a quick sip of water Okay, so this activity is designed to help clients set clear goals and measurable objectives. And it also shows how committing to these goals involves accepting the baggage that comes along with them the pain and suffering.

So the instructions are really clear, pick one of the following or read the following structions rather to your clients. Pick one of your core sexual values. And this is why I like doing the values stuff before the commitment stuff because if you've done those values activities with your clients, they now understand what a core sexual value is. They have a list of four or five or six core sexual values. And now they can do this they can use these values to set goals and objectives. So pick one of the core sexual values and describe how this value currently influences your sexual relationship.

I'll give you an example at the end. So to make the connection between the value and the current state of the client sexual relationship in terms of that value. So now one right one sexual relationship goal that is related to this value. And then and again the goal can be locked to you know, have more sex, have a baby whatever. But then the three measurable objectives are they must answer the question who will do how much of what, by when. So, what you want in this exercise is one sexual relationship goal and three measurable objectives.

Okay, so give me an example. So, in step one, one of let's imagine one of the core sexual values is having a satisfying sexual relationship with my husband after 15 years of marriage. So here's someone in a committed relationship and they want to have a satisfying sexual relationship. Okay, how does this value currently influenced my personal life? Because I value having a satisfying sexual relationship. My husband, I tried Not to let work interfere with commitments that I make to him.

I'll not stay late at work if we are supposed to meet for dinner somewhere taking a movie, or just spend time together after work. My job often puts demands upon my time, I travel often for work. So when I'm not on the road, I guard my time that I have with my husband. So that's an example of how this value plays out in the relationship. Okay, so one personal goal that I have related to this is I and again, being a little more concrete here. I would like to make love with my husband as often as possible.

That's the goal. And three measurable objectives related to this goal. And again, these answer the question who will do how much of what by when, at least four times a week, I will express my desire and availability to have sex with my husband, doesn't mean we're necessarily going to have sex four times a week, but I will, you know, show that I'm willing and available second objective next month, I will not cancel any scheduled dinner or kind of kinds of dates with my husband because of work unless it is an extreme emergency that I absolutely cannot avoid things like I'll get fired, I won't get this promotion. Okay. And then the third one is kind of silly. I don't know if you're into this or not, but this client, this is what she said next week, I will text my husband a couple of times to let him know, I still desire him sexually.

So you know, sending sexy texts, again, not advocating this. This is just something that the person said and you know, is it measurable? Yeah, next week. Hi. So the who's made the when is next week, the what is I will send these sexual text messages a couple of times, to let I know, let him know I desire him sexually. And again, what are these relating to they're relating to the goal of I would like to make love with my husband as often impossible.

So the objectives are tying into that, you know, expressing availability being playful, and you know, having the time set aside that could possibly convert to a lovemaking session. So then, you know, again going with the instructions of the clients after you've set your goals and written your objectives, you need to periodically review your progress. So you can set it up with your clients how often they want to review their goals and objectives. Again, it depends on how long term the goals are. If it's a goal that'll be by the end of the month, then you know, it's fairly easy to review them in a couple times a week for the next four weeks. If it's a goal that comes to the end of the year, then you don't have to review them as periodically.

Now, if you've written them correctly, your objective should include a timeframe and be easy to evaluate. After reviewing your progress, it's okay if you decide to revise your timeframes, and add or delete objectives, while goals and objectives help give your life structure. They said also posts will They should also be flexible enough to adapt to change. And I'm a real big believer in this, I want you to say upfront your clients, it's okay to tinker with your objectives. You know, sometimes we'll set a timeframe, or client will set a timeframe that seems to make sense to them. And then they're finding that for a variety of reasons, you know, life got in the way and they've got to extend it, or they've written an objective that just doesn't resonate anymore and they want to cancel it's okay to do that.

Now, I know some of you and your clients are going to perceive setting measurable objectives for things like sex to be unrealistic. And you know, you'll say sex should be unplanned and left alone to flow naturally. Well, there is validity and not planning everything in your life. But your sex life is too important, I think to be left entirely to chance. And again, especially If the client sitting in front of you, is coming to you, because they're stuck, so if they're stuck, it means that leaving things unplanned, hasn't worked out all that wonderfully. And they need a little help.

I like to try and think of sexual goals and objectives as your sexual relationship insurance policy, right? As long as you've got, you know, something that's, you know, on paper as a plan. I mean, at least you know, you can say, gee, we're kind of trying to work through this together. Because when things get ambiguous, and things get vague, and things are not stated clearly, in couples, sometimes they you know, things are left to wonder, like, Gee, I wonder how he really feels or how she really feels. But if you have this little game plan of goals and objectives written out together, then I like to see that as little insurance policy and it ensures that a day doesn't pass where you don't Do something to strengthen your sexual relationship. Okay.

So I know that's very structured. And a lot of you are saying, Oh my god, and I can never do this, like written goals and objectives, things for sexuality, but remember, get out of your head and get into the head of your client who's stuck in a sexual rut, they might need a little more structure. The other thing is, I mean, you probably have goal setting and objective writing, you know, activities and things that you've already been doing if you're a coach, so you may want to tweak them to make them a little more sexual in nature. I know there are so many different ways to write goals and there's so many crazy acronyms for you know, for goals. So, whatever works for you use, but try and get them to commit to putting it down on writing. Because I think it'll help give them structure to work to try if it doesn't work out.

As I said, you know, you can always revise, you can always tell your client, you know what, maybe this isn't working for you. So let's do something else. All right. Now the last two sessions on becoming more flexible, are going to be very, very new and unlike anything you've ever experienced, unless you've had some x training in your past, so bear with me on the next two, but they will definitely show you how to tie it all together. So I'll see you in session eight. Let me get out of here.

All right, so again, I'll see in session eight

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