Yesterday I played golf and had fun. Now for some of you this seems like an obvious thing- you love golf and how fun to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon out on the course. But for me golf is pure drudgery. It’s long and slow and boring… at least that is how I have felt since the last time I tried to play years ago. But yesterday in my desperation to get some exercise outside of the gym I joined my husband for 9 holes at an easy course. It was hotter than I expected and very buggy but surprisingly I really enjoyed myself. I shot pretty well for a beginner, hubby actually cheered me on, and at the end despite being sweaty I genuinely felt like I could go out there and do it again soon.

While that’s great news for me, I’m sure you are saying what does this have to do with you?

Well, my new appreciation for golf got me to thinking about one of the challenges my clients and I face all the time…resistance to trying again. So often we try a multitude of different things to solve our problems or improve our lives and many of them don’t work.

The truth is that many people find themselves in my office for exactly that reason. They have run out of ideas to try and are hoping that I might have some new suggestions. I usually do but I also often find that I am encouraging people to try things that they have done in the past without success and no one wants to do it.

It’s a little like my golf experience. I’ve played before, I even decided at one point that it would be my new sport but in the end I found it long and slow and boring {did I already say that?!} and so I stopped. And to be completely honest, I also found that I stink at it and my lack of success is probably the number one reason for quitting. I {like most people} do not like to fail and when I do it’s hard to try it again. But often that is where our success really lies… right after our failure.

Maybe I learned to be more patient or understand how to swing the golf club better. Maybe my husband has become a better teacher or we have both learned to be a little less competitive. Or maybe over the years I have grown enough that I can see golf not as something to win at but as an opportunity to take care of myself {it’s great exercise} and my relationship {how often do you get to spend 2-3 uninterrupted hours with your spouse} all at the same time.

As my perspective changed, my ability to enjoy the experience increased. And so it is with the myriad of things that I {and other therapists} encourage you to try. Just because date night or family meetings or relaxation hasn’t worked before doesn’t always mean that it’s a bad idea. Sometimes it just means we need to learn a little more and take a new perspective before we try it again. The next time just might be a success.