Facilitating successful behavior change: Beyond goal setting to goal flourishing


Nowack, K. (2017). Facilitating successful behavior change: Beyond goal setting to goal flourishing. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 69:153-171.


Goal setting and related concepts are central to rehabilitation, but how many of us know how to maximize our clients’ success in setting and attaining their goals? Nowack’s article provides a brief but excellent summary of the factors to consider in doing just that. Clients do not come to rehabilitation as tabulae rasae; Nowack reminds us that we need to consider the extent to which our clients are motivated to try new things and to risk failure, among other important individual differences. Speaking of failure, the article includes a particularly enlightening perspective on its value in goal attainment. There is a good summary of basic information on different types of goals (I have always felt that so-called “learning goals” are neglected in rehabilitation) and how to assess and maximize client motivation toward them. Of particular interest is a treatment of habit formation, another concept that, if neglected, makes our best efforts fall short of long-term behavior change.

 I PICKED THIS ARTICLE BECAUSE it appeared in a journal that is perhaps not widely read by rehabilitation psychologists, yet its treatment of concepts important to goal management seems relevant and clinically useful to many of us.

 THIS MONTH’S REHAB SCIENCE SPOTLIGHT was selected by Tessa Hart, PhD, Institute Scientist at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute and a member of Division 22’s Science Committee.