Saturday, July 13, 2013

Better Climbing: Change, Part II

Be mercilessly merciful. That is the attitude to take with yourself when it comes to changing. You can debate about what tactics to employ for any given behavioral goal, but once you have made the decision, then follow through in a singular, committed and laser-like, focused manner.

There is no "try" there is only "do".

I do not think that at the point of commitment it makes any sense to make incremental steps towards your goal. I believe that success depends on seeing this as a black and white issue.

A common bad habit with climbers is foot placement. A inefficient behavior is one of placing your foot in a sloppy manner, imprecisely, not keeping your eyes on the foothold until the foot is engaged, pumping it a couple of times to see if it will hold, etc. This basic deficiency must be overcome if you want to make any further progress in climbing. So, how? The next time you put your foot on a hold, do it with precision, exactness and trust. Easy, right? and yes I know I'm a genius at teaching climbing and you can send me your payments via my soon to come pay-pal account.

But, really the trick to this is to stop kidding yourself into thinking that you have to "try and be better with your feet". Put your fucking foot on the next foothold with concentration and precision! There are no marks for this - it's "pass / fail". Stop being nice to yourself and say, "well, I'm trying", or "I almost got it now". That is all a bunch of politically correct self-delussional talk that's just a bunch of crap. You have this one chance to place your foot properly: you can either fuck it up and make it harder to do the next time, or you can do it right - right now!

This, by the way, is the hard part of mastery and why in climbing that people are content to say, "I just climb to relax", or "I don't care about the grade, I just want to have fun". It is easy to ignore that feeling deep down that you are not really performing to your best and utilizing what you were given to the best of your powers.

Self-Awarness Exercise: Answer The Questions
  1. In what context do non-productive or self-sabotaging behaviors come forth?
  2. Why do you repeat the behavior?
  3. What are you holding onto that gives you the sense of short-term comfort?
  4. Why are you avoiding the confrontation of changing?
  5. Why does the old habit / behavior have power over you?
  6. Does the bad habit or behavior supply something that feeds your ego?
  7. What is the excuse for not changing or embracing the new productive behavior?
Tactics For Change
  • Plan counter strategies & remain flexible: have a day-to-day, moment-to-moment awareness
  • Get rid of bad stuff: negative outside influences, people, situations, food, drink, etc., etc., that lead you down the path of self-sabotaging behavior and giving in to inner weakness - yes, this does sound harsh but you are responsible for the control of your physical, mental and emotional environment
  • The people you climb with mater immensely: you want partners that are following the same path as you - you absorb so much consciously and subconsciously from who you climb with; make sure what you absorb is productive!
  • Focus particularly on changing the imputes that initiates a routine that now longer is productive, or leads you down the path to an old bad habit - if you are aware of how the chain of events start, then you can break it
  • Publicize your new behavior and changes
  • Do it together: engage in the process of changing with like-minded partners and utilize their help
The rewards of going through these processes time and time again are that you increase your personal power. Each time you confront a non-productive behavior is a challenge that you will enter into with less apprehension as each habit is confronted and dealt with. Before you know it anything seems possible as you begin to play in the realm of personal power.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Climb Better: Change, Part I

Every climber has the power to make significant improvements in his or her ability at all levels of experience, fitness and age. The quickest way to do this, is to make changes to your routine in which you eliminate non-productive habits and behaviors. 

As a human we desire, some more - some less, consistency, predictability and regularity. In some cultures, and segments of society this is a very strong influence. The Zen idea that everything is in a state of transformation, is the counter application: The only constant is change.

The climber who is always thinking of ways to mix things up, find a better solution, change inner and outer environments, tinker with all elements of training, climb in new areas, adjust nutrition, etc., etc., is going to progress at a much quicker rate, have more personal power and have the physical and mental basis for a long term, satisfying, climbing career.

The flip side of this situation is the climber that is stuck in perhaps what once was a productive routine that is no longer bringing results: Signs of this are frustration, a sense that you are "punching your time card" and clocking-in for a mundane climbing session, you are stuck doing the same warm-ups, have the feeling that you are always, "starting over again", repeatedly climb the same route that is at your highest level and your on-sight level is more than three letter grades below your best red point (i.e. , red point level at 7a, on-sight level 6b).

Keep These Points in Mind:
Change is uncomfortable, causes struggle and pain - especially emotional

Always find ways to do something different to bring about a novel (good) stress to your body & mind applying the principal of homeostasis

Bad / Old / Outdated habits & behaviors are engrained and comfortable therefore they feel, "right"

Change is a process of learning, developing and forming new habits and making them feel, "right"

Change is psychologically unpleasant and the initial reaction is avoidance

Establishing new behaviors will lead to increasing personal power and is compounded everytime your face up to and push past the discomfort

The moment of change is what is most painful

Temporary setbacks are normal and expected: acknowledge them - stop behavior - re-establish commitment to change - start fresh immediately from the present moment

Do not let relapses lead to sabotaging the whole process

Self-sabotaging behavior is a psychological disfunction of not valuing and having faith in yourself - "I'm just a 6a (or insert any grade) climber and can't improve because I'm too heavy, not strong enough, too old, inexperienced, not in climbing shape, don't have the nerves, scared, can't climb full-time, work too much, etc., etc.

Make use of external motivators: tell friends, partners, trainers, regulars at the crag or gym, etc., about your new habits & behaviors you want to acquire

Keep the benefits of changes and new behaviors in the forefront

Changing and the acquisition of new, productive behaviors is a tactical exercise in self-experimentation: failure = ineffective tactics, not personal weakness!