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Bad / Old / Outdated habits & behaviors are engrained and comfortable therefore they feel, "right"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

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