Sometimes I like to suggest goals as a conditional statement, to try to get my subconscious to buy-in without much effort on my (conscious) part. So, instead of proposing something as a directive, I’ll make a list and be like, Well, if I were to aim towards such and such a goal, here are the discrete steps I would take in order to do that.
If, for instance, I were to put together a plan to climb harder, here’s my list of concrete things I would do.
- eat in a more organized and predictable way (what follows is the specific diet I would give myself, based on what I know about how I feel.)
- yogurt and granola breakfast, coffee+ cream 7am
- 3 eggs and bread and cheese lunch, kombucha or juice, 11:30am
- afternoon snack: breve cappuccino, probar or pb&j, chocolate 230pm
- dinner: rice, vegetables, probably thai-style 630pm
- dessert if desired
- make adjustments to this program if I sense a lack of nutrients or something
- Go to climbing gym 3 days per week, from 3pm-6pm: no more, no less
- Begin every session with 20 minutes of stretching.
- Stretch every day no matter what
- Get emotions around failure under control
- be procedural about quantifying: Typically, how many easy lead routes can I do before I can’t finish one clean? How does my energy capacity work? How much rest do I need? How do I condense those rest periods?
- make videos of problems for review
- Have a plan for dealing with fear
- learn how to fall when bouldering: find a gymnastics or martial arts instructor to give me specific lessons about falling
- Always have extra clothing and snacks around to keep everything the right temperature and the right level energized
- Daily visualization of completing problems in process
- Create a program for “triggering the zone” (read The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin for a good discussion)
- Keep track of variables in a notebook to understand patterns
- Follow a specific (climbing) program to develop skills + strength in a well-rounded manner.
Maybe, having defined them, it will be easier to get my subconscious to add them in. Maybe it won’t, because there is, ultimately, a time and energy tradeoff. But either way, posing the list as a hypothetical provides a lot of flexibility for the different levels of consciousness to consider it in a stress-free environment.