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. 

  1. 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
  2. Go to climbing gym 3 days per week, from 3pm-6pm: no more, no less
  3. Begin every session with 20 minutes of stretching.
  4. Stretch every day no matter what
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Always have extra clothing and snacks around to keep everything the right temperature and the right level energized
  8. Daily visualization of completing problems in process
  9. Create a program for “triggering the zone” (read The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin for a good discussion)
  10. Keep track of variables in a notebook to understand patterns
  11. 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.

Secret Boulders
Secret Boulders
Posted by:Brook DeLorme

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