The days are getting longer, the air feels a little warmer, the spring is coming. Now is the time to get into the climbing gym and get ready for the season, so you can reap the fruit throughout the summer. But what happens when you come home from work (spring fatigue kicks in, you’ve had a huge day) you have a little rest on the sofa, then find there is no willpower to get you back off it again?
Enter: The Girls Motivation Guide For When You Just Can’t Be Bothered.
1. Find a buddy
We all have that one person who lets us know when to ‘sort it out mate’. Make them your accountability buddy, and you are less likely to stay sat on the couch! If you are that person, you will be held accountable for being there for your mate and get them and yourself to a vertical wall.
2. Have your kit in your car.
Being organised is half the battle. If you have systems in place which make is easy, you will do it. Go climbing before, or straight after work. Packing your gym gear, work clothes, and lunch the night before makes for less speed bumps (aka excuses and mental battles) on route to the climbing gym, then it’s one way to send city!
3. Broadcast your intentions on social media
Often having a little confessional over social media is remedy enough. Posting a small video saying “I know I need to go climbing, but I am just not feeling it today” will firstly verbalise your mental struggle, and as soon as you do that, it becomes a little more laughable, diminishing the problem. Either that or you will get a few cheery messages from friends egging you on.
4. Listen to motivational music while doing your activity
I don’t care what anybody says, I love youtube motivational videos. There, I said it. They get me amped, and when done with some endorphin pumping activity you feel like the Rock himself after a workout. If that’s not your thing, try some great uplifting tunes to get your hips ‘a twist’n, arms ‘a swing’n and in the mood for a climb! Ain’t no mountain high enough anybody?
5. Take small steps – break a large task into smaller tasks
All you need to do is get your shoes on. All you need to do it step outside the door. That is what I tell myself to coax this ‘world’s-truly-laziest-climber’ out the door. And it works. Don’t think about the massive story you are telling yourself about the effort it takes to: get to the climbing wall, do the workout, come home, get ready for tomorrow etcetera etcetera. All a climb is, is a bunch of really small tasks that are really no effort at all. Just like getting your shoes on.
6. Share a story (on social media) a day about your activity
Your mates will start to comment, you will become known as the person that goes to the climbing gym on Wednesdays, and then has a run on Fridays, and is up early on the weekend for another cool adventure. Best of all, next time you are feeling unmotivated, you will do it anyway because it has become a part of how you identify yourself. It’s just what you do and who you are. Do it for the followers y’all.
7. Set a small challenge to do every day
Sometimes thinking about your goal, like to climb a 7a+ for example, seems like a year away, hundreds and hundreds of hours, and hard sweaty pull ups and months of being disciplined at the gym and oh my gosh it just seems like a huge insurmountable goal! But it is not.
8. Focus on today
It is just today, this session. So if the challenge is getting to the place, then get there. If the challenge is doing one more route after you are feeling totally pumped, do one more route. If the challenge is not having a piece of Lorna’s birthday cake at work at 3pm, then don’t eat the cake. Or maybe do, because it will give you a sugar high that you can use later at your climbing session.
9. Log or chart your progress to look back at
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Okay, sometimes it does. But if you keep a log book about your progress, and can track your (fabulous) development as a climber, you will begin to see the upward trend of your progression. A solid factual record that you can look back on and smile! It also shows you that the hard work is paying off and keeps you motivated for the future. MyClimb is a great free app you can check out for just that.
10. Make notes
Adding onto your recording process, notes are a great way to keep at the forefront of your mind that this whole climbing thing is just one big learning process. Take notes on everything. Use your phone, or a paper and pencil to jot down things you are learning whilst climbing each time. Unexpected things will come up; fear of failure, your stomach feels too full after that piece of 3pm office birthday cake (thanks Lorna), you climbed a higher grade when you just eyeballed the route and gave it a go, you might have some mental limitations on what you think is possible for yourself.. All these little thoughts float by, and when put down in writing become a part of your self-reflective learning practice. Forever the student young grasshopper.
11. Give yourself rewards
Trying to climb twice a week consistently? Make a calendar and if you do 4 weeks in a row, your gold star might be as small as a take away pizza from the Italian place next to the wall, or that new pair of climbing shoes. Rewarding yourself for your progress is really important. Nobody else is going to do it. It’s up to you to take pride in your efforts and gift yourself. You absolutely deserve it!
12. Choose something where you can get some quick results
Momentum is a little gem, often underutilised. Start with the low lying fruit of any task, and by getting the instant positive feedback of achieving it, you become more incentivised to continue on to the next, slightly harder task. Transfer that to climbing. Little regular efforts start to become real life progressions and suddenly that twice a week training has turned into a habit which lead to getting that 7a+ route!
13. Set clear goals
We all know S.M.A.R.T goals. If you write down ‘I want to be a better climber’, it’s just about as helpful as writing ‘I want to go to the moon someday’. Being a better climber is a great sentiment, sure, but unless you get specific about what ‘better’ means, and give it a deadline, pack your bags for the moon. Goals geared towards process are often more helpful, too. For example, your goal is to transition from indoor top rope climbing to outdoor lead? Then write down the steps that are needed to make that happen. Then schedule it. Then do it!
14. Choose something linked to a sense of personal achievement
Sometimes climbing is not about climbing. If one of your personal goals (ahhem c’est moi) is just to get off the couch and be social, and that in itself makes you feel great, then go girl! You can praise yourself for not cancelling on your social commitments, feeding your soul with some great company, and pushing beyond your limits (especially if you are on a quest to achieve a SMART goal). Everyone’s different, and your goal doesn’t even have to be about climbing. Climbing is just the path to get there.
15. Pay upfront
There is nothing like a little financial commitment to get your arse into gear. By paying upfront you are putting value, in monetary form, to what you see to be beneficial to your life. Generally the higher the price, the higher the esteem you hold it in. It is like telling your future self who is having a ‘can’t be bothered day’, “I paid a lot for this, it is valuable to us, so get ‘a training!”.
16. Stop drinking (alcohol)
Willpower is always at a definitive low after a night out. You’ve had less sleep, are feeling a little seedy and it is oh too easy to snooze that alarm and cancel your Saturday morning plans. Socialising doesn’t mean you have to drink, actually nobody cares if you’re a teetotaler for a night. Switch your gin to just a tonic and your belay partner will praise your unbound energy levels on that Saturday morning climb.
17. Make your plans enjoyable & fun
There is type II fun, which is fun had in retrospect. But when climbing recreationally, you should be having as much type I fun as humanly possible. Let’s be real, fun is a great de-stressor, puts us in the present moment, helps strengthen our relationships with other fun-havers and really, who the heck doesn’t want to grin like a kid at a theme park?
18. Make some motivating notes to leave around the house
I’m an artist, (and also a writer) so my motivational notes always come in picture form. Printed off at work, A4 colour pictures of my next mountain adorn the back of my bedroom door, a daily reminder of what is on the horizon. This can also come in the ways of changing your password. Just put a verb + the goal + a date. Say: ClimbOldManOfHoy2019. Entering that as your password for work emails everyday can get you pretty keen!
19. Have a visible tally chart of your activities
Seriously, gamifying your activities makes for great rainy day fun. I had a friend who highlighted each hike she had been on on the local trail map, unhighlighted ones being ‘go to next’. Another guy would put a sticker on his piste map on the fridge for every day he got some pow. In more serious recordings, a mate spreadsheeted his goal to ride 100 ski days in a season after a bar bet. He did it, and then made a cool infographic, here. Tallying up your attendance makes you feel like an A+ student, and also focuses on the process, which we have control over. Class in session.
20. Just do it
Motivation will come and go, you have made the decision already that you want to climb, and the only way you are going to do that is by closing off this computer and going climbing! Now! Go!