Its something that comes up in conversation a lot with the clients I work with; when should I start changing something? That might be, starting a new training programme, changing a habit, or starting a new sort of practice. There are 3 answers to this;
1. There is never a good time to start something new – that is, its always hard to change and there will always be things which get in the way of your best intentions
2. There has never been a better time to start something new, right here, right now – you have noticed you need to change something, so why wait until Monday morning/ the beginning of next month/ when things are quieter at work?
3. The only exception to the above is, if you are just about to compete or try that hard project. Now is not the time to start changing your training or your tactics – you should have done that about 4 weeks ago to give the change time to bed in
Making changes starts with awareness of the patterns we want to change. For me recently its been a growing awareness that my mind is often racing forward to the next thing, and that I have been so busy ‘doing’ that I have even been thinking ahead during my meditation practice. So, starting this morning, I made the conscious intention to keep bringing my thoughts back to my breath, to instill a sense of here and now focus. And tomorrow morning I will likely need to do the same, as it takes more than one new practice to instill a routine.
I find it helps me to get inspiration from other people to form a clear image of what I want to achieve with my new practice – for particularly difficult changes, I even make up a poster for myself to put up on my mirror so I have a visual reminder every day to keep me on track. Star charts (where you give yourself a sticker or a tick every time you do the new thing) with little rewards at key points can also be helpful. I’ve uploaded a photo here of some of my favourite books for self awareness and inspiration, which I think may be useful for climbers;
Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s ‘Wherever you go, there you are’, which has lovely bite sized pieces of mindfulness, ideal to set your intention for the day and help you find that flow state in climbing
Charles Duhigg‘s ‘The Power of Habit’, for reminder on how to reset habits
Lynn Hill‘s ‘Climbing Free’, an inspiring woman who had the imagination to think beyond the limits set by people who went before her
Steve Peters‘ ‘The Chimp Paradox’, as an easy way to understand how emotions can over power us and how to manage them rather than wishing them away
Harville Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt‘s ‘Getting the love you want’ – a cheesy title and based on couples therapy, but a really worthwhile book to help anyone understand the blueprints which are set in early childhood and how they affect our adult relationships with everyone (romantic partners and otherwise; including coaches, team mates and so on)
I hope you find some inspiration from the books and can start making the changes to your climbing practices, today.