When Effort Isn’t the Issue

effort bouldering

Whenever we struggle to reach our goals, many of us have the same knee-jerk reaction—knuckle down. Why does this have to be so hard? Can’t we just do this thing that we say we want? Clearly we haven’t been taking things seriously enough and what we need is more willpower. If we put in more time and effort maybe that would fix everything. How often does that end up working as a long-term solution, though?

When effort is not the issue. What if, instead of berating yourself for not having enough willpower, you considered how to reduce the friction in your life that’s making your habits so hard to stick to? Do you really have terrible willpower or are you surrounded by distractions and obstacles?

Do you actually struggle to stick with training plans or is it that you keep trying to follow overly complicated training methods? And do you want stronger hands? Pick a hangboard protocol that’s too easy to fail. The most simple finger strength program will still bring you great results… if you do it.

What if you left your phone in your gym bag instead of bringing it along when you climb? Would that help you be more focused when you climb?

climbing indoor bouldering

When effort is not the issue

Are you terrible about doing mobility regularly even though you’ve known for years that it would level up your climbing? Do it first thing every session before you climb. Climbing afterwards will feel like a reward. And you won’t have to muster up much motivation to do it first thing each session.

Do you keep saying that you’ll end your days at the crag with some easy pitches to build your endurance, but never follow through? Leave your draws hanging on your last warm up so that you have to come back and clean them. Take the decision out of your hands while the day is still early. 

If you find yourself spending half of your board sessions doom scrolling through the app trying to find the perfect problem, start picking out five or six hard boulders before you get to the gym and only allow yourself to try those. When it’s time to try hard you won’t have to spend any time searching. This guarantees that you spend more of your time and focus on climbing. You’re also more likely to pick problems that actually address your weaknesses if you pick them ahead of time rather than choosing them in the moment.

effort climbing struggle

Motivate yourself

If it feels hard to motivate yourself for sessions day after day, what if you started training and climbing with a partner or at a gym with a motivated crew?

More often than you might think, it isn’t that you are lazy or incapable of sticking to a plan, it’s that there are some road blocks that keep getting in your way. Take some time to find where you can reduce the friction surrounding the good habits that you want, and you might surprise yourself with how much easier it is to accomplish your goals.

What are the obstacles or areas of friction that are regularly getting in your way?


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