WRITTEN BY CHRIS & ANNE ENSOLL
At the beginning of last year we published a post on seven ways to make your goals more achievable in 2017. We set out to write something similar for this year, but we don't think we can improve on last year's post, so here it is again, with a few updates.
The New Year has come and gone – the time of year when many people are setting resolutions and hoping to make a change in their lives. But how many people do you know who have already failed by half-way through January? So what are we all doing wrong? One possibility is that we are setting resolutions rather than goals. A resolution tends to be general and a bit vague. I’m going to climb harder this year. I’m going to eat more healthily. I’m going to... But a goal can and should be very specific.
Here are my tips for setting yourself up for success this year.
1. Write your goal down
Research shows that just by setting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and writing your goal down, you will significantly increase your chances of achieving it.
2. Make your goal SMART
S – specific
M – measurable
A – achievable
R – realistic
T – time-bound
For my climbing goal for 2016 I could have written, I will climb harder this year. Instead, I wrote, I will onsight 7b at the climbing wall by 17th May 2016.
One of Anne’s goals for 2017 was this: I will climb 50 Wainwrights by 31st December 2017. This is part of her longer-term goal of climbing them all before July 2019 so that she has done them all in 50 years. Yes – that’s right – 50 years. She climbed her first summit in 1969, aged 5, and a scrapbook kept by her mum shows that between 1969 and 1980, the family climbed about half of the 214 summits included in Wainwright’s books on their regular Lake District holidays.
Update: Anne didn't succeed with her Wainwrights goal. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in April, which means very unpredictable episodes of fatigue and muscle pain. She's still hoping to tick off all the Wainwrights, but doesn't have a time-frame for it.
3. Write down all the reasons why you want to achieve this goal
This will really help with motivation, and you might surprise yourself. One of my reasons for my climbing goal for 2016 was that it would be the hardest I have ever climbed indoors. Not bad for an old man of 53!
4. Work out the first step
Sometimes it can be tempting to map out exactly how you are going to succeed with a particular goal. A more effective way is to work out only the first step, and then when you’ve achieved that, work out the next step. It’s simpler and you’ll be focusing on and enjoying the process, rather than being totally obsessed with the goal.
Here’s a really good infographic about this: Big Goals Can Backfire – Focus on the Process Instead
5. Share your goal, and your first step, with someone who will support you
Choose wisely. Share it with someone who will understand why you want to do it, and who will encourage you along the way.
6. Review regularly
Set regular appointments with yourself to review – weekly, monthly, whatever works for you. Revisiting your reasons for achieving the goal will be a great boost for your motivation. I didn't achieve my 2016 climbing goal by the original date (17th May), but when I reviewed it at the end of July, I had achieved it, so I set myself a new goal: to climb 7a on the overhanging routes on the main wall (25m) at Kendal wall, by 31st December 2016. I didn’t succeed, but I did climb 6c+, so I was pretty pleased with that.
Update: in 2017 I climbed 7a on the overhanging wall - just!
7. Keep it fresh
Do other things that will contribute to success – plan climbing trips away, go out winter climbing, run regularly, do pull-ups every day, etc. Keep it fresh and you will be much more likely to succeed.
Update: I did a sport climbing trip to El Chorro in January 2017 which definitely contributed to achieving my goal.
What about you?
Do you have a goal for 2018? We’d love to hear from you!