Do you Dream of White Horses or is it just a Goal?


We all have a dream, whether its to scale the 3000ft vertical cliffs of El Capitan or something closer to home like traverse across ‘A Dream of White Horses’ at Gogarth. Whatever you dream is there are various strategies to set yourself goals, some of which are more effective than others at helping you reach your Dream. So when is a dream just a goal, and how can you turn that Dream of White Horses into reality.

The psychologist have looked at goals in a variety of ways, to start with though they categorised them into different types of goals which are.
1. Outcome Goal or Dream – The final goal or dream – e.g. Climbing Dream of white horses.
2. Performance Goal – Some form of measurable performance – e.g. Climbing the Grade of E1
3. Process Goal – The processes that make the Outcome or performance goal possible – e.g. Placing gear, staying calm, good technique…

So whilst for instance having a Dream Goals is important to make sure that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that is your training program. The important thin g is the proximity of that Dream. Too far away and the light at the end of that tunnel is going to be awfully dim for an awfully long time. The worry is that this goal will just seem too far away, and rather than direct your attention and effort towards reaching it, you will find that you disengage from attempting to achieve it. A dream goal needs to be close enough that it feels achievable in the medium to long term.

So whilst you actual dream might be to climb Right Wall on Dinas Cromlech, you might find that that simply isn’t achievable in a year, as such you end up setting more overt mini dream goals with Right Wall being a more covert one, at the back of your mind, with the mini goals making stepping stones across each few months and eventually you’ll reach that major goal. One of those mini dream goals might be a performance type goal, like climb at least 10 routes of E4 over the summer.

The important thing to remember is this goal proximity, if you are close to achieving a goal then the behaviour that you have towards that goal radically changes. The best example I can give is a bouldering one. Imagine there are three problems, one you complete easily, the next you find impossible and will takes week to work out and develop the strength require to succeed, the third problem is just out of you ability to link, you can do all the moves and you believe it is possible. What you’ll find is that the effort and mental attitude you towards achieving the third boulder problem will be far more intense than, if you find something too easy or too hard.

The last type of goal I want to talk about is the process goal. These are the most powerful types of goal you can set yourself. Unlike the Dream or performance goal, which offer a distance focus on the horizon, something to look forward to if you like. However what is a goal like “I am going to climb ‘A Dream of White Horses’ this year”, actual going to do to help us actually achieve it. This is where the process goal comes in, where if you like you think through the processes that climbing your dream would involve and set many mini goals that build up your skills, confidence and fitness to eventually reach your dreams.

Often this setting of specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time specific process goals is where people fail on there training regime. Often running head long into a regime of fitness training when maybe all they need was to work on their technique and ability to read routes! This is where the help of a coach can come in useful, assessing your needs and setting goals can be done through our online coaching or alternatively we can coach face to face or via Skype visit how to climb harder for more info.

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