The Dip

One thing we know from teaching skills like climbing is that goals and habits can quickly become routine and stale.

The same workout. The same eating plan. The same climbs. At some point you’ll hit an enthusiasm dip. The proverbial rut.

After riding the initial high of a new endeavor, it becomes harder. Harder to motivate yourself to show up again at gym. Harder to continue saving to get out of debt. Harder to stick through to the end in uni. This is where many give up.

The true test of willpower and perseverance is in the home-stretch of any dip where you just want to pack it in and peace-out.  But it’s only by making it through the dip that we see genuine results, mastery, and the satisfaction we seek.

But The Dip causes many to give up those dreams all too early.

A big part of why this happens is our natural tendency for variety.  Humans seek new.  We get bored.  And the tendency is to stop doing that thing that we’re bored with and go and do something completely different.  Often though, it’s at the expense of achieving the long term goal you were shooting for, i.e. you didn’t make it through The Dip.

But there’s a trick, it’s called ‘Variation instead of Variety’.

Here’s how it works:

Ok, let’s say you start playing piano.  You’re all excited, you practice every day, you’re enjoying it and, you’re making progress, then – the dip….

You’re not progressing as fast and, you start to feel a bit bored.  If you’re like a lot of people you start thinking…’I feel like  change…   or…..  I just need a little break…. or….  maybe I really want to play guitar!’…  The next thing you know you haven’t played for a month.

But, the trick is to vary the activity enough so that it feels new.  So for our piano example, if you’re playing classical – try learning jazz, if you always practice in the morning – practice at night, always play alone?  Try playing with a friend.  The list is endless.

Variation is a great way to make it through The Dip.

This is exceptionally useful when it comes to climbing.  When you first start your strength improves quickly and your grades jump 2 or 3 very quickly.  Then you hit 18 or so and everything slows down.  Or maybe you train really hard but you just can’t seem to get past grade 22 and you’ve lapped every 22 in the gym.

Before you get bored, take a few weeks off and lose all that hard earned strength, throw in some Variation.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Try to climb the slab routes with no hands
  • Try to climb every climb with 3 second hovers before latching the hand holds.
  • Give the hangboard a go
  • Head outdoors for the afternoon
  • Try a skills class (ok that one is a sales pitch 😉

But you get the idea.

Developing any new skill can be extremely rewarding and fun, especially if you can make it through The Dip.

So next time you’re thinking of skipping that workout, think of us, and vary your way to success 😉

See you climbing soon