Setting Goals and Climbing mountains

While you may be used to chatting to me on the phone or seeing me in the office, us TPS folk are sometimes to be found in very different places! Last week I climbed my first official mountain! This had been a big goal for me for some time and standing on a rocky ridge with aching legs and blistered feet it suddenly occurred to me that I was using the greatest tools in coaching to get myself up there. It’s all about the goal you set yourself. So here’s how I reached my goal, I hope it’ll inspire:

First of all I set myself a SMART goal. My goal was specific (summit Moel Siabod, North Wales, and descend), measurable (the mountain is 872 metres high and I must ascend all those metres!), achievable (don’t bother telling me I can’t do it), relevant (I’ve been training for this) and timebound (if I don’t get down again my nightfall I’m going to be out on a Welsh mountain in the dark overnight with nothing by my 1 remaining cereal bar and half a litre of water!).

What I hadn’t considered was that I’d slept poorly in a tent the night before and I was recovering from a cold. I wasn’t in the fittest form to climb mountains and even if I had been, a hundred metres of upward climb and my body was saying “NO” to going any further. So I drew on another great coaching technique, setting smaller goals along the way. I started out with “count 200 steps then stop for a rest”. After the first 3 times I started to extend my goals. Walk to that big rock then stop, then walk to the next bend then stop…

After a couple of hours we reached the ridge and it was a scramble from then on. Despite already being pretty tired I knew what my overall goal was and I wanted to get there so I had to pull myself up with my arms and push with my legs. Still, no matter how much you want something, it’s sometimes hard to keep yourself motivated. So here’s what I did: I looked round and realised that the road that I had started on was now a thin track in the far distance. This brought home to me the importance of stopping to take stock. It’s hard to keep driving towards a goal if you can’t look back and see how far you’ve come. As a coach this is a really valuable tool, to think about how different things are now than they were when you started. Realising how far I’d already come was a big boost and I was able to carry on.

A few more hundred metres up and we dragged ourselves onto the summit. I can only tell you how proud I was to climb up onto the trig point at the top and look at the 360 panorama around me. Reaching your goal is well worth the climb!

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