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Replacing bad habits with good habits.
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_fiend_


Apr 19, 2006, 3:24 PM
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Replacing bad habits with good habits.
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I think this is quite a good challenge...

I find a lot of the RWW, and related, ideas are ones I agree with and feel are right, including the practical ideas about how to behave to improve one's attitude and approach to climbing. Including, in particular, freeing oneself from bad mental (and physical habits) and behavioural patterns that inhibit one's state of mind.

However I haven't done so well applying those ideas to my regular process of climbing. A few things I have applied (falling practise), but in other cases I have 10 years and a couple of thousand routes of bad habits to overcome - that's quite a depth of ingrained behaviour to improve! (Not that all or indeed most of it needs improving, but some does).

Just reading about the breathing thing - I KNOW the importance of breathing properly, I FEEL it is right, I sometimes do it, and I recommend it to others. But I don't do it as a regular habit. And that's where I think some of these techniques should become habits - good habits to replace the bad habits.

For example:

Get physically tired: Old habit - rapid shallow breaths, new habit - slow deep breaths.

Reach a bolt: Old habit - clip ASAP to escape fear, new habit - find the most comfortable position, then clip.

Find a protection area: Old habit - slam anything in without care, new habit - spend a few seconds just looking for right gear places.


(^^^ This last one is quite an issue for me).

This all might seem pretty much standard learnings from RWW, but I think the crux of the issue is changing those habits, and finding a way to make the new behaviour regular enough to be a habit. And maybe a path to that is by ASSOCIATION - learning to associate a particular event with a particular (beneficial) behaviour.

For example, one could try to associate BOLT with FIND GOOD CLIPPING POSITION. Each time you face a bolt, whether discomforted or not, you try to consciously think "This is a bolt. I will find the best position to clip it from" - if you're doing this in low-stress positions, you should be able to think that without slamming the draw in ASAP. Hopefully with enough practise, the next time you're stressed and reach a bolt, your behaviour would be.....find a good clipping position :wink:


Sorry if this is rambling a bit, I'm working it out in my own mind. It's something I will try to work on and explore further.


arnoilgner


Apr 21, 2006, 1:54 PM
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Re: Replacing bad habits with good habits. [In reply to]
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fiend, you are active lately.

1. Identify which old habit you will encounter on a particular route. (ok, if there are several then just pick one to work on). Set your intention at the base of the route that when you get to that spot (where you want to slam in anything, or whatever it may be you're working on) you won't act out the old habit but will delay, do something else. Watch yourself, know you will tend to fall into the old habit, and delay. Have your belay remind you by yelling his/her head off about what your intention is.

2. How much do you value the learning process? It could be that by falling into the old habit you don't value learning enough. We all tend to move toward comfort - out of stress. Learning occurs in stress. Find ways to get into stress a little at a time and stay there--delay.

arno


_fiend_


Apr 25, 2006, 6:16 AM
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Re: Replacing bad habits with good habits. [In reply to]
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In reply to:
fiend, you are active lately.

Well I've managed to climb a fair bit recently...

In reply to:
1. Identify which old habit you will encounter on a particular route. (ok, if there are several then just pick one to work on). Set your intention at the base of the route that when you get to that spot (where you want to slam in anything, or whatever it may be you're working on) you won't act out the old habit but will delay, do something else. Watch yourself, know you will tend to fall into the old habit, and delay. Have your belay remind you by yelling his/her head off about what your intention is.

Good idea, one shouldn't try to change too much at once. One could choose a habit that's appropriate for a particular route (for example, on a slab, my calves often get pumped, and I fall into a habit of getting panicked and angry about that), then step into that arena and work it. Good idea to discuss with the belayer first (would have to be a patient belayer!).

In reply to:
2. How much do you value the learning process? It could be that by falling into the old habit you don't value learning enough. We all tend to move toward comfort - out of stress. Learning occurs in stress. Find ways to get into stress a little at a time and stay there--delay.

Yes, the delaying bit, good to be reminded of that. Thanks.


vector


Apr 25, 2006, 8:03 AM
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Re: Replacing bad habits with good habits. [In reply to]
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Great topic fiend, thanks for posting it.

I have been working on clipping stances (esp. climbing up to a waist clip rather than high clipping) too. Also trying to learn to climb through fatigue rather than taking. Using the RWW techniques have really made a difference.

Something I have noticed is that sometime after I stop consciously using mental training techniques and think I can just walk up to a route and climb without thinking/setting intentions, my climbing starts to deteriorate. Not necessarily right away, but soon the good habits I am forming start to revert to the more ingrained bad habits. The solution is obvious: don't get mentally lazy.


arnoilgner


Apr 25, 2006, 8:51 PM
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Re: Replacing bad habits with good habits. [In reply to]
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vector,

I find this tendency in me also. If I do not tell myself my intention before I leave my last decision point I tend to listen to my negative thoughts when I get pumped and begin wondering if I can continue. So, I make it a point to say to myself, "self...my intention is to commit forward to climbing...make the next move no matter what." Note: assuming I'm in a fall consequence I can respond to.
arno


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