It’s that time of year again, and if you’re like me you’ve taken a few weeks off from the rocks and spent more time enjoying meals and time with family and friends than anything else. Now that the holidays are over and you’re back at work your friends and colleagues are talking about their New Year’s resolutions equipped with goals, plans, and expectations of how to achieve a “new them” in 2017. Perhaps you have even come up with a New Year’s resolution yourself.
A college friend of mine asked what my New Year’s resolution was and I told her I didn’t have one. I’ve stopped taking stock in using a day of the year to create some sort of change I want to see in my life. My perspective is simple: life is about pleasure and growing as a person, and I have focused on making changes as soon as I recognize a change could be right for me, adhering to the somewhat cheesy “everything happens for a reason” mantra. For me these changes are inspired by success, sometimes they are motivated by a failure, and sometimes they are encouraged by a gut feeling.
If there’s one thing climbing has taught me it is the blurred lines I’ve had between dreams, goals, and expectations and how the end goal of it all can be completely different for everyone. Some might say a dream without a plan is just a dream and a dream with a plan is a goal. OK, that makes sense but can’t a goal just be an ending point based on an expectation you place on yourself? Is that what we are doing through New Year’s resolutions? How many times have your expectations let you down?
When I plan a climbing trip I get really amped. Seven years ago when I began climbing, a climbing trip started with an idea, a dream if you will, and by planning the trip I turned that dream into a goal and by moving forward with the trip I turned that goal into an expectation. Usually the expectation was to send a rock face somewhere in good style.
Seven years later I’m trying to cut ties with the expectations my dreams once led me to create. I’m trying to experience more pleasure in climbing and life. I recognize I’ve spent more than enough time getting frustrated through my own perimeters of expectations due to circumstances like weather, injury, partners, loss in psyche, fatigue or whatever else. I can have a blast climbing and accomplish more without the restraints of expectations I had been putting on myself in the past. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my dreams or I’m even cutting back on chasing them, it just means I’ll catch up with my dreams when they are right for me and when they are meant to happen. Maybe I’ll learn a bit more along the way too.
I’m grateful I don’t have to make another New Year’s resolution to to get to where I want to be. For some the New Year’s resolution might work and if that’s you then go for it just remember: goals have a finish line, dreams never have to end. Happy New Year and happy climbing friends.