Setting Long Term Goals

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

James hiking up the approach trail to the Grand Teton.

Setting long term goals is a power tool that can help to motivate and focus your energy. The first step in goal setting is to sit down and take some time to think about your long term goals. This helps to create a long range plan with adventures to work towards in a logical progression. Long term goals are divided into three categories.

Dream Adventures Or Bucket List Trips

Set aside some time to relax and think about what your dream adventures or bucket list trips are. Where would you want to go if time and money were not limiting factors? Maybe you want to summit Kilimanjaro, trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or climb the Lower and Upper Exum Ridge of the Grand Teton in a day. It is ok if some of these change over time as you add years to your adventure resume.

5 Year Goals

5 year goals help to develop a progression of trips increasing in length and difficulty. This progression builds fitness, experience and confidence. An example of 5 year goals with progressions for non-technical mountaineering would look like this:

  • First Year: One Day Climb Mount Hood
  • Second Year: Two Day Climb Mount Rainier Disappointment Cleaver Route
  • Third Year: Four Day Climb Mount Rainier Kautz Glacier Route
  • Fourth Year: Seven Day Mount Kilimanjaro Climb
  • Fifth Year: Twenty One Day Denali West Buttress Climb

1 Year Goals

1 year goals set the focus for the upcoming 12 months. An athlete can usually only perform at their best or “peak” 2-3 times per year. In an Annual Training Plan (ATP) these are your “A” priority events that are a culmination of months of progressive training. I always encourage my athletes (and myself) to pick A events that scare them at least a little bit. This provides strong motivation to train and prepare for the trip. Once you have decided on your A events, it is time to develop an Annual Training Plan or ATP.