Each member of the group stated their goal... "get stronger," "climb better," "better mental game..."
Each person expressed a desire to improve with varying degrees of depth in the explanation. Makes sense... we humans are wired to continually improve. If it was not innate within us to improve, to go from being fed and carried by our parents, we would have died off as a species thousands of years ago. An infant wants to explore its surroundings. A toddler wants to walk, then run. And a climber on the easier routes will naturally want to get on the harder routes, unless the will and determination have been squashed in other arenas of life and walking away from potential failure has become the new normal.
There is now scientific research that is showing that this desire to continue to "grow" or "improve" is to blame for our midlife slump... (yes, it's a real thing). Humans spend much of their 20's and 30's creating prosperity in life... prosperity that can be in the form of professional development, personal bests in various activities, having children, buying houses. No surprise then when a group of people in their 20-30's would tell me they want to be stronger, or have better technique or mental game. It is natural at that age to want to build on ones ability.... to produce results.
A number of factors go into one's ability to perform or let's use the example of climbing the next level route. The variables are going to include your strength and flexibility, your sequence, the techniques you use, focus, attitude, and your belief in the ability to do it.
Onsighting roped routes, warming up, even multiple failures on a roped redpoint project are all things that will bring down my psych. But find me a project with a move I need to figure out. Make it short so I can keep my focus and make it not super reachy and I am in heaven. I love the problem solving nature of climbing. Then make it outside instead of inside, give me a supportive strong climbing partner and we are talking a great day for me.
Knowing what gives me joy in the experience informs the goal I set. Yes, I still want to improve performance, but more importantly, I want to find a hard project with a move I need to unlock. I need to learn a new way to move. That may include needing to be stronger or more flexible. It will definitely involve setting up my training with just one or two partners who are willing to work on what I am on. And it will mean something outside. All I need to add is the actual timeline for accomplishment.
So before you train...
Understand your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, your attitude, your ability to perform.
Then understand what motivates you, inspires you.
Create a goal that is clearly defined - this route or problem, in this period of time. This means shopping for the right experience. If you love the thrill of competition, name the one you want to attend, name the level of difficulty you want to complete either onsight or within a specified number of tries.
If it is adventure that fills you with inspiration, decide on the destination and the routes you want to send. And pick the dates.
The next step is two fold: train or practice in preparation and let go of whether it actually happens. This step repeats every time you train or try to have it happen. You have to let go of the outcome and be in the moment. Practice just being in the moment.