On Wednesday, January 13, 2015, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed what many are calling the hardest rock climb in history. They scaled the sheer 3,000 foot Dawn Wall of Yosemite’s El Capitan mountain, using no climbing aids, with only safety ropes in case of falls. Over the course of the 19-day climb, the men battled storms which pinned them to the face of the wall, bloody fingers, extreme weather, and exhaustion. Caldwell faced an additional handicap: having lost his left index finger in a 2001 accident, he completed his epic climb able to grip the sheer wall with only nine fingers.

Upon reaching the summit, the mountaineers addressed the millions of people who’d followed their progress. “I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall,” said Jorgeson. “We’ve been working on this thing a long time, slowly and surely. I think everyone has their own secret Dawn Wall to complete one day, and maybe they can put this project in their own context.”

Here are five strategies to help give us the strength to conquer our own “Dawn Walls,” our own projects and goals.

1. Change your “Default Mode”

Making decisions requires a lot of mental energy. When we get tired, we begin opting more and more for the “default” – whatever situation we’re left with once we’ve run out of energy to choose. When researchers in Germany started bombarding potential car customers with lots of exhausting questions – asking them to look over 56 different colors to choose a precise gray or brown, for instance – subjects started choosing the automobile makers’ default options, picking whatever was easier, even when that meant a higher price tag. One European train company boosted the number of passengers paying higher fares from 9% to 47% by making the pricey options the default mode.

Fortunately, our tendency to choose default options can be used to make better decisions, too. One study found that saving rates increased from 13% to 80% when deducting money from a paycheck into a retirement account became automatic. Start looking for ways to make healthy choices your default option. Consider arranging automatic payments to savings – or to favorite charities. Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks to grab on the go. Hire a personal trainer to come to your home. Make it easy to say “yes” to behaviors that help you further your goals.

2. When you get stuck, use the “Five Minute Rule”

All of us are prone to procrastination. While procrastinating is associated with lower levels of happiness, health and lower incomes, doing something about it can be crippling hard. One researcher recalls interviewing an executive who engaged in 40 hours of procrastination in order to avoid 5 minutes of work.

Psychologists have found one of the most effective ways to get over the procrastination hump is forcing ourselves to engage in work – no matter how little we feel like it – for only five minutes. This “Five Minute Rule” can have surprising results: engaging in difficult work for as little as five minutes can leave us energized and focused, often able to complete the task at hand. If you still feel drained and un-motivated after five minutes, try committing to another five minutes of work – then another. In Jewish parlance, this is called bribing the yetzer hara, our lower selves.

3. Believe in Yourself

For most of human history, the thought that anyone could run a four-minute mile was laughable. Doctors dismissed the possibility, and runners themselves spoke of a “brick wall”, a physical impossibility that would always prevent them from running that fast. Until Roger Bannister, a medical student at Oxford, believed otherwise. He trained for this seemingly-impossible goal, and in 1954 became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes.

Bannister was hailed as hero around the globe, but then something odd started happening: runners started breaking Bannister’s record. John Landy ran a mile in 3 minutes, 58 seconds mere weeks after Bannister’s achievement. The following year, three runners broke the four-minute barrier in a single race. Today, Bannister’s four-minute mile seems unremarkable. Human physiology hadn’t changed in that remarkable year: what altered were the perceptions that runners held about what it was possible to do.

Visualizing success has become a powerful part of athletes’ training; one study found a measurable increase in muscle mass among subjects who merely imagined weigh training. Try shifting your viewpoint: imagine yourself attaining your goals. Think through the steps you need to get there, and believe in yourself.

4. Connect with the Divine

The greatest source of our strength is our connection with the Divine. King David realized this thousands of years ago when he wrote “God upholds all that fall, and raises upright those that are bent over” (Psalms 145:14). Judaism teaches that we each have specific tasks we’re entrusted to do in our lives, and are given the precise tools we require to accomplish them. Tapping into the Divine can help us shape our goals and give us the strength we need to attain them.

5. Learn from Everything

King Solomon, generally considered the wisest man who ever lived, he had a powerful observation about human life: “A righteous man falls down seven times, and gets up” (Proverbs 24:16). Failing is part of living. Judaism recognizes that even the greatest, most righteous among us will inevitably fall down. What sets makes a person righteous in Judaism isn’t that he or she never falls; the “righteous” are set apart by having the determination to get back up, over and over, to keep trying again.

Thomas Edison, who held the most patents registered to his name in history during his lifetime, also reminded admirers of his many disappointments too. “I’ve failed my way to success,” he said. His many “failures” were really learning opportunities. Winston Churchill, who repeated grades in school, failed the exam to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst (twice!), and lost the first time he ran for Parliament, explained the secret to his success: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never, never….except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up.”

Good luck climbing your mountain!