Goal setting in BJJ part 3.
One of the harder aspects of the S.M.A.R.T. acronym is A which stands for ATTAINABLE. This is tough because not all fighters are created equal and there are some people that will have a harder time reaching certain goals than others. There may be some people that will not be able to achieve success in tournaments or perhaps will not be able to receive their black belts. This is a truth supported by the fact that most people in BJJ do not go on to receive their black belts or become world champions. If it was easy, every academy would have as many black belts as they do white belts! For whatever the reasons, they come up just short. Not that ONLY receiving a blue belt should be considered a failure; it’s actually a tremendous accomplishment and something to be extremely proud of. But if you start out with a desire to become a black belt, anything less is disappointing and being stuck at the same level for years will only remind you of where you are and where you wanted to be. Competition success can be equally as exasperating. If you strive to win and you are a competitive individual, even 2nd place will leave you unfulfilled. Having a realistic outlook on our physical abilities can be difficult for many to be able to do because it’s a form of self analysis that requires people to accept the fact that they may be good but not great. This can be a hard pill for lots of people to swallow. The truth is that we will always be able to improve our jiu jitsu, but we may not be able to achieve the loftiest goals we set when these goals are unrealistic. A good instructor will always be honest and should never tell a student that they can guarantee certain successes in their martial arts career. The only promise that can be made is that if the school is creditable and the instructor competent, that they will improve over time with hard work and dedication to the sport. Never set goals that will eventually result in failure as this may cause an irreversible decline in performance and participation. If someone begins to associate BJJ with failure and they develop a negative attitude, they can lose the passion that drives them. Any goals that are made should indeed be challenging, but something that can actually end up in success. I don’t want people to lose optimism and have lower expectations of themselves and set the bar too low. Quite the opposite. It’s just a fact that there is only ONE Jiu Jitsu world champion crowned in their respective weight divisions every year at each belt level which can lead to a lot of disappointed fighters whose goals may have been to take gold. Being able to medal at a tournament like the world championships is by no means a failure, but sometimes certain individuals will put so much effort to achieve certain success that anything less is a failure to them. This is a good attitude to take for the certain select few apex competitors of the sport, but the rest of us need to be more practical.
Not everybody can receive their black belt in 4 years! Setting a timeline for when you want to get promoted is partially out of your control, as it is the instructor’s decision ultimately and they may not agree with your timeline. Think in terms of realistic skill sets. As a white belt, shoot for blue in 2 and get there first. Take baby steps and surprise yourself when you achieve success sooner than expected. Start low and always adjust from there. If the ultimate goal an individual sets is to become World champion, then great. Begin with a small tournament and win that. Then you can move on to an IBJJF Open event and win that. Start off with realistic goals and only when you have conquered those should you adjust the expectations to meet your abilities. It’s a shame to set one’s self up to fail because you set an unattainable goal. As you set up the steps necessary to accomplish these goals, you will find that your attitude and skill sets will begin to grow and improve and the once seemingly unattainable is now within reach. As you improve, you will see that almost anything is possible with the right steps and people behind you, but most importantly is the drive and discipline required to reach that which you wish to possess.
Next Post...Part 4....The R's