Goal Setting in BJJ...Part 5. TIME.
Setting goals that are Time relevant
The last letter in the S.M.A.R.T. acronym is Timely or Time relevant. There needs to be a “light at the end of the tunnel.” There is a huge difference in the attitudes and work ethic of high school and college freshmen than there is in 12th graders and graduating college seniors. In many cases, 9th graders will not see the urgency in working hard to meet the requirements to graduate high school and move on to college due to it being so far away. However a senior in high school sees the light at the end of the tunnel and now has a time frame in which they need to meet certain deadlines and commitments in order to pass high school and move on to college. College freshmen will often enter college and put less focus on their academics and more on their social life but by time they become seniors they start to prepare for the “real world” and their priorities are often way different. In BJJ, any open ended goal will allow for procrastination. A good goal will have certain check points to determine whether or not progress has been made towards meeting ones goals. I always like planning goals in coordination with tournaments. You will have a time frame in which you can measure your progress and an ultimate date to measure your performance at the end. Setting goals with time limits is a good way to motivate and “push” someone along to take the steps needed to advance. Have a mixture of short, medium and long term goals. Short term goals may be goals for the week. Medium range goals may require preplanning for up to a year and long term goals should be well thought out and ultimately lead to the highest levels you wish to achieve in this sport. All short and medium range goals need to support the overall long term plan which for many people is to receive their black belts. Short term plans will support the medium term plans which will support the long term ones which will increase the chances of reaching them. By having short and medium term goals, you will be able to constantly adjust your goals to meet your long term goals. As you improve, you will most likely need to adjust certain aspects of your training to optimize your chances of success. It’s like building a house. The short term goals will be the daily and weekly building and construction schedule. The medium range plans will be checkpoints that make sure certain areas are completed, such as individual rooms or floors. The long term plan is the completed project. Problems will arise and adjustments will be made. Making sure we overcome the obstacles that stand in our way is important and easier to handle when we have a blueprint of how we plan on accomplishing what we had set out to do.
Many people set goals based on belt ranks and stripes and when they want to get there. This is common and ill-advised. Train hard and try to improve but don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to achieve a belt rank in a given time period as this is something out of your control. The skills and techniques you improve and the effort you put into training ARE within your control and hard work WILL get you results, but when someone gives you something is anybody’s guess. Despite the fact that you may be able to tap higher belts, an instructor may keep you for other reasons. Don’t worry about it. Promotion will happen when it happens. Focus on your forward progress instead of when you get your next belt. Worrying about when you get a new belt may set one’s self up for disappointment. A belt is only a piece of fabric. Of greater importance is the skill that this belt represents. I’d rather wear a white belt and have black belt skills and mentality then have a black belt with white belt skill sets any day. Don’t stress over when you get a belt, but rather when you develop the skills needed to compete at that level. All good goals will be able to be achieved within measurable time limits.
Black Belts Joao Amaral, Beto Nunes, Pedro Lima, Murilo Bustamante, Edgard Dutra & Tim Bruce