Goal Setting

It has been proven that more success is realised when goals are set. Businesses, especially sales organisations, use goal setting continuously as a method of motivation and also performance review. There is a lot to be said for setting personal goals but the problem is not many people know how to do this properly and efficiently.

People think they are setting personal goals and this often happens in the New Year with all the good intentions of losing weight, quitting smoking, getting fitter etc but more often than not these are desires and not goals. The big difference being that goals need to be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). Someone simply saying they want to lose weight is far too vague – how much weight do you want to lose?, what weight are you now?, by when do you want to lose this weight? These are the first questions that need answering and then it needs to be decided whether the goal is realistic and how you are going to attain the right result. This leads us to the next mistake people make – they don’t change anything they are doing to achieve the goal. There is a saying that goes “if you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. So therefore if your goal is to lose weight and you have done all the other things right such as saying you want to lose 10lbs by the end of the year it all becomes insignificant if you eat and drink the same and don’t do any extra exercise.

It is the same for any goal you want to achieve. First you need the desire for something, and then you need to make it specific and realistic. Incidentally, realistic doesn’t mean easy. It means that if the effort is put in it can be achieved. Martial arts training can of course help with weight and fitness goals and you should be speaking to your instructors/coaches for support on this, but with most martial arts there is the goal of achieving a black belt and beyond. This by itself is a pretty huge and daunting task, especially in the early days of your training as it seems so far away from the point you are at. The goal needs to be motivational with shorter time scales to work toward otherwise the end result would get lost as there would be no results and rewards to keep you motivated. This is one reason for the grading system and the different belts to work toward. You can see a copy of our Grading Criteria here. This lays out most of the SMART definition for you and gives the minimum time scales allowed for each one to work against but with each one it means nothing if you are not putting the effort in yourself. Create your own goal and then make sure you are taking the necessary steps to achieve it. At the start of the year I had one student say to me that they wanted to move up 3 belts this year. I had a conversation with them, decided that from the level they were at it was achievable but said that it would be a challenge and the work rate would need to increase and practice outside of class would need to be done. It was agreed that I would support them in anyway I could. So it was all set out....

(Goal setting continued...)

Unfortunately the steps laid out to achieve it haven’t been followed. A lot of lessons have been missed (more than what could be contributed to sickness etc) and then during class the work rate hasn’t been there. Also from one lesson to the next there has been little improvement on particular techniques so it is evident that no extra practice has been done. This would never be an issue because as I said earlier the time scales in our grading criteria are a minimum requirement. There is no maximum time. It doesn’t really matter whether you achieve a black belt in 3 years or 30 years. You may not even want to go through the grading system and simply just want to learn some self defence and so on. My point here is that a goal was made but it makes no difference if the steps aren’t taken to achieve it. This isn’t just martial arts it filters into everyday life. It is the attitude and work ethic that is wrong. Things don’t come easy and handed on a plate, you have to go out and earn them. On the journey to a black belt you have support every step of the way in the form of instructors and fellow students. If with the support network you do not have the motivation to put in the extra work, then in your personal or work life where are you going to find the right attitude to become debt free, get that promotion at work, cut down on the fast food, drink less alcohol, lose weight, get fitter and so on and so on.

If you are involved in martial arts I have a mission for you. Set yourself a goal for the end of the year. Something that is relevant to the training. It needs to be something you want and not something you think someone else wants because otherwise it won’t happen. It could be a weight or fitness goal, a grading goal, or even something to do with strength or flexibility. Once you have something in mind, speak to your coach or instructor to help make it happen and then finally prove to yourself that you can do it. If you’re not already involved in martial arts but it is something that you have been considering then I will make the goal very easy – join a club. Think about what has held you back so far and overcome it. It can sometimes be quite daunting to join a club and do something you may never have done before. So if this is the case, come and speak to us first, come and watch and speak to some students to see what it is really like. Speak to me on our Facebook page (Hapkido Teesside) or email me from our website. Our contact numbers can even be found on Facebook and website pages.

Together we can achieve the goals and upon this success we can re-evaluate and create new goals. And don’t be afraid to push yourselves on the goals. As the great Bruce Lee once said “don’t fear failure – not failure, but low aim, is the crime. It great attempts it is glorious even to fail”.

Matt Fawcett
4th Dan Black Belt