The Good and the Bad about Goals
Happy New Year! ! !
New Year is the traditional time when folks sit down and make New Year Resolutions and goals.
As a Covey kid (Franklin Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People had a HUGE influence on me while I was in college) I'm certainly "pro" goal setting.
However, as a martial arts coach over the last twenty five years, I've seen goals turn toxic on people who weren't paying attention or didn't know how to manage the goal achieving process ... largely because they misunderstood the function of a goal or crafted a poorly designed goal. Such mistakes create increased frustration, burn-out, and have even forced a few athletes to quit. For obssessively goal-oriented folks quick, visible goals can be the deadliest enemy of mastery and true skill development.
Example: I want to get my blue belt this year (no later than December 2018).
On the surface this sounds great. However, I'd suggest it misses the mark and sets the individual up for potential disaster if left as it is. As it is, it's no more than a desire / wish .... and an extrensic one at that.
A better approach is to be more global and specific at the same time.
I want to improve my skills in Jiu Jitsu; to become a more complete grappler. I want to have two or three responses in all the main positions and a solid understanding of the fundamentals of the sport.
I will commit to the following each week:
1. Attend 2 fundamental classes (Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00 - 7:30 pm)
2. I will strength + condition / body work for 20 - 35 minutes, 5 days a week
3. I will watch 2 techniques on BJJ Library on Sunday afternoon, take notes, and be prepared to drill these moves during the week
4. I will drill 2 times for 20 - 35 minutes each week (Friday + Saturday open mats)
5. I will maintain my Jiu Jitsu Journal by tracking what I'm working on, what I'm having success with, and what needs work. I'll spend 10 minutes every Wednesday evening reviewing my previous week and forecasting for the coming week.
6. Once every three or four months, I will meet with my Jiu Jitsu coach and get his feedback on my growht and development and what I need to do to continue to improve.
The first approach to setting a goal, by itself, is know as a Lag Measure. It is a result more than a plan. A lot of other things must occur before the blue belt is earned. Many of which are outside the control of the athlete.
The second goal setting approach, focuses on Lead Measures - specific actions within the control of the athlete that will lead to growth and development towards a long-term goal.
The keys to success:
1. Be process focused as opposed to outcome focused. Skill development / mastery is practice. It's staying on the path; surrendering to the process.
2. Focus on consistent action - Commit to the plan. Show up. Do work. Go home. Repeat. Daily. Forever.
3. Be reflective and thoughtful - note what's working, what needs work, and what needs to be dropped / discontinued.
4. Be patient - skill development and gaining competence at Jiu Jitsu (or anything for that matter) takes time. Your Jiu Jitsu journey is a marathon. Pick a sustainable pace and enjoy the ride.
5. Be anti-fragil / bullet proof - you've got to have some grit and resilence to keep showing up day after day. Take each setback and failure (and there will be plenty of them) as an opportunity to dust yourself off and come back better than you were before. "That which does not kill you makes you stronger." Stoic philosophy has two sayings that relate to being resilent / bullet proof:
Deo Volente - "if fate will have it" --> allows calmness / not becoming over attached to an outcome. An acknowledgement that things beyond your control may influence the result / outcome.
Amor Fati - "accepting / loving what is" --> you will lose when you argue with the universe / reality. What is, is. Accept it and move forward with poise and grace.
With the right mindset and lead measures, your lag measure / goal will take care of itself.
And if the athlete is relatively successful with his lead measures (+85% compliant to his action plan / lead measures) then the achievement of a blue belt will inevitably come. It may come early at the ten month mark. It ak come later at the eighteen month mark. But it will come. And in the big picture, is six months longer or being late a big deal? The achievement is what matters. False, arbitrary, or unrealistic timelines shouldn't out weigh the process of learning, the facing of challenges, and putting in the daily work and effort over an extended period of time. Well defined goals guide us (much like the north star) in the right direction and inspire us to grow and stretch; to become better than when we started.
So, do you have goals? Is the action plan for success in your control? Can you setup habits to reinforce your action plan? How's your mindset?
Keep doing ... daily ... forever! ! !