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Health researchers learned a long time that almost no one keeps their New Year’s Resolutions or reaches the New Year goals that they set for themselves at the start of the year. When this research first came out, no one was surprised. We all know people that talk a big game at the start of the year about everything they are going to do, but soon those dreams fade into the day-to-day grind of yet another year. You might have even been one of those people.

Don’t fall into that trap again. This year, you can reach your martial arts and health goals, but you need the right mindset and the right plan.

Here are some tips:

  • Set goals that are within your control. Aspiring to earn your next belt is admirable, but whether or not that happens is not directly within your control. Instead, make your goal something you alone are responsible for. For example, you can set out to do a certain number of push-ups each day or get a certain number of extra reps on a technique at each open mat.
  • Be fair to yourself. When you set a goal, consider the amount of time you can realistic commit to achieving that goal, and adjust your expectations accordingly. If you can only train three times a week, that’s perfectly fine, but you shouldn’t set a goal that requires you to train seven days a week. You could end up working really hard and still feeling bad about yourself in the end, which is ultimately a disservice to yourself and what you’ve put into improving.
  • Set smaller milestones. If you have a big goal, say competing at the next big local tournament, break that big journey into smaller pieces to make it more manageable and to hold yourself accountable. If you want to compete at a certain weight class in May, what weight should you be at the end of February? What sort of shape should you be in at the start of April?
  • Rely on your teammates. The best way to reach a goal is to have a training buddy. Find someone at the gym at a similar skill level or with similar goals and agree to hold each other accountable and to push each other. Just telling someone about your goal can make you less likely to fall off the wagon.

You can reach your goals. If you doubt yourself, talk to the other people on the mat. Your training partners come from all walks of life and have all faced their own unique challenges. And they stuck with it. They kept training, and they kept learning.

You can too.



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