Are You Setting Goals?

Allow me to be blunt for a moment when I say, don’t you dare sit back and tell me that this isn’t important, or that you don’t need to do this; because you do. Already have goals set? Good for you. I’m going to assume that you suck at setting them the way that you ought to though. “Not me!” you say, feeling like you have to justify yourself to an internet writer. Ok, so let’s look at your goals.

If your goal consists of one sentence like, “I’m going to win ADCCs/fight in the UFC/win worlds/get my black belt” or any other such one dimensional statement, then you do indeed suck at goal setting. Can your goal be, “I’m going to fight in the UFC”? Yes… but it’s still too general. Let me explain.

Each goal you set needs to be either long term, or short term. In order to know where your goals fit in those categories, you have to place a time restriction on them. Instead of just saying you’ll be a world champion, make your goal, “I’ll be a world champion within a year.” Boom. Now you’ve got something solid to go after. If you don’t put a time limit on it, then you’ll always keep telling yourself things like, “I’ll do it eventually,” or, “Tomorrow,” or worse still, “I’ve got time.”

Let’s make an example to further illustrate what I’m trying to express here. The following is what your goals might look like if you were good at goal setting:


Long Term Goals:


Be an IBJJF World Champion within a year


Drop a Weight Class


Short Term Goals:


Improve training regiment

  • Mon-Fri: Grappling classes, conditioning
  • Mon, Wed, Fri: Weights
  • Sat: Rest
  • Sun: Stretch


Better Diet

  • No fast food
  • Fewer carbs, more greens
  • Lean protein/plant protein
  • Healthy fats


Seek Out the Best Instructors

  • BJJ at academy Mon, Tue, Thur
  • Judo (1/2 hour drive) Wed
  • Wrestling at the college Fri


Mentally Prepare

  • 10-15 minutes reflection/mental imagery
  • Break down good and bad habits


Weigh-in Once per Week

  • Same day and time each week



Does all of this make sense? Each short term goal has very specific processes it comes with. This is so that you can make sure that your short term goals lead you to your long term goals. I think we often look at a general, long term goal and never figure out how we actually are going to get there. If you tell someone a goal, but you can’t tell them how you’re going to get there, you’ve got work to do.

So why do this? Can you imagine a game of soccer in which there are no goals on the field? No. It’d just be a bunch of guys kicking a ball around for no reason. When you don’t set specific goals for your training (or your life in general, for that matter), you’re just allowing someone else who does have goals to come in and use you for theirs. No goals for competition? Then you’re just a stepping stone. No goals for a career? Then someone else is going to tell you what to do with your life.

Goals give us freedom. Goals give us the ability to decide our lives for ourselves. There are enough people in the world who would love to decide things for you. Don’t let them.


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