Sunday, 25 January 2015

Goal Setting - A Guest Post

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t is that time of year for many people to consider setting goals or, if you are already a goal setter, then you are looking to revisit your goals. Personally, I don’t like the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Goal setting and self-improvement is not a once a year idea. However, when one calendar year is coming to an end, it is a good idea to reevaluate your goals, see where you are in your progress, and readjust them if necessary. As martial artists, many of us look at setting goals by way of achieving rank. Although this can be exciting and rewarding, it can also be somewhat short sighted and typically lacks a few important factors or steps in achieving those goals.

Achieving big picture goals usually requires the discipline to achieve many smaller goals along the path to overall success. To tell yourself that you want to get your black belt is good however, that is too vague and not specific enough to really help you achieve that goal. We should be asking ourselves; “What steps am I going to have to take and what will I have to do differently in my life, in order to work towards achieving such a goal?” Using attaining a certain rank (it can be a Kyu rank or Yudansha) as an example, here are a few items to consider.

When do you want to test for your desired level?

How many times or repetitions do you feel that you need to complete the techniques that you need to know, in order to feel proficient enough to test?

Proper time allocations. Take the time you have allotted and divide it by the number of times you feel you need to practice the techniques. For instance, you want to test in 6 months and need to practice at least 100 times, then you’ll need to practice those techniques at least 16 times per month, or 4 times per week.


Time commitment. Are you willing to MAKE the time to practice, with no excuses justifying not practicing? If you are sick, you may need to practice more the next week to make up for it.
Positive Attitude. When you train, are you training with achieving your goals in the forefront of your mind? A fresh new attitude while training can produce fantastic new results.

Tell someone the details of your goals. If you share your commitment with someone else, you will work harder to achieve your goal, in order to fulfill your commitment. Keeping your goals to your self is an easy way to not commit and accept failure.

There are many different formulas, formats, and systems for goal setting. However, the bottom line is that it must work for YOU or, in reality; you must be able to make it work for you. Doing a quick Internet search, you will find a wide variety of methods and suggestions, for instance - SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time targeted). My personal favorite has been using this formula. Goals must be achievable, reasonable, realistic, measurable / specific, written down, and shared with someone.


Outside the Dojo or Martial Arts world, we have our personal lives as well
to consider. What sort of goals do you have for self-improvement?

Body Fat Percentage (BFP) of 15-25 % is considered healthy. Is your BFP where you want it to be?

Flexibility: are you as flexible as you would like to be? How can you improve?

Cardio: is your conditioning where you would like it to be? What goals could you set up, using a goal formula, to improve your cardio?

Financial: What are your financial goals? Maybe starting or increasing your contributions to a savings account such as ING Direct?

Family: are you enjoying quality time with your family? How could that be improved?

Relationships: are you enjoying healthy relationships with friends or that special someone? What steps can you take to improve that part of your life?

Finding out more about your self: what makes you happy, and how you can give to others and society (not just take)?

Regardless of your goals, they should be clearly defined and will require commitment and discipline. Also, there is a big difference between showing up for class and putting in time on the mat. That is similar to spending time with your family while you are on the computer or texting. It is important to strive for quality of time vs. quantity of time.

After reading this article take a few moments to reflect on what you desire out of life, regardless of your rank, and think about how you can set goals for self-improvement in your personal and / or professional life. We can all make changes to improve ourselves, if we look at things from the right perspective. Keep in mind, it takes much more than an idea or a thought to find success, it takes action. We can’t just think it … we must DO it!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes regarding goal setting & attitude.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” ~ Walt Disney

“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” ~ Vince Lombardi

“When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” ~ Henry Ford

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” ~ Henry Ford

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”
~ Franklin Roosevelt

I would like to thank Ken Hoggart for this very insightful post. Ken Hoggart is the Head Instructor of Shining Mountain Dojos Canada, Senior Representative of the Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu Federation, has achieved the rank of Menkyo Kaiden Shihan San Dai Kichu (License to teach, the deepest mysteries, of the mastery techniques, understanding the three great pillars - equivalent of 9th degree black belt), is a Use of Force and Defensive Tactics Instructor, and continues to operate both a successful law enforcement training business and traditional Ju Jutsu Dojo. Ken is a proud father and grandfather, enjoys time with family and various hobbies including sport shooting, hunting, hiking, and motorcycling. 

If you would like to learn more about Shining Mountain Dojos or if you may be interested in inviting Shihan Hoggart to do a seminar for your Dojo, please visit the following links –

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