Goal Setting for Beginners



Part 1:  Setting Short Term Goals

Start taking Notes…  You don’t need to write an essay after every class but start with what the topic for the class was, maybe how many rolls you had, and detail the goal and outcome of your session.  Be constructive. For each training session set a specific goal when rolling.  For Example: only going for armbars from every position, only working for 1 or 2 sweeps. I’ll do a post on my notebook later to give you some ideas.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists the meaning of Success as the following:

Success… (Noun) the accomplishment of an aim or purpose

So it’s important for you to outline that aim and “Define Success” for each session.  As a beginner it’s normal that when you’re rolling with more experienced training partners, you will end up coming out with the short end of the stick… Which may be anything from being one step behind on every move to getting smashed into the mats and submitted every 15 seconds.  To sustain your enthusiasm in these early stages is difficult but if you set yourself a realistic goal then you can leave the mats with a sense of achievement.  Don’t be a pushover, goals like “I’m gonna get swept, passed, mounted and choked by everyone today”… The goal should be realistic AND challenging.


Success today for me will be staying safe (i.e. not getting submitted) from mount.  So no matter what happens… Guy passes your guard, smashes you in side control, transitions to mount but you recognise the danger, keep your elbows tight and arms safe, frame properly on the hips and hip escape back to guard.  The guy may transition back to side control and collar choke you from there, but… You achieved your goal.  Now leave victorious in the knowledge that you were successful.

If on the other hand you get mounted easily and submitted from there by every training partner in that session then don’t get discouraged, simply acknowledge the hole in your game and seek answers… Ask the savage in the class that everyone has trouble submitting or holding mount on, what he does to escape or stay safe? OR ask your instructor for some advice.  BJJ does not operate a “Secret Techniques policy” or techniques that will only be taught to you once you earn the next belt.  So take ownership of the problem and fix it.  It should be reassuring that it’s difficult, most things that are worthwhile are… It is through these mental and physical challenges that you will develop problem solving skills and strength of character.

We will deal with more examples of short term goal setting and long term goals in later posts.  Why don’t you try this method and let us know if it helps…

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