Top Tips #3: Setting Challenging, but Realistic Goals

Hey guys, today we’re continuing our Top 5 tips for beginner MMA training. If you haven’t already, read back on tip 2 with self-assessment in MMA. However, we’re going to keep it simple with tip #3.

MMA Training Tip #3: Setting realistic, but challenging goals

This sounds simple but it is a big one. If you don’t have a goal, then you’re only working at a fraction of your potential. Why is that? Because it’s kind of like just getting in your car and driving. You know you want to drive, but if you don’t have a destination, you’re just burning gas, wasting time, and wasting money. This is kind of like going to the gym. Don’t get me wrong, hitting the gym is great, no matter what your intention. However, if you don’t know exactly what you want to get out of going to the gym, it’s very likely you’re going to get there.

Let’s start with something basic. What are your goals for starting martial arts? You want to get in the cage? Learn to protect yourself? Or maybe just get ripped with MMA training in your exercise routine? When you know what you want to do with mixed martial arts training, then you have an idea of how to start working toward that specific goal. It’s very important to tell your coach, instructor, or trainer where you would like to be so they can get you on a path toward that goal.

There are a couple other parts to the formula, however. The first is making sure the goals are realistic. If you’ve never trained before, and you want to get in the cage in 90 days, that’s probably going to turn out badly. Once you have a goal, you want to get a good grasp of what you need to do to get there. What techniques do you need to learn? How often do you need to train? What does your strength and conditioning level need to be at? Your coach can definitely help you with, but if you are training solo, there are some great resources for MMA technique and conditioning.

The next part of a goal is that it needs to be challenging. You need to push your body to grow, and give yourself a reason to get better. Let’s look back at the self-assessment. Say you tested that you were able to do 50 pushups in a set, but you want to get to 100. That’s going to take a regular schedule of continuous improvement. Now, you can definitely do this. The question is when? Next year? That’s a realistic goal, but does that challenge you? Does it push you to get to the next level? What about in the next 90 days? The next 60?

Let’s take another example. Say you want to get your black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu. This is an excellent goal to have, and it takes the average Black Belt 5 years to attain it. Some take up to 10 years. Most people never get their black belt. BJ Penn got his in 3 years. It’s definitely possible. It’s one hell of a challenge, and takes some serious dedication. It’s up to you to decide if this route is right for you, and if you want your black belt in BJJ, then you can talk to your coach about how to get there, and how you can go the extra distance. Do you want to be average, or do you want to go beyond?

The challenge part of the discussion brings me to my next tip that you’ll get tomorrow: Setting deadlines and benchmarks. I touched on it briefly with challenging goals, and meeting them in a timeframe that pushes you. Tomorrow we’ll talk about this in more detail, and how it will help you get where you want to be.

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