Setting Goals for Martial Arts and Life

Have you set your goals for the new year yet?

I know, I know – it’s November.  There’s a lot of time for that.  And we still have to get through Thanksgiving and Christmas, right?  We’ll think about goals later.


You should be thinking about your goals all the time.  Every day, before you do something of any significance – go to work, train martial arts, prepare a meal, read a book, begin a creative project, and so on – first take a moment to remind yourself what result you want out of that activity.  Not just the immediate result, but the long-term result for your life.  What is your desired outcome for this action?

You’ll find that the mere act of asking this question will help you make better choices.

For instance, what is your goal when you prepare a meal?  Is it simply to put something delicious in your mouth?  Or is it to give your body fuel that nourishes you, that energizes you and gives you the strength to face your day?  Figure out what your outcome is for the food you prepare, then decide what dish to make.

This decision process applies in your martial arts life, as well.  Before you train, you must first decide on your goal for that training session.  What end result do you want to achieve?  There is no one right answer for this.  The outcome you pursue will depend on who you are and what your long-term vision is for your life.  Your goal for your practice may be:

  • To get a great workout
  • To learn a new technique
  • To sharpen the techniques you already know
  • To have a Zen experience of being perfectly present, ‘in the moment’
  • Or anything else!

Now it should be clear that it is far easier to focus on your desired outcomes for particular actions when you have already set your long-term goals.  Once you have the results you want for your life firmly set in your mind, you can choose your outcomes for your daily activities based on how those outcomes serve your overall purpose.

So why wait?  If you haven’t already decided on your goals for the next year, do it today!  Write them down.  Write down everything you want to accomplish in 2015, every great thing you want to happen.  And be specific.  This next year, do you want to:

  • Lose 20 lbs?
  • Make $100k?
  • Write a book?
  • Earn your next belt?
  • Win your first pro fight?

Everything you want or think you want, write it down.

Once you’ve done that, go through your list and pick the 3-5 goals you most want to achieve in the next 12 months.  Got ‘em?  Good!

Now that you have your long-term goals, here’s the most important thing:

Don’t wait ’til January 1st to start working towards them.  Start today!

You know what you’re working for.  So keep that in mind as you go about your daily activities.  Before you begin each task, take a minute to ask yourself, “How will eating this meal/practicing this art/reading this book serve my goals?  What do I want to get out of this activity that will enhance my life?”

I hope this process helps you.  And please don’t take this as me preaching or proselytizing.  I wrote this article because I need the reminder, too.  I often forget my goals and get off track.

Now I aim to get back on track, and get a head start on a fantastic 2015.

Keep training hard!

- Luke

P.S.  If you would like a FREE copy of my ebook, The Martial Artist’s Mindset: Mental Practices for Fighters, Students, Teachers, Coaches, and Artists of All Kinds, subscribe to the Mind in the Martial Arts newsletter today!

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One Response to Setting Goals for Martial Arts and Life

  1. Pingback: New author friends, a horrifying podcast, and setting goals for next year | Luke J. Morris

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