As we move into a new year it is a time when many people set resolutions. I have never been big on this idea but do like the idea of setting intentions and working toward goals. A goal is a desired result that a person envisions, plans and commits to achieve. A (SMART) goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic in a Time frame. An intention is the determination to act in a certain way.
The intake forms have a spot to list goals for training to help us examine our reasons for spending time in the dojo. We rarely revisit these after the intake. In some ways we can do this at the end of each day. “Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow” In Karate we punch and kick toward a target, that may be the center of the body or the nose etc. but we can also be training toward a target or goal.
I approach my training intentionally with at least one goal in mind. If your goal is to be a _____ belt by this time next year what steps do you need to take to get there? Are you taking those steps? Are the things you read/ watch/ do helping or taking your attention and energy away? If your goal is to learn the curriculum, how are you working to remember it? If your goal is to master a technique or posture you must ask, is the frequency and intensity I am practice it going to get me there? This is not to urge the setting of vague goals that have nonspecific steps toward an intangible outcome but to help us examine our motivation. To have fun is not a goal, in the sense defined above it is vague and not measurable; It can be an intention. If I go on vacation my intention is not to be miserable, I generally intend to enjoy myself. My goal may be to see somewhere I have never seen, or hike up to a glacier or photograph a particular landmark. If you are a hunter the goal is rarely to sit in the cold outdoors, it may be to get food or a trophy. Getting to be in the outdoors can be part of the fun.
This skill extends beyond training in to life in general. As we begin a new year I would invite you to refresh your goals for training and life in general and set an intention to act in such a way that you will achieve those goals. Write them in some place you will see them daily, and ask yourself is what you are doing today getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow?