Catching Up in 2024: New Year’s Resolutions Tips For Late Bloomers

0 Posted by - January 11, 2024 - Training, Wisdom

It’s been 2024 for a little over a week now. We’ve rested and recovered from the holiday season and it’s time to get back to our training routines. If you’ve made New Year’s Resolutions for 2024, you might also be taking your first steps toward new martial arts training plans and new goals. 

Or maybe you’ve made resolutions, but you haven’t quite made it past the start line just yet. Or you really meant to set a few new goals for the new year, but you couldn’t figure out exactly what you wanted to accomplish in your martial arts training in 2024. 

If you’re in the latter category, don’t worry! You’ve still got over 350 days to set and achieve new martial arts goals this year. And this blog is dedicated to helping you get there.

Last October, we looked at some New Year’s Resolution ideas for early birds. Now let’s dig into some tips to help you set goals, find the motivation to start working toward them, and finally reach them in 2024.

Start small.

If you can’t think of any major goals for your martial arts training in 2024, or if thinking of the bigger picture intimidates you more than it inspires you, why not try out some smaller goals first? You don’t have to earn a new belt or win a new tournament this year to accomplish something worthwhile. And all of those little accomplishments add up over time to bring you closer to bigger milestones in your martial arts journey. 

Your small goals can be as small as you want or need them to be. If you’re going through a rough patch and are feelings particularly unmotivated, you can start by making a resolution to go to your next training session even though you might not feel like it. If and when you achieve that goal, resolve to make it to the next sessions, too. And so on. 

Maybe those small victories will help you gain the confidence and motivation to start looking at the bigger picture again. Or maybe they’ll inspire you to make more small goals. Either way, you’ll be making progress. 

Get specific.

Vague resolutions like “I want to get better at Karate” or “I want to get into Mixed Martial Arts” can work for some people. But other people might find them hard to pursue because they can’t see any clear steps toward those goals or ways to measure your progress. Breaking down general goals into specific parts makes those goals easier to start and more rewarding to pursue. Even if you don’t have bigger goals in mind, naming specific details of your training that you’d like to tackle can help you grow as a martial artist. 

Is there a particular technique that’s been giving you trouble? Resolve to make a breakthrough in 2024 and set out steps to you get you there, like asking your sensei or a trusted training partner for tips or doing extra practice at home. 

Is there a technique that you’re still a little unsure about? Resolve to try it out in a sparring session and see how it goes. Don’t worry about how well it works just yet. Start by doing it at all. Whether it goes well or not, you have new information that you can use to plan your next set of goals. 

Work backwards.

If you can’t figure out what exactly it is that you want to do with your martial arts training in 2024, it might help to look at the even bigger picture. Do you have a 5 year plan? A 10 year plan? Or how about a general idea what you would like to accomplish in your martial career over a lifetime? If you do—or if you feel inspired to make one now—you can use that grand vision to help you figure out what you can do right now.

Write down your major goal. Then start brainstorming the smaller goals along the way that can help you build toward that goal. What steps do you need to take first to build toward your big dreams? What can you tackle right now to start making things happen? It could be a class. It could be a new cross-training routine. Or a new form of martial arts weapons training.

Once you have the foundation of your long term goals laid out, you can start to make short and medium term goals to pave your way. 

Track and celebrate your progress.

A journal, chart, or other means of tracking your day by day process in your martial arts training is a great way to help you get and stay motivated. Even if you’re already raring to go, keeping a log of where you’re at, where you’re going, and every single step you take along the way is a wonderful way to celebrate the progress you’re making. You can even add rewards along the way.

Think of it like a martial arts version of a book program. Set up a chart. Write down your New Year’s Resolution at the far end. Then write down the small steps you need to take to get you there, like each class you need to attend, each sparring session you need to try, each tournament you want to sign up for, etc. Then give yourself a sticker or checkmark for each milestone you hit. Or put a certain amount of change in piggybank each time you take another step. 

When you earn a certain number of stickers or checks, you can reward yourself with a treat, like some new martial arts gear that will help you reach your goals in 2024