We’re a few days into 2021, how are your martial arts and fitness resolutions coming along?
If you’ve outlined big goals for yourself and your training this year, that’s great! Even better if they’re coming along so far. We’ve got some tips on how to make and keep your fitness resolutions and resolutions that can help you expand your martial arts training from New Year’s blogs past that can help you stay on track this year.
If you’ve stumbled in the early days of your resolutions, if you haven’t made any resolutions, or if you’re not even sure that you want to make any, that’s fine, too. Feeling a little less than 100% enthusiastic about training goals is nothing to be ashamed about. A lot of people — even the most dedicated martial artists and fitness buffs — are feeling that way right now. And this blog is for you!
2020 wasn’t an easy year for many reasons. Almost every aspect of our lives became more challenging or more complicated in some way, and training was no exception. Tournaments were cancelled. Gyms and dojos were closed. For long periods of time in many parts of the world, we couldn’t even work with training partners unless we were lucky enough to live with them. Even when it wasn’t impossible to maintain a resolution or achieve a goal in fitness and martial arts, it was hard to stay motivated. Which can make setting a new set of goals this year feel even more daunting. Or maybe a little purposeless. We also don’t have the clearest idea of how 2021 is going to shape up just yet, which throws another wrench in our ability to make long term plans.
Just because it’s uniquely hard to make resolutions for 2021 doesn’t mean that it’s not worth trying, though. If you’re interested in setting a few goals for yourself, but you’re not sure how — or what — to do, we have some tips for making practical and meaningful martial arts and fitness resolutions. And if you’re not even sure if you want to try this year, we have some suggestions for you, too.
Keep it small.
Small, easily measurable — and relatively easy to accomplish — goals are a great way to get back on track when you’re feeling unmotivated, unfocused, or overwhelmed. Something as simple as resolving to do 10 pushups, or 1-3 minutes of shadowboxing or solo grappling drills a day can help you to regain a sense of accomplishment that might have been lacking in your recent efforts and reestablish your training routines and work ethic. It can also keep your mind and body in shape for when you are ready to start tackling bigger goals.
For ideas on basic drills from boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, and more, check out our series of blogs on at-home martial arts training.
Keep it simple.
If you’re already feeling overwhelmed and exhausted in other aspects of your life, now probably isn’t the best time to tackle brand new training goals or push too far out of your comfort zone. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother with martial arts resolutions or training goals at all. It just means that you might want to consider bringing new ideas to an area of your training that you already enjoy or excel at. Are you a boxer who loves heavy bag drills? Resolve to experiment with the timing of your rounds or your techniques. Do you like to work from a specific position in your grappling? Resolve to study and practice new attacks and submission attempts from it. Is running your favorite form of cross-training for martial arts? Try playing with time, distance, and stride drills. Working from a position of strength can keep you strong and grounded in your training at a time when everything else still feels uncertain.
If the philosophical isn’t working for you right now, maybe it’s time to consider more concrete rewards. Set measurable goals, and then plan rewards for yourself when you achieve them. They can be simple and small, like having your favorite snack when you’ve kept up your new martial arts training routine for another week, or picked up a new technique. Or they can be bigger, like ordering yourself a new martial arts uniform or a new pair of boxing gloves when you log a certain number of training hours, or reach a new milestone in your martial arts training. Motivating yourself with material rewards might not be the ideal way to grow as a martial artist in the long term, but these are unprecedented times. If it gets you to put in the work and it’s within your budget, go for it!
Resolve to make a resolution later in the year.
We’re not recommending that you procrastinate about your resolutions, but that you make an active plan to defer them for a few months. If you really can’t wrap your head around setting goals in your martial arts training now, pick a date later on in the year. Resolve to keep up your current training plans until then. And then stick to revising your martial arts training routines and goals when you hit that date. Chances are that you’ll know more about the state of the world and yourself by then and you’ll be able to make more informed — and motivating — long terms goals. Check out our New Year’s resolutions blog from 2018 for ideas on how to recover and grow as a martial artist.
Resolve not to make a resolution.
We’re not recommending that you give up, either. But if you really can’t think of any specific goals you feel up to attempting this year, why not take a more zen approach to your martial arts training? Resolve to take each day as it comes this year. Or even resolve to add more scheduled rest to your martial arts training. After a challenging 2016, we looked at the vital role that rest can play in making you a better and healthier martial artist for New Year’s 2017, and those tips are as true now as they were then.