I am going to start with the obvious. Goals are important. Here is another piece of obvious information. Working to achieving those goals are important. Now, for something maybe not so obvious. Having a date on the calendar by which to accomplish them by is arguably most important.
Setting a date on the calendar puts a countdown for you to accomplish those goals you set in place. It gives you a due date. If someone has a goal to, “get stronger”, that goal remains in limbo while you wait around and debate on which program to choose, what time of day to train, conjugate or 5/3/1, what foods do I need to eat, etc. All the questioning leads to indecision and no one gets any stronger. Having a date on the calendar creates a sense of urgency in your life and in your training. If you know you are going on vacation at the end of June, and it’s the beginning of April now, you have about 12 weeks to get in shape for your vacation.
Since May of 2015, I have set goals with very specific dates on the calendar by which to complete them. Beginning in May, I had a goal to gain size and strength by the end of the year. More specifically work up to 175 pounds in bodyweight by Dec. 31st. Next was in April of 2016 when I put the Tahoe Show on the calendar in August. Watching the calendar as week by week I got closer to my first bodybuilding show really motivated me and kept me accountable to training hard and sticking to my diet. After the Tahoe Show, I set out to compete in jiu jitsu again and signed up the day I got back in the dojo. I am now 31 days out from my next Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament and am counting the days till I step out on the mat and compete again.
If at any time I feel my training begin to grow stale or I no longer am anticipating getting out of bed at 4:15 in the morning to head to the gym, I look at my calendar. If there’s nothing on there, I know it’s time to reassess my goals and chose a date I expect them to be accomplished by. In Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Work Week, he talks about increasing productivity setting timers and cut offs for doing different tasks. He advised to not give yourself all day to get one thing done, because you will inevitably find a way to spend all day doing that one thing. I believe the same with goals. On January 1st, 2017 you probably proudly stated that you are going to be healthier, stronger, faster, more explosive, etc. Did you give yourself a cut off date? Many times people do not set specific dates for these goals and will spend (if their even make it that far) all year working on this one goal, yet never actually achieving it.
These dates on the calendar are almost my accountability partners for training. When I want to break off my diet, the date on the calendar is there to keep me in check. The calendar tells you, “You are five weeks out from your first bodybuilding show a break in your diet now can cost you the physique you’ve spent the last 11 weeks building.” or when I want to skip out on a conditioning workout, “You have two months before the tournament. Building conditioning now will help your training sessions later on, and in turn make you a better jiu jitsu player.”
You might be thinking, “I don’t want to do a bodybuilding show!” or “I hate wrestling and jiu jitsu, I just want to be healthy!” and that’s totally okay! All of us have different passions, goals, needs, and dreams. This is not just specific to combat sports or physique competitions, but for any goal. If you have a goal to be healthier and put on a little bit of muscle and the summer starts in June, use that as your date. Write down your goal and the date by which you want to accomplish it by, and put it somewhere you will be reminded every day, on your phone, the mirror, etc. If you have a vacation coming up this summer, there’s your date. Before I leave for vacation in Santa Cruz, I want to be lean and feel confident in a swimsuit.
Marking that date on the calendar is just the little extra push I need to get through those hard days of training and I believe it just might be the little extra push you need too. Living a disciplined life includes setting goals to better yourself and others. For me, I am focused every day on May 6th, 2017. Every rep, every set, every choke and armbar is all centered around the preparation for the tournament on that date. Those goals are not true goals until there’s a date on the calendar. My goal to compete in jiu jitsu again was not legitimized until put it down in the calendar and paid the competitor fees. Until there’s a date on the calendar, your goals are nothing more than just a dream. A dream that remains in limbo till you pull the trigger and get to work. Not going on vacation this year? Already strong enough for wrestling? You think you don’t need a date on the calendar? Wrong. There’s 365 days out of the year. Pick one of those days and accomplish something powerful before that day comes. Develop the discipline to set a goal and actually achieve it.