How to set BJJ and Judo Goals and Resolutions for the New Year in 4 Steps (Part 2 of a 3 part series on goals)

Posted by Jason

Well it's that time of year again, New Years! With the new year comes resolutions of being better, stronger, and having more technique than last year. So how do you prioritize and how do you set goals that will actually stick?

The different types of goals

First of all there are different types of goals. There are outcome based goals, and there are performance oriented goals (some people call these process goals).

Here is an example of each

Outcome based goals:

Outcome based goals are goals are the types of goals that ignore the process and instead focus on the end goal. Example:

I'm going to get my blue belt in bjj this year

Performance/Process oriented goals (P-goals):

P-goals are based on the process or performance of what you are going to do, rather than simply an end goal. Example:

I'm going to go to the dojo 5 times a week starting January 1.


Both of these types of goals are decent in their own right, but for things as complex as grappling, we need to combine these to make a goal that's specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and time bound…. Wait, where have I heard this before?? Oh yeah! SMART goals that everyone preaches!



Action oriented


Time bound

So let's try setting a SMART goal and see what happens.

Follow along with the steps below with your own goal. Make sure you are typing it out or writing it on a piece of paper. These things get detailed and it's easy to forget a year from now.

Step 1: Start with your shitty new years resolution

“I am going to get good at BJJ this year”

The problem here is pretty obvious with this resolution, it's vague, it's not measurable, no timeframe, you get the idea.

Step 2: Making it an outcome based goal

“I am going to get my blue belt in BJJ “

As you can see we are getting a bit more Specific. Let's step it up a notch.

Step 3: Adding in the Performance/Process

“I am going to get my blue belt in BJJ in by attending practice three times a week “

Now you've got something thats DO oriented, rather than GET oriented. Actively attending practice a certain number of times is an action you control and can easily measure.

Step 4: Checking that it's a SMART goal

Let's see how we can use the SMART guidelines to make this goal better. SMART goals aren't just a fancy acronym, it's a litmus test to see if your goal can be a reality, or just another new years resolution gone by the wayside.


“I am going to get my blue belt in BJJ in by attending practice three times a week “

The specifics of this are obvious, and underlined.


“I am going to get my blue belt in BJJ in by attending practice three times a week

You can easily keep track of how many times you hit up practice in a week in your training journal… You have a training journal right?

Action Oriented

“I am going to get my blue belt in BJJ in by attending practice three times a week

Action Oriented, process or performance, action, and all these other business jargon like words all mean one thing DOING. ATTENDING is the key word in our goal here.

This is by far the most important check. It is a real action that you will undertake to get your blue belt. By ensuring that there is some sort of action, the goal also makes it easy to MEASURE on a week by week basis.


The question here is what's your story, and is it possible to get from where you are now to where want to get to?

Let's say we have one stripe on our white belt and have been training judo for 4 years. Is getting a blue belt attainable? Sure, given the right amount of time.

Time Bound

Let's put a deadline on this bad boy, say by December 2013. If you don't have a deadline… well you don't really have a goal do you?

How does it sound so far?

“I have one stripe on my white belt and since I've been doing judo for 4 years since I got the stripe. I am going to Get my blue belt in BJJ by December 2013 by attending practice three times per week.”

And there we have it.

By walkng through these 4 steps, you've turned your shitty new years resolution into a written goal that will keep you on track week by week. It also changes the goal from something you aim to DO rather than GET. It has combined the best elements of an outcome based goal and a P-goal!

I can't stress the importance of adding in the action you are going to take to get to your goal. The action part is the part only YOU control. You can't control how someone sees your skill level but you can be fully be in control of how many times you hit the dojo a week, and after all… the journey is more important the destination.

Coles notes:

  1. Start with your shitty new years resolution that's probably the same as the one you had last year
  2. Choose a specific outcome
  3. Have a process or action for how you are going to attain the outcome
  4. Check that it is SMART
  5. Write the damn goals down somewhere! Everyone has a smart phone, write it in your notepad in there. Before smart phones I used to write my goals on a piece of paper and keep it in my wallet.

Can you use the process above to set your own goals for 2013? Let's hear them in the comments below!

If you haven't checked out part 1 of this series on how my 2012 goals rocked and flopped go here. Also, stay tuned for part 3 where I outline my new goals for 2013 using the steps above.


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