Categorized | Coaching, Sport Psych

Goals for Athletes

Before I even begin to write the following article I am going to let you know that if the following sounds very intelligent I don’t want to get any credit for it. What I’m doing is adapting ideas from one of my favorite books “Goals” by Bryan Tracy for athletes. This is a book which I recommend anyone to read or get in the audio book version.

All I want you to do is to give this a shot; if you give it a shot then you become addicted to it and you’ll do it every single day of your life. As you may already know, I have made a very successful career in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu despite the lack of high-level training partners in the town where I live (Though I travel to my instructor’s schools as often as possible, including Master Lloyd Irvin and Julius Park among others).

Bryan Tracy writes about a moment of awareness when he was 21 year old. That’s when he realized that everything he was going to have in life he had to make happen himself — that no one was going to ever successfully help him achieve the things he truly wanted. I had a similar moment when I found myself homeless and unable to provide for my mother. It was a low point in my life. I did not have an epiphany but I was forced by life’s trials to realize that I was either going to be successful or a total failure, that I was either going to feed my self or starve to death. It’s this time in my life that I’m so thankful for because it changed me forever.

I feel so much desire, so much passion to prevent that from ever happening again, that every day I’m not working towards achieving my goals or improving my life I feel my entire world is falling apart. These are very personal thoughts that occur every day in my life and I’ve never shared them with anyone before, until now, but I feel that they could be of value to many of my readers and that’s why I finally decided to share it with you.

Throughout this article I will state a couple of rules for success in achieving goals.

Rule 1: Do not expect that anyone will do anything for you. Do not expect any one will do you any favors. Realize that everything that happens to you is up to you and you alone. If people do favors and other things for you give them thanks, but don’t expect them to do it again.

That being said, let’s move to the next rule which is very simple but often overlooked. The next rule in essence implies that in order to achieve your goals you must know where you are going, work your butt off to achieve them, and do it diligently every single day of your life. Most athletes don’t know exactly what they want to achieve in a sport just like a lot of people don’t know what they want to achieve in their lives. It would be impossible to achieve a destination without first knowing where it is.

Rule 2: Write down your goals, make plans to achieve them and work on those goals every single day.

If you believe in this advice and following it would probably bring you more success than anything you learn in school, in life, or at your dogo

The next rule follows from rule number two.

Rule 3: Move towards your goal one percent faster every day. Improve your current state by one percent every day.

This rule I did not get from Bryan Tracy, but I decided to include it here because of a great advice I received once. It goes something like this “If you improve your current state by one percent every day then you will have improved by 365% by the end of the year, which is something we can all be satisfied with.” This was the best advice that was given to me about business. I don’t know if you noticed that the person giving me this very good advice was not a very good mathematician, as this one percent rule works as compounded interest: improving 1% every day will end up giving you more than 365% improvement by the end of the year, as each day achieving 1% improvement becomes harder since you have to improve not from the point where you started but from the previous day. In BJJ this means that by the end of the year you will have improved way over 365% if you do it every day. The key part is “if you do it every day:” you have to have discipline. The reason I like this rule is because is easy to forget how to work towards our destination, it is easy to get off track but this rule always gets you back on the right track.

Rule 4: You become what you think about.

Some time it is hard for people to believe in this last rule. It is easy for people to be disappointed in visualizing themselves as having a million dollars and not ever getting to have it. But I’ll give you my own personal experience. If you step into my BJJ school you will see a lot of things posted in the walls: boards, TV, pictures of students, awards, etc, all done for a purpose. I guarantee that if you walk into my school you’ll be able to tell a lot about me as a person, the things that I like and dislike. All those things in my schools started as an idea in my head, which I realized later on. That’s what this rule is really telling us, that any idea can become a really if you work towards it every day. Everything you see in the world that is made by people started as an idea in someone’s head.

In the second part of this article: “Goals for athletes (continued)” I will give you a great experiment that was conducted twice in history that will blow your mind away.

Until next time,

Roberto Torralbas,

The BJJEngineer

8 Responses to “Goals for Athletes”

  1. Alex Chuen says:

    Really enjoyed the email you sent that drove me here. Consistency is definately the key. This time last year I set myself a goal to earn my blue belt… the reason I failed is because I didn’t make it to training enough. My lesson – decide on what you want and then what you have to do to achieve that goal! My best results come from goals that are action based. Happy 2012


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