This week’s Beyond the Mat lesson, “Designing Achievable Goals,” was one of the most helpful lessons from my first degree test in 2015. My fellow advanced candidates and I are experiencing surprisingly less stress over the huge amount of checklisting and the daunting fitness baselines this time around, and I think it’s partly because we learned to look at the tasks ahead of us, break them down into chunks, and tackle them one at a time. I know that, as long as I follow the plan, I’ll be in good shape for each of our deadlines.
Let’s get into the practical application for a moment. Last year I learned about bullet journaling, which is basically just a framework for keeping an organized notebook for any reason, including scheduling and tracking habits and to-dos. In the weeks preceding the start of the Mastery test, I tried out a couple different layouts for keeping tabs on my martial arts progress and finally landed on a spread that’s helped keep me accountable for the conditioning portion:
Between the MRI workout and the black belt prelim, I started off my conditioning log super behind on tracking my mile time, so the bullet journalling method helped me migrate those “tasks” to the next week (and the week after that). It was rough doing the mile and quarter mile two days in a row last week in addition to classes and checklisting, but I caught back up and even hit some PRs for this year! Plus, my training log shows me where my holes are — if I’m not making checklisting progress, or I’m not taking rest days, or I’m not doing enough classes or conditioning reps, it’s easy to spot. I like having a central spot to note checklisting feedback and brainstorm creatives, too.
Anyway, the tracking method doesn’t matter as long as your goals are specific and actionable and you have a plan, but this has definitely helped me out this year. Plus it’s been fun assigning a different Pusheen to every week, which I doodle in the margins. As for me, I have one more migrated task to do, which is catch up on journal entries! See you again in a few days.