Finding Your Motivation

New-YearNew-MeSo New Year New Me – Time to set those resolutions! Or is it?

I’ve blogged about goal setting before and let’s be honest there are dozens of blogs out there covering goal setting. But sometimes you just feel lost and lose your motivation. Life gets in the way, injury happens, you lose part of your support structure or even worse something happens that may suck the joy out of jiu-jitsu for you.

Those closest to me know I can pretty much tick most of those boxes in the last couple of years so this is a pretty personal topic for me. I’ll be brutally honest. I can’t give magic solutions and I quite often give better advice than I actually take but here my current thoughts for re igniting/finding your BJJ motivation.

Cafe_Football_18I guess you can sum up my current thoughts through a twist in the phrase “hustle and heart set us apart”. I say a twist as  I might not always interpret it as intended or expected.

Set yourself apart (and take control)
I’m going to start with the last part and what some might say is the slightly controversial and selfish one. Your BJJ is your BJJ. Set yourself apart for a second, consider what you want from BJJ and take control of your own journey. Don’t feel guilty about doing what you want to do.

386308-Queen-Latifah-Quote-Always-follow-your-own-pathIf you want to train with friends at another gym or you want to do a random seminar (then do it). If you want to do certain competitions over others then that’s your choice (most of us fund our own competitions and use our own annual leave to do them). With competition the sense check is simple – are you happy?, do you genuinely want to do it or are you feeling pressured (either from your own expectations or your “team” who want another medal)?

I’m not going to lie, depending on your gym culture this approach can affect your progression, promotion and popularity in the gym. But if that’s the case is it the right place for you? Getting caught in a whirlwind of expectations and doing what other people want constantly can be really unhealthy and feels awful.

Linked to the part above – do whatever makes you happy with your BJJ and fills your heart with happiness (life is too short for anything else)! Do what you want to do happy-brain-adventuresregarding competition, whether that’s challenge yourself or take a break. Always play top? then enjoy the seductive nature of the guard or challenge yourself to invert and spin around! Want to travel or have any bucket list ideas (like training with certain black belts). Then find a way, BJJ is a fabulous sport where you can train with the elite and make friends around the globe. Do what makes your heart sing whether that’s learning to shoot a double leg or experiencing an open mat with free beer!

Although I do have to add in by doing what makes you happy you may also identify what doesn’t and ultimately what got you into your motivational rut in the first place. This can be useful when you’re looking at the final step…

1860d16f9cf379dba43bb21a1b2c4ea1Possibly the hardest part, the hustle is about finding a way to keep moving forward and setting those micro goals. The easiest way of doing this is challenging your weaknesses. One approach is doing what you fear i.e. scared of competing after a serious injury (then get back on that horse and enter something). For others, there isn’t anything that dramatic but it’s about finding something different to shake your routine up and to complement and improve your time on the mat. For some people that’s learning yoga for BJJ, others go climbing, for me, it was S&C and getting those rehab gains.

Ultimately it’s about finding your own way and taking ownership (back to point 1) – I know my strengths and my weaknesses but you’ve got to keep hustling and checking. Personally, sometimes I watch videos of rolling or make notes post class so I can spot trends but generally you know what feels great and what feels difficult. If higher belts point something out take mental notes. But it’s about finding your own solutions – YouTube top team, privates, seminars can all help as can simply asking people you roll with.

jigsaw-pieceFor me looking at filling my gaps and those missing game jigsaw piece can really help get you motivated to at least drill. I don’t mean technique hunting by the way – often it’s going back to basics, refining techniques or working out transitions. I also don’t mean that you dump off your classes and devote your life to BJJ instructional’s because you never know when they’ll be golden! But on the flip side waiting and hoping for something to click in class isn’t always constructive especially if you are demotivated. Let’s be honest if your demotivated your not exactly paying full attention!

This isn’t an overnight fix. You’re going to have to have setbacks and bad days, they’ll be occasional pity parties and a lot of self-care (including some binge eating). You may also have to make some tough decisions and do things you not too sure about.

You’ll also discover somethings might be out of your control and that’s a whole new blog topic but in the first instance just focus on a simple bit of jiu jits wisdom – focus on moving what you can, not what you can’t!

Whatever is going on in your BJJ world then I hope my random waffle and thoughts have helped – here to fabulous New Year and you enjoying your BJJ and doing what you need to do to keep moving forward!

Photo Credit – The Awkward Yeti



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