How to get and keep your head in the fight

Training and competing in MMA requires a huge level of motivation and drive because it’s such a physically and mentally demanding sport. This level of motivation and drive can only be created when you focus your mind on what you want, and dedicate yourself to getting it. That’s goal setting in a nutshell, but most fighters don’t take a formal approach to exploring and setting compelling goals.

‘The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals; the tragedy lies in not having any goals to reach’

-BENJAMIN E MAYS

Someone once said that ‘the tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals; the tragedy lies in not having any goals to reach’. For this reason, setting big goals and objectives is fundamental to your success in MMA. If you don’t find those compelling reasons that really drive you to train and fight, you’re probably going to falter the first time you come up against a real challenge. So, if you don’t want to realize your full potential as a fighter, you don’t want to optimize your physical and mental preparation and your performance in the cage; well, then just avoid setting goals.    

So, why set goals? If you don’t have an idea of what you want to achieve in your career as a fighter, or what you’d like to improve upon in the areas of your technical development, physical conditioning and your psychological skills, then you won’t achieve anything. Thomas Carlyle said that ‘a person with a clear purpose will make progress on even the roughest road. A person with no purpose will make no progress even on the smoothest road’.

‘A person with a clear purpose will make progress on even the roughest road. A person with no purpose will make no progress even on the smoothest road’

THOMAS CARLYLE

To succeed in MMA, like any other area of your life, you must know what you want. Think about it; what do you want to achieve in the short, medium and long term? Maybe you are new to MMA and just want to train hard for the next 6 months and build up to your first amateur fight. Or maybe you’ve been around for a while and want to get a title shot on a local show, or gain a national or international ranking. Maybe you want to be the first fighter from your town to make it to the UFC. You’ve got to give yourself the time to think about what you really want.

You also need to identify your current strengths and weaknesses in the areas of psychological skills, technical development, and physical conditioning. For example, maybe you want to be more powerful or have better endurance and outlast any opponent you come up against. Or maybe you’re not very flexible and that limits some of the techniques you can do, and you want to work on that. Maybe you come out a little too aggressive when you fight and you need to work on relaxing in the cage; maybe you’re not aggressive enough? No matter what you want/need to work on, you don’t need to worry about the details at this early stage because they’ll sort themselves out if you have a compelling vision and know exactly what you want.

In summary, if you’re to create compelling goals that drive you to fight and train hard on a daily basis, you’ve got to reflect on where you are right now in your training. This involves identifying your strengths and weaknesses in the areas of physical conditioning, psychological skills and technical development. Then you’ve got to think about what you really want to get out of your MMA career, and what you want to accomplish in terms of your physical, psychological and technical development. You must get really specific and create some motivating visions that drive you on a daily basis. This is isn’t easy, but I promise that if you can master this stuff, you’ll have the key to unlocking your full potential as a fighter. If you’re looking for a good place to start, check out The MMA Training Bible’s FREE step-by-step Guide to Goal Setting.


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