When I was around 17 or 18 years old, I wrote down four goals in a little notebook I was using for martial arts ideas. I really didn’t look at them much after that but, the effect of committing my goals to paper was significant. I didn’t realize it until almost 10 years later when I found the little beat up, green, one subject notebook in a box in the basement. Looking through it I came upon my goals list and realized I had achieved all of them!
1. I want to be a functional fighter in all ranges of combat. (I was and am obsessed with martial arts)
2. I want a family and home. (in my mind that meant a wife and kids)
3. I want to be very fit and healthy. (this one was achieved and then lost a few times because of injuries)
4. I want my own martial arts school. (est. 2006)
As you can see I knew nothing about how to properly write goals (we’ll discuss this later) but, it still worked! It programmed my mind with a target. The best shot in the world can’t hit a target he can’t see.
To achieve my first, third and forth goals, I moved to Virginia Beach after college. I wanted to train in Paul Vunak’s Progressive Fighting Systems approach to Jeet Kune Do. I called out to California and got through to Vunak’s wife. I asked her if they had any high level instructors on the east coast and she gave me John Davis’s number. I worked construction and saved for almost a year. I left my girlfriend and everyone I knew to train in VA. I found a job at a hotel that allowed me to rent a room cheap for a couple weeks until I could find an apartment. I didn’t know anyone. My apartment had a sleeping bag for a bed, a lawn chair, a TV and VCR. I had instructional videos and a few movies but, no cable. Any time I wasn’t working, I drove an hour to train with John Davis at the Full Spectrum Combat Academy and a couple of his instructor, the Yax brothers. My down time consisted of workouts and sitting in my empty apartment. These first few months were the loneliest of my life. Keep in mind, I’m a person that likes alone time but, there are limits. Luckily, I quickly made friends with the people I was training with. The Yax brothers (John and Jimmy at the time, Chris was in Germany) invited me to move in to the empty house they grew up in, that was sitting empty. They had an old piece of wrestling mat in the room we trained in but, the rest of the house had the carpet tore out and partial renovations throughout. The plumbing and appliances worked so, I was good to go. After four hours of training in the evenings I would mop the sweat (no AC of course) off the mats, dry off a spot and put down my sleeping bag. I’d carry in my TV and watch some training videos before bed. I was uncomfortable and still a little lonely but, I loved what I was doing. As time went by I was able to clean out some of the rooms to make things more comfortable. I can’t thank the Yax family enough. They invited me to every family holiday and gathering they had. I felt at home very quickly. I was able to train in PFS style JKD Concepts, BJJ (from a world class instructor), Muay Thai, Kali and several other highly effective arts.
My experiences in VA are just illustrations of the power of written goals. I was driven to endure any hardship to achieve my goals, and I didn’t even look at them after I wrote them! If I only knew then what I know now!
Don’t wait. Think about who you really are and what you really want. Write it down. Don’t worry about whether it is the “right” way to do it. It can always be improved. Put them up somewhere you can see them everyday. Put them on a little card and have it laminated. Carry the card in your pocket and look at it as often as possible. See what happens!
What if it works?