I don’t talk about goals a lot on the blog, for a variety of reasons. Thinking about them? That’s a different matter.
Your mental approach matters a great deal in terms of how you perform, and one of greatest flaws has always been overthinking things. When you get trapped in your own head — especially mine — it’s not the best recipe for going out and doing what you’ve trained to do.
We all have coping mechanisms, and one of mine is list-making. I think about a series of tasks I have to complete in order to put myself in the best position to succeed. That’s really all you can ask of yourself. If you put a good process in place, you’ll most likely get the best result you could have.
The lists also help me focus on the single specific task at hand. I fly out Tuesday to compete in the Mundials on Thursday. There are 84 guys in my division. If you let yourself think about all those potential matches, you’ll go crazy (at least I would).
So here’s my goal: to give $30 to charity.
If you read the blog regularly, you might know that I donate $10 for every match I win during the year to three worthy charities. Last year it was two, the Women’s Debate Institute and the George Pendergrass Foundation. This year I’m also matching my friend Alec Cerruto’s donations to Backpack Pals, a charity that supplies food to needy children. So every match I win costs me 30 bucks, which is probably the best 30 bucks I ever spend.
So that’s the goal. $30. In the event that I reach that goal, I’ll try to give out another $30. But I shouldn’t and can’t and won’t think beyond the first check I’ll write (or really, PayPal transfer — who writes checks?).
It helps that in my position, I have different goals than someone else might. I turn 40 this October. I love to train and compete, so that’s what I do. I don’t have grander ambitions to set the competition world on fire at the upper belt levels. This is what I do for fun, and I think I perform best when I’m just out there having a blast.
I can’t tell you exactly how I’ll feel when I step out onto the mat, but I’ll tell you what I hope I feel: joy. Gratefulness that I have the opportunity to practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu at all. The sense of relief that I finally get to have some fun after weeks of hard training.
That, and I hope I feel a little poorer. We’ll see!