3 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Jiu Jitsu Goals for 2022

Welcome to 2022! It’s a new year, which means new  Jiu Jitsu goals for 2022!

Goals in Jiu Jitsu are so important. If you have not yet created a list of goals for yourself, go ahead and do that now. Goals will help you to measure progress, stay motivated, and continue improving.

I’m not here to tell you what goals to create for yourself. Everyone is going to be different when it comes to their goals in Jiu Jitsu. Some students want to win tournaments, others want to lose weight, some want to make friends and improve their mental health. This is where you need to take time to get to know yourself on the mat and what you want to achieve. If you are a white belt, here are some common themes to focus on to get you started with your goals. 

What I can provide you with is 3 of the most common mistakes that are made when creating goals for Jiu Jitsu and how to avoid them. This will help you create goals that are productive and effective in your Jiu Jitsu journey.

Mistakes to avoid in your Jiu Jitsu goals for 2022:

1. Goals that you can’t control

The most common mistake that students make when creating their Jiu Jitsu goals is creating goals that they cannot control. What does this mean?

Goals that you cannot control include goals that involve outside variables and factors. For example, if you commit to the goal “end every roll with a submission”, then you are bound to be disappointed.

Why? Because you cannot control the technique, intensity, or experience of your opponent. Your opponent is the external factor that you cannot control, and so if your opponent has great defense and you are unable to submit them, you will become disappointed, demotivated, and ultimately give up on your goal.

Reframe this goal to: “Begin every roll with a submission in mind”. This goal involves only factors that you can control – your mindset before a roll. You can control the conscious thoughts that you engage in before a roll, and no matter the external factor, you can always begin every roll with a submission in mind. This is a goal that will improve your Jiu Jitsu, without causing frustration and disappointment. Some other examples of goals that you can’t control and how to reframe them include:

  • Never get my guard passedNever accept a pass (meaning don’t get discouraged when you are about to get passed or if you get passed, and always be looking for a way to recover)
  • Roll 8 times every class (there may be days where the instructor does not alot time for 8 rolls)focus on my breathing during every roll
  • Don’t tap (inevitable…this is jiu jitsu, hopefully you tap! Otherwise you’ll get put to sleep, arm broken or leg snapped off)Take notes after I get tapped out, and focus on learning rather than getting discouraged

2. Goals that are outcome oriented

Not only do I hear this all of the time, but I myself have made this mistake. Outcome oriented goals are the infamous “I am going to win 5 tournaments this year”, “I am going to win the Worlds”, “My goal is to get my purple belt before December”.

Instead of writing goals that are outcome oriented, focus on writing goals that are process specific.

For example, instead of “I am going to win an IBJJF this year”, your goal should be “I am going to follow this training plan with no exceptions, read books on champion psychology, and lift at least 4 times a week”

These goals are process specific, so they set a clear path forward. By following this goal, you enter the competition feeling motivated, prepared, and confident. The next step is to simply trust the process that you created for yourself, and let the outcome speak for itself.

Ironically, goals that are process specific as opposed to goal oriented are more likely to help you reach your goals.

  • I am going to get my purple belt by DecemberI am going to train at least 3 times a week and study at least once a week

3. Goals with no foundation

The final most common mistake students make is creating goals because that’s what they were told to do and that’s what everyone else is doing, but they take no time to understand why they are creating the goals.

The truth about goals is that they take time, and time inevitably involves bad days, curve balls, contingencies, and other roadblocks we cannot predict.

Whatever goals you create, you want to expect and plan for the inner voice that will tell you, “you don’t really need to do this”, “do you really even want this?”, “no one cares if you make this goal or not”. You have to plan for the days when you are sick, when you are tired, when you receive bad news or are feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed.

What will carry you through these days is a foundation. A “why” for every goal you create. It will help to write these “why’s” down, because on the low days, it will be very hard for your mind to retrieve them. This will help keep your goals alive, and will avoid them falling to the wayside because “well they’re not that important anyway”.

If it’s something you want, then understand why you want it.

For example…

  • My goal is to train 3 times a weekwhy? Because this will help my mental health and I will be a better father, husband, and employee if my mental health is in check.
  • My goal is to follow my training plan to a tee and hopefully win this next tournament → why? Because I’ve wanted to for a long time and it will make me feel proud of myself. Because I want to set an example for my son and for my students. Because I want to prove to myself that I can.

Any and all of these are sufficient for your “why”. As long as you have your “why”, you are more likely to achieve your goals and overcome the days when you feel like giving up.


Take time now to reflect on the goals you have set for yourself this year, and maybe reframe some of them to avoid these most common mistakes. When you have goals that are intentional and well written, you will be more likely to achieve the goals and grow further in your jiu jitsu journey.