Sifu Corey Williams, Waterloo Kung-Fu Academy

By Sifu Corey Williams

The fact that the weather is getting colder is a sure sign that the year is coming to a close. At this time, it’s important to reflect and identify how successful you were in your 2016 Kung Fu journey based on the goals you set for yourself. Were you successful? Did you struggle to meet them? Either way, did you ask yourself why?

Goal setting takes some thought and planning. There are three steps that will help you set realistic goals you can achieve.

  1. Identify the high level objective. This is a statement that articulates your desired strategic direction
  2. Identify the goal. This is a statement that identifies the “what” you would like to achieve. Do not focus on the “how” in this step of goal setting
  3. Identify the action plans(s) and associated measurement(s). This is a set of specific actions and corresponding measurement points that will help you stay on track and meet your identified goal. There are two types of measurements. The first is called a ‘lagging indicator’ and ultimate represents the end state. The more important measure is called a ‘leading indicator’ and acts as a predictor of the end state. Both are important but the leading indicator helps you identify if you’re on track with your plan.

possibleLet’s look at an example:

  1. Objective: I would like to improve the skill and proficiency of my Kung Fu
  2. Goal: I would like to achieve my green sash by next October
  3. Action Plan and Associated Measurements:
  • Attend class regularly
  • Practice and train outside of class
  • Successfully complete green sash grading
  • Leading indicators: Attend 3 classes per week, practice 2 times per week at home and 1 cross training activity (like running or swimming) once per week
  • Lagging indicator: Achieve green belt

As stated, leading indicators are a predictor of your lagging indicator. If you identify good leading indicators, you will know if you are on track to meet your goal or your lagging indicator. Through this approach, you can identify if you are falling behind. If you recognize you are behind, you can adjust your action plan in order to get yourself back on track (course correct). If we use the example above, if you fall behind on your practice outside of class, you could review and update your action plan to make up for the short fall. It could result in an adjusted action plan to practice 3 times per week instead of 2 until the actual grading date.

In addition to setting your primary 2017 Kung Fu goal, take some time to reflect on your success and challenges this year. Leverage those successes to keep the momentum going in 2017. Identify those challenges and develop some realistic goals and action plans to turn those opportunities into successes that you can be proud of next year when you reflect and set your 2018 goals.