Define goals for every training opportunity and plans for achieving them.
Choose to train consciously. Don’t just sleepwalk through training without a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish. After training, review your progress against that objective and adjust your objective for next time.
Choose to compete consciously. Define a gameplan based on what you want to achieve, rather than a plan that’s solely based on reactions to your opponent. Plans based on things you can control are more resilient when the situation changes.
Define goals and plans specific enough that you can act on them.
Set both short-term and long-term goals. For the short-term, have goals for each class you attend. You can even define goals for each video or instructional you watch. Your short-term goals should directly lead to your long-term goals.
When things don’t go according to plan…
Understand that no plan is perfect, and almost all plans require changes once they go into action. Things rarely go according to plan, and it’s important to be mentally prepared for this. You’ll almost always be changing your plan on the ground. As Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said, “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.”
When competing, it’s important to factor in individual variables that might force you to adapt on fight day. This can include the draw of your bracket, the different styles of your possible opponents, and injuries.
Visualize and mentally prepare yourself for these possibilities. In many cases, the fight is won or lost in the weeks leading up to the fight in training. If you aren’t working hard and smart in the gym every day, your chances of victory will never be as high. You must be able to identify opportunities as they manifest, and act with accurate aggression that must be honed in practice.
To go into the match with an idea of what you want to do is to refuse to be on the defense constantly. You want to dictate the tempo and the pace of the match. If you are constantly waiting to act on your opponent’s actions, you will fall behind in the sequence.
Winners win through aggression and the ability to capitalize on opportunities in the moment, whereas losers lose through excessive timidity.