Everyone talks about making lists of goals so that you can reflect on them and return to them over time, see how far you've come in actually achieving them. I don't know whether that's true or not; I hadn't looked at my goals for last year until five minutes ago.
1) Keep training. Seems simple enough. We have a kid coming in short order, and I'll be starting a grown-up job in a week. All that means that my time won't be as flexible as it has been the last several months. And my improvement will probably come on a bit slower. Because I won't be able to get to, say, five to six classes in a week. Because life takes precedence. But. I want to keep training and keep working to get better.
2) Compete at least once, hopefully twice. I don't particularly enjoy competing. It teaches me a lot, and watching myself compete (as painful as that is) shows me where I need to focus training and what parts of my game I have developed. But the build-up and the distance we have to travel because we have very few tournaments in town and the toll of all that hard training---that's rough. And with a life outside of the academy, it's hard to properly recover. I pile the pressure on by not really taking time off and going right back to the mat as soon as I'm home, the mat where I can't train light with my main training partner because my main training partner is my instructor and he doesn't go light with me. But the benefits of self-awareness and honest assessment outweigh the inconvenience.
3) Train outside of Minnesota. Training away from my home academy is always fun and educational. It also means that I'm not stuck in the great white North all year round. I want to get to Marcelo's, to Ryan Hall's academy, to Dave's in Pleasanton and Darcy's in San Jose, not to mention a handful of others. So if I'm traveling, the gi is in the bag.
4) Work my weak positions so I'm comfortable. Inside closed guard, passing, half-guard. It's only three. Shouldn't take that long.
5) Work the belt. I don't want my purple yet. I'm not ready for it. My game is smoothing itself out and I can feel myself becoming more fluid, but I have entirely too much more to learn to be thinking about that promotion right now. I have one stripe on my blue, and that's more than anyone else at the academy. It means a lot that I have that after less than two years training. Keep the head down, keep working and learning.