You’ve seen it on the Internet and you have a few friends who have also started training, you might even know a friend of a friend who is an Muay Thai champion. You’ve always wanted to try it out so you decide to make some calls and look for a Muay Thai school. You find one near by and decide to do a trial class. Even though you weren’t great you absolutely loved it. High from the endorphin rush you sign up with dreams of becoming a total badass and maybe even one day stepping into the ring. You shadow box the techniques you learned on your way out.
Fast forward 6 months later. It’s cold, raining, and the middle of winter. Master Chef final week is on TV and you’re thinking about skipping training to go home to your comfy couch. Training’s not as fun as it used to be anymore and you’ve been getting smashed at work. You wonder what happened to Josh, and Steve who you started with because you haven’t seen them for weeks. It sounds like the beginners excitement has worn off and you find yourself making more excuses not to train than to train. Why is it that so many people drop off and quit training within the first 6 months.
You never set a clear goal.
This is like getting into your car with out a destination. You could potentially drive around for hours, days, and even months! No matter what your reasoning behind starting Muay Thai you should always have short term and long term goals. Goal setting needs to be specific, realistic and measurable. A bad example of poor goal setting would be “get good at Muay Thai”, “lose weight” or “I want to fight more”. It doesn’t set a time line and isn’t measurable. A better example would be “I want to train a minimum of 3 days a week in 2016”, “I want to drop 5kgs by August 2016” or “I want to have a Muay Thai fight by the end of 2016”. All these examples are realistic, achievable and set a deadline. Try to be realistic with your goals. Don’t write something like ‘I want to have my first pro Muay Thai fight’ when you know you don’t have the commitment to train hard enough for it. Set achievable goals and ask yourself are you really willing to pay the price for it, before you commit to it otherwise you are just setting yourself up for failure. Next time when setting a goal think SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
You don’t have time
This is one of the most common reasons why people stop training, but I think it’s complete bulls**t. You made time for it in the beginning when everything was new and fresh, but then as the weeks and months went on “things” got in the way. You had dinner with friends, you went to see a movie, you were tired from work and wanted a night in. As Tony Robbins put it best “It’s not that you’re resource (time) poor, it’s that you’re not resourceful”. You have 24 hours in a day. Training Muay Thai 1 hour out of your day is just 4% of your time. If you want to reach the goals you’ve set then you’ve got to make them a priority. You’ll need to make sacrifices from time to time. If it’s important to you then you will make time for it and not excuses not to.
You were consistently inconsistent
When you first started training you hit it hard every single day. As the weeks went on your days per week decreased. As the months went on you started to take weeks off. You never got into a consistent routine of training regularly or establishing good habits to begin with. When motivation fades you need training to be an already established habit. Habit is established by having clear goal and having the discipline and consistency in your training to achieve that goal. It’s like brushing you teeth every night. You don’t need to watch motivational videos, or read motivational quotes to psych yourself up to do it. You do it everyday, twice a day with out thinking because you know it’s good for you.
You keep getting injured
After every session you walk away with a new injury, and you take some time off to let it heal. It happens again and you take more time off to heal. Eventually your “sick leave” is greater than your actual Muay Thai life span and you quit. I’ve seen this vicious cycle claim many. Muay Thai is a contact sport and you will get injured. You’ve just got to be smart about it. I’m not saying you have to train through all injuries. A bruised shin won’t limit or restrict your ability to focus on boxing. A strained wrist won’t affect your ability to practice your kicks. A good coach will always be able to give you supplement exercises to get you back into Muay Thai training.
You are getting bored
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee
This quote basically sums up what Muay Thai training is all about. You get 3 months into your training and still working on the jab right kick combination. You wonder to yourself when do we get to learn the cool stuff like jumping spinning elbow? The reality behind Muay Thai training is that it’s about refining your basic techniques and not so much learning every single kick technique in the martial arts encyclopedia. It’s about constant personal development and being 1% better than you were yesterday. Of course it will get boring at times but that is when it is good to reflect on why you started Muay Thai and what it will take to achieve your goals. Constantly set smaller goals and when you achieve them, reflect and reevaluate a different goal. I’ve been training for over 10 years now and still do on a daily basis. I focus on a different aspect of Muay Thai every few months whether it be clinch work or boxing. This way I constantly improve in one aspect of Muay Thai and develop as a martial artist every single day.
Muay Thai and Martial Arts training is a life long journey. You will have your peaks and troughs but its what you do in these troughs that will define you. Muay Thai training is tough and many instructors would like to think that most new people will train for years but the reality is that most people quit (and very quickly too). It’s only natural to encounter some or not if all of the problems mentioned above. It’s all apart of the journey. Dream big, set realistic goals and work hard to achieve them.