Be clear about exactly what you want to achieve. It's not good enough to say “I want to pass more belts” or “I want to be more flexible” or “I want to be fitter”. How many belts? How flexible is more flexible? How much fitter? With these kinds of statements it becomes far to easy to move the goal when the hard work starts. Try “I will pass Yellow, Orange and Green belts”, or “I will get my box splits to 6 foot wide”.
You will need to be able to measure your success along the way, otherwise how will you know you are getting closer to that goal? To help with this set yourself markers along the way, mini-goals that you can tick off on your journey towards the big goal. This will help with motivating you through the rough patches – we all have them – when that goal seems too far away, as well as giving you the regular reminder that you are constantly improving as you hit each mini-goal.
There is no point setting an unattainable goal that you have no chance of making. If you have just recently passed your red belt then don't aim to be a black belt by Christmas, you are setting yourself up for failure and that will only serve to demotivate you and hamper your training. Along the same line, don't make the goal too easy as this will present no challenge. Hitting your goal half way through February may feel great for a short while, but then where is the motivation to carry on? You don't want to be coming up with new goals and changing your training focus every few weeks.
Does this goal fit in with your current training and your other goals? If one of your goals is to run the London marathon in April and the other is to win the Arnold Classic body building competition in March, all while you're training kickboxing every week, you won't be able to work towards one without hampering your progress towards the other.
You should set a time limit for your goal. “I want to master the tornado kick one day” provides no sense of urgency. “I want to master the tornado kick by my birthday this summer” gives you an end date, and with that you can set your markers in time to keep you on track, such as “I will master the spinning crescent kick by the end of April”.
What ever your goal is, always strive for continual improvement. In every training session try to push yourself that little bit further than last time. Move a little faster, hit a little harder, train a little longer between breaks. Arrive early to training and start stretching out on your own, grab a skipping rope and work on your footwork and co-ordination for 10 minutes, or do a little shadow boxing to loosen up and practice combo's.