Originally posted by PeterR
I've said it before but setting goals is one of the main benefits of the kyu/dan system. As you progress, external goals become far less important, and what do you know the time between gradings become less. In other words going for rank, at least initially, is not so terrible.
Setting goals like making x number of classes a week is also a very good way to go.
Short term, achievable goals is everything. The long term goals will eventually fall into place.
When I started aikido (after a little while to decide that I thought it was worth learning), I set myself the goal of achieving shodan. When training was difficult, when I felt tired, sore or grumpy, I set myself the goal of turning up and training to the best of my ability. Now, as I near my shodan grading, I feel a huge sense of achievement...but passing the grading isn't my goal anymore.
My goal has morphed into wanting to continue training, to keep improving, to enjoy myself and to help my fellow classmates to do the same.
But at least I won't have to buy any new belts for a while