The New Year is traditionally the time to reflect on ways to improve our lives in the coming year. As martial artists, we’re striving not only to be strong, but to be smart, as well. It’s smart to focus on self-improvement and it’s our mind that is our greatest asset in becoming a better person. Martial arts is mental and physical in nature, to be functional and to be art. It is the “art” in the martial arts that is most often neglected and yet it is the most powerful tool for changing and improving our lives. The biggest opponent to self-improvement often resides between our own ears. It is the “art” of martial arts that can help us to gain the mental discipline to overcome this wary opponent.
Most of us experience physical harm not from other people, but rather from ourselves. We can become our own opponent by allowing life’s negative forces to take control of our lives. Over time, our bodies can collapse from poor eating habits, insufficient exercise, work-related stress, daily pressures and bad habits.
Martial arts can prepare you for a victory over yourself by teaching you how to balance the physical and mental aspects of your life, thus achieving self-control and better focus. Your mind holds the key to all your actions. Martial arts can help you harness your mental energy to live a happier, healthier life.
At the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions can be a commitment to maintain perfect attendance in your martial arts classes. That’s a great place to begin and good luck with all of your resolutions!
Here’s a plan you can use for all your goals.
Step 1- Put it in Writing: Write your goal on paper...seeing is believing. For example: I want to become a great Black Belt.
Step 2 - List Your Strategies: Write down everything you think you will need to do to achieve your goal. These are your resolutions. For example, resolve to attend class at least twice per week, resolve to ask for help when you don’t understand a technique.
Step 3 - Take Action: This is a tricky step because you need to be motivated in order to act. Motivation is sometimes lacking because at times a resolution you make may be difficult or even undesirable to act upon. This is where your Martial Arts training really helps you by building the self-confidence to take that “leap-of-faith” first step.
Step 4 - Perform Frequent Check-ups: You must make it a priority to evaluate your progress and to determine if your action is taking you towards success. Expect set-backs! Any challenging goal or resolution is bound to face obstacles. Routine check-ups allow you to identify obstacles that you need to overcome, and monitor the progress you are making.
Step 5 - Adjust and Cycle: Now that you have achieved some results and have identified some obstacles you may need to make adjustments and cycle back to Step 1. Knowing what you know now, has your goal changed? Maybe it was too easy or too hard. What can be added to your “To Do” list (Step 2)? What isn’t working that should be deleted? Continue to “Take Action until you reach the desired result.
If you are serious about making a change in yourself for the New Year, make a commitment to follow this five-step plan for success. NAPMA