One of the hardest things to do in any activity, be it work or sports or Martial Arts, is to maintain the momentum. When we first start, we get really excited about doing the new activity. However, over time we find that our energy starts to dwindle. Other pressures in life such as family and schedules begin to weigh down upon your time. Even the changing seasons seem to have it in for us and zap our energy to keep going.
Whatís worse is during the New Year season, when weíre all looking forward to a fresh start and set a whole series of resolutions to get us going. Many people resolve to spend more time doing the things they love, like Martial Arts. Ultimately, though as the holiday season wanes, so does the energy to keep going.
Keeping your momentum going is key not only to your Martial Arts training but also to your life and health overall. Martial Arts is a great stress reducer, a confidence builder, and helps you get in a daily dose of physical activity. There are many other benefits to keeping your Martial Arts going which we wonít go into details here, but the trick is to find ways to keep your momentum going beyond just that initial burst.
Here are some tips that may help:
- Evaluate why you started
One of the best energizers to keep your momentum going is to remember why you started in the first place. Often in the daily grind, we forget what drove us to our loved activity. Was it a movie you wanted, maybe you wanted to do that great move like Bruce Lee? Was it because that first class made you feel invincible? Did you like the stretching or a particular form?
Rediscovering what made you passionate in the first place is a great place to start in helping to keep you focused and going.
- Understand your excuses
Now itís time to get real. Grab a piece of paper and write down every excuse or reason youíre not doing Martial Arts. What is stopping you or causing you to lose your momentum? I strongly recommend you donít skip writing this information down. By forcing yourself to put it on paper, it becomes more tangible. Tangible limitations are easy to overcome than ones you simply hold witin.
- Honestly evaluate your excuses
Once youíve written down why youíre losing momentum, put the list aside for a day or so. Give your mind a break just to recharge and refresh. After a day, pull the list out again and honestly evaluate each of your excuses and reasons. Are they things really happening? Are there things maybe you can do which can alleviate to reduce? Are there ways to get back to the things you loved doing?
- Set goals
One of the best way to overcome obstacles is to setup goals. They are very common for people to do at the start of the year or a new project. When setting goals, you have to make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. SMART is an acronym used a lot in the business world to define a goal. It stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive. Having SMART goals is important as they make real targets that you can measure yourself against and celebrate when you reach them. And just like the excuses and reasons, write these goals down. Having them written will help make them more tangible and thus more likely to happen.
With Martial Arts students, the one thing I find is that many of them arenít realistic. The 40-year-old man who hasnít worked out in years wants to be able to do splits like the 12-year-old boy. Can he learn it? Yes. But it wonít happen tomorrow or maybe even the next day. And it certainly wonít happen without some work involved. Be realistic with what youíre striving for and set smaller ďmini-goalsĒ to reach along the way so you can celebrate your successes.
- Change it up
Sometimes, just changing up your routine may help you find that momentum again. Try asking your teacher to attend class on a different night. Try standing in a different position in the room. Try doing your form with or without shoes, depending upon which you normally perform. Sometimes just the slightest change-up can help spark your motivation again.
- Ask for help
You arenít alone in struggling to keep your momentum going. Chances are, most of the other students in your class are struggling as well and for very similar reasons. One of the best ways to overcome a slump is to join up with others and keep one another motivated and on track. Even your teacher can be there to help you out. Perhaps you identified one of your passions to start Martial Arts was for the chance to teach and be at the front of the class, maybe your teacher can work with you to get there.
Losing momentum happens to everyone and in every aspect of life. Following some of the above steps will help you to keep your momentum going and strengthen you as a Martial Artist. Remember, Martial Arts isnít just a physical activity, itís about developing you as a whole person. Train hard. Train happy!