Sticking to your Martial Arts Resolutions

Sticking to your Martial Arts Resolutions
Be it the beginning of the year or some major life event, inevitably we end up making resolutions to do things that will make our lives better. For many who have been in the past involved in Martial Arts, it often involves the desire to pick up training once again.

Here are some tips that might help you stick with your Martial Arts resolution:

  1. To go gunho or not? Often, one of the things I see people jumping with both feet in and driving themselves to the extreme to get back into Martial Arts. This involves setting up unrealistic expectations around commitment and time. While this might seem like a great way to start back up, and in fact is the basis for many “boot camp” philosophies, it isn’t something that can be sustained.

    Others want to do a ramp up period, starting slow and then escalating to their final goal. But they seem to get stuck in this slowed state of training and become frustrated with the pace of their learning. Eventually, rather than ramping up, the process leads to a ramp down of their training.

    I don’t discourage either method of getting back into training; the key is to just get back into it. What will determine your success if how realistic you are in either approach and the goals you set. Answering some basic questions might help you stick to it:
    • What do you wish to gain from such an approach? These should be short-lived goals, not long term ones. Things like, I want to get my body use to this type of work out again or I want to get use to being on the dojo floor are perfect for the big bang approach. But don’t come out expecting to be at the same level as when you left Martial Arts. Don’t expect to relearn everything during this time. This is the startup period, not the end solution.
    • How long are you going to keep at that pace? Be realistic. I often see people start out going to the school every day and spending 3+ hours for a few weeks and then suddenly burning out. Or I’d see the reverse, someone starting out maybe once every few weeks or once a month. That type of pace and lifestyle is something you work up to, not start in with. If you’re trying to jump-start your training again with some intense periods, you can do this in spurts. Just make sure you set a time period and a ramp down time. Think of it just like your warm-up exercises in class. You wouldn’t jump onto the floor and go full tilt without stretching and then a cool-down period at the end. Treat this period of time the same way. If you’re going to start slow, make sure you make immediate plans to how you will ramp up. If you wait too long to ramp up, you’ll find yourself losing interest again and falling down the wrong path.
    • How do you know you’ve reach your final goal? Visualization is a major part of Martial Arts. It’s also a major part of setting up a successful goal. Try to picture what it will look and feel like by the end of the period. Setup milestones that are reasonable to accomplish and can help you measure the small steps in between and up to your final goal.
    • Determine what your future schedule will be. One part that I find many of these efforts forget is to determine early on what sort of training regiment will be the final result of this period. This has to be realistically done and fit with your lifestyle. If you have a lifestyle which demands you’re on the road a lot or don’t have consistent times off of work during the week and you set a week night for the next month to be your training night, this isn’t going to work longer term. It’s key for you to be realistic during this period with yourself in order to be successful. The only person you’ll be fooling is yourself.

  2. 21 to making it a habit. Either way you start into your training, either the boot camp method or a steady ramp-up path, you’ll want to make it a habit in order to keep it going. There have been studies in the past which point to 21 as being the “magic” number to making something a habit. Try to plan out your first 21 classes at your normal pace (not the startup periods described below). If you decide that you can only commit in the future to once a week, then you’re looking to plan out the next 21-weeks of training. If you stick to it through the 21 weeks, you’re well on your way to making it a habit you can stick with.

  3. Get loved ones and friends involved. Some of the most successful people I have seen in this arena start out with friends or loved one’s support. They would come into the school with their friend from work or loved ones and thus support each other to keep coming. Or they would let their loved ones know of these plans and their loved ones would help them stick to it. Ultimately, the more people you let know of your goals and plans, the more likely you will be to sticking to it. It’s like the old saying that the more you talk about something the more real it becomes. It’s part of human nature, use it to your advantage. If you'd like some help from us, post in our FORUMS what your goals are and maybe others here can help you stick to it.

  4. Evaluate where you’re at. Set-up some point where you take the time to evaluate where you’re at and if you’re where you want to be. Self-reflection is a very important part of Martial Arts and life. If you don’t take the time to stop and look at where you’re at, you may miss the roses along the side of the road and the road signs up ahead.

    I hope these tips help with your Martial Arts resolution. Train hard and train well!

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