It’s that time of year again and physical activity almost always tops the New Year’s Resolution list. When you sit down to make your resolutions involving your martial arts practice (or general fitness activities) there are a few tips that will help you stick to your resolutions and increase your chance of successfully obtaining them.
1. Make your resolutions realistic. It should go without saying, but often we make resolutions that would require us to make a drastic life change in order to achieve them. We may endeavor to make this change for a few weeks or months, but eventually tire of the effort and give up the resolution entirely. If you resolve to go to the gym more often, for instance, don’t begin to go six days a week if you have only been making it in twice a week initially. Increasing your time to three times a week would be more realistic and achievable.
2. Know the difference between a resolution and a goal. You may resolve to compete in the upcoming Chicago Golden Gloves and your goal may be to win or even just make it to the finals. Especially if you have never entered into the competition before, don’t resolve to win. Resolve to compete, making winning your goal.
3. Don’t make more than five resolutions. Unless the resolutions are incredibly simple, making ten of them is almost always asking too much of yourself. Unless you plan on forgetting some of your resolutions partway through the year, be realistic about how many habits you can change and how many milestones your can put honest effort into conquering at once.
4. Have someone look your resolutions over. If you’re serious about making some changes, have a friend you can trust to be honest with you and who understands and supports your martial arts look over your list. They may be able to tell you that doing three competitions, five more seminars and increasing your training by an extra two days a week will most likely leave you time for little else. Balance is important.
5. Break your resolutions down into goals. Once you have your resolutions set, get out a calendar and set milestones. Make them realistic and think of the time it will take to honestly achieve what you resolve to change. Make sure to set both long term and short term goals and reassess them quarterly. You may be able to take on more after four months has passed or you may find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew and will need to reevaluate if you want to stick to your resolution.
6. Reward yourself! When you take your quarterly inventory, give yourself a celebration if you’ve managed to stick to your resolutions! Having a something like this to look forward to will help keep you on track!
Improving in martial arts itself can be a worthy goal or resolution. Be specific about what you hope to achieve and allow room for life to intervene. Even small improvements over time will add up!