Committing to Growth

February 2016


In choosing to study the Martial Arts, you have clearly set a goal for yourself; every time you go to class, practice your kicks, or read something new about the Martial Arts, you move toward your goal, form by form, belt by belt. The time that you devote to Martial Arts practice and study, along with your interest in making Martial Arts principles a part of your lifestyle, demonstrate the power of your Black Belt goals to set a proactive tone in your life. While setting goals can seem easy enough, achieving them can be tough. With a little vision, however, you can easily achieve any goal.


Be realistic. Lofty goals may or may not get you anywhere. Focus on what truly interests and inspires you. Focus on those areas that are within your control; think positively.

Break big goals down into manageable, measurable pieces. Once you decide on a goal, take a bird’s eye view of it. How are you going to get from here to the finish line? What needs to happen first? Second? Third? Write these steps down. These are your “short-term goals.”

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Review goals regularly. Your attention and focus is called upon by on so many things each day that it’s not hard to lose track of the essence of what you are trying to accomplish. Writing your goals gives you the option of reviewing and renewing your commitment as often as you need to. It also allows you to modify them as the need arises.

Be flexible in your thinking. This doesn’t mean being wishy-washy. It does mean being tuned in to your own body, your sentiments, and your circumstances. Do you need to make changes in the way you are approaching your goal? In extreme cases, you may need to rethink your goal completely. Be honest with yourself.

Value the roots of your achievements. Even while you aspire to something greater, or simply different, recognize the special meaning of who you are and what you are doing right now. Even when you have earned your Black Belt, you won’t leave the person you were as a Gold belt behind. Without the “Gold Belt” you, the “Black Belt” you couldn’t have happened.

While working toward your goals, take care of yourself. Take time to rest. Listen to your body. Spend time with people who support and love you.

Shihan Robert H. Mason © 2016