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As you’re training on the mat or someplace else each day or week, do you have in mind what kind of martial artist you’d like to become?

I’ve used the phrase ‘you’d like to become’ deliberately because as martial artists, goals are always moving targets.  Having a goal helps to reduce complacency and keeps our foot firmly on the gas to do better…

well, we’d like to think that but it’s not always true.

You see, I think with the best intention in the world, sometimes we have a habit to think more than we actually do. 

Between thinking and doing resides

Motivation

As many know, my main goal in training is to turn my life around.  I started my journey as being very unfit and overweight, and I’m progressively working towards becoming a fitter and healthier version of me.  Another closely related goal is to use my developing fitness to do things that I would expect a black belt my age to be able to do.  However, I’m not immune to slip ups. 

In fact, my last one was quite bad.  Actually, I should call it a fitness horror story.

I have no justification for what happened, and I’m telling you this straight up.  In my mind, my fitness and diet routines were the same but the weight kept piling on.  Other people told me that I was eating more and doing less.  I probably was, but just was oblivious to it. 

So, this all came to a head towards the end of October 2018 when I needed a dress for an event and had assumed that I would wear something from my wardrobe.  Me being me, I just packed it up without trying it on.  I’ll spare you the details but boy, did I feel like an idiot at the event!

On my first day back, I hit the gym and checked my weight.  That was the second big shock!  I had gained 10kg (22lbs), in fat, over the past months. 

I’m super grateful for this period of shock, even though I wish I hadn’t slipped up in the first place!  It was a clear message that my foot had left the gas even when I thought I was on it.  

Whilst my fitness goals hadn’t changed, reflection led me to realise that my motivation to work hard had dropped.

What happened next?

Over the next few days, I re-evaluated my goals and actions, by asking myself two questions: 

What kind of martial artist would I like to become?

How bad do I want it?

I then broke down the main goal into smaller goals that I could track over the months, which would be really helpful to make sure that such a slip up is less likely to happen again.

Once I knew where I was going and what I needed to do, I placed my foot back on the gas.

At the time of writing, not only have I lost the added weight, but I’ve dropped a further 3kg.  This has injected a new wave of positivity and confidence in my life, and I’m now back on track of becoming the martial artist that I envision. 

It’s made me feel like this:

Doing a kamehameha blast – Dragonball Z influence! (Check out the anime if you’ve not seen it!)

As for the main photo of this article – that’s me doing a jump kick reasonably well for the first time ever.  It was taken just over a week before this article. One of my smaller goals this year is to nail it.  Taking flight has always been a struggle.  Losing the added weight and working on other smaller goals since October ‘18 have brought me that little bit closer to doing flying kicks.

The thing is, slip ups happen – even when you think you’re on target.  Don’t worry about it or get downhearted.  Sometimes we need these moments to refocus.  However, to help catch yourself early, take the time to reflect often by asking yourself: What kind of martial artist would I like to become?  Envision it.  That’s your goal.  Next, break that goal into smaller goals to keep up motivation.  Small wins lead to a bigger gain. 

Got a smaller goal sorted?  Feel free to share it below, along with your bigger goal.

Sabrina

Sabrina Mistry is the author of Beyond the Dojang, a space dedicated to become a hub for martial arts related inspiration, motivation, and entertainment content. It's essentially for the practitioners who can't get enough of martial arts when away from the mat! Content is published weekly to the site. Subscribe for notifications of the latest content as soon as it's published. Want to get connected on social media? Find her on Instagram @beyondthedojang and/or join Beyond the Dojang on Facebook.

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