A bad mood can steal your enthusiasm for training.
So how do you motivate yourself to train when your mood is getting
in the way? Here are ten knock-out techniques to get you motivated
to get your black belt:
1. Overcome Your Distracting Thoughts. Are your
thoughts jumping ahead to future demands or lingering over past
experiences? Remind yourself of how precious training time is, there
will be plenty of time to return to distractions when your class is
over. Tell yourself, “Okay, I only have an hour to train, but I’m
going to completely concentrate on it.”
2. Examine How Your Body Feels. Are you feeling fatigued, stiff,
tense, lethargic or restless? Perhaps you are training too hard and
need to cut back a little. Or perhaps you need to increasing your
stretching and decrease your “TV” time. Your body also may be
sending signals about other lifestyle concerns that need attention:
overwork, emotional strain, poor nutrition or not enough sleep.
Listen carefully and adjust accordingly, but don’t give up on your
commitment to stay on track to get your black belt!
3. Visualize Your Achievement. Imagine how you will feel after
fulfilling your training commitment for the day. Envision yourself
stretching and reaching with full extension and perfect body
alignment. Picture stress running off your body along with sweat. Or
dream that you are in top condition, playing in the Super Bowl or at
Wimbledon, running the last mile of the Boston Marathon or cycling
in the Ironman competition. Maybe even envision yourself going to
distance with Dan “The Beast” at the UFC!
4. Talk Back To Your Demons Of Laziness. Do you often tell yourself,
“I’m too out of shape,” “I’m too slow,” “I’ve tried this before, it
never worked,” or “I’m too old”? Talk back to those “Gremlin” voices.
Say to yourself, “I can do this one step at a time. I am stronger. I
will stick with this black belt program.” Every time you hear the
negative self-talk, challenge it. You can become a black belt!
5. Listen To Your Joy. Are you choosing activities you like or those
you wish you would like? It’s true that sometimes you need to train
when you simply do not feel like it, but if you are not getting any
enjoyment from your training, you may need to look for a style that
is a better match for your personality and interests. If you enjoy
forms training and self-defense, but your instructor is only teaching
sparring and drags you to tournaments, speak up. Let them know that
you want more forms training to make your workouts more enjoyable.
Instructors need your feedback to make the classes more enjoyable
for everyone. It helps them to help you to stay motivated!
6. Examine Your Plateau. Ask yourself., “What needs to change for me
to feel good about my progress?” Clarify the gap between what you
are experiencing and what you want to experience, then make the
changes. Sometimes something as simple as getting a crisp new
uniform boosts your enthusiasm. Or buy a book or piece of training
equipment that you have been interested in. It can help motivate you.
Your instructor can normally order items and have them for you
in less than a week.
7. Shake Up Your Routine. Try a new kind of workout or change the
sequence or frequency of your training. You do not have to add a lot
of time to your class to see change: instead try a harder level or
increase the number of classes you attend each week. Push yourself a
little. You can do more than you think!
8. Compromise Your Approach. If you decide to skip your class, plan
on taking a 10-minute training break at lunch and another training
break during your afternoon break to practice a few stretches and
techniques. Plan ways to make up for lost class time, like taking a
seminar on the weekend or scheduling an extra training session. A
private lesson is often more affordable than you think and can be
just the boost that you were looking for.
9. Recommit To Your Goals. Activity levels greatly impact your
physical ability, risk of disease, stress response, energy level,
appearance and attitude. Remind yourself that positive habits are
created one choice, one movement at a time. Even if you choose not
to train today, make a commitment to get back on track tomorrow, no
matter what. Call a friend from class and see if you can practice
with them one-on-one to help motivate each other.
10. Reinforce Your Training Values. Spend 20 minutes writing down
the reasons why staying on track for testing and learning is
important to you and why you cannot quit now. The secret to success
is not willpower, it’s “want-power.” Choose to stay committed, to
stay dedicated, not because you have to, but because you want to! If
your goal is to become a black belt, commit to it. Let your
instructor know. Sometimes making the commitment to someone else is
a strong motivator because you don’t want to let the other person think that you
are a quitter. Remember to make it to black belt you have to make a
decision. A wish changes nothing. But a decision changes everything!
About the author: Multi-arts Grand Master Richard Hackworth is the
owner of the American Dragon Martial Arts Academies school in Ocoee,
Florida and Co-author of the "Martial Arts Profits & Success Manual"
and the "Authentic Korean Hapkido Manual". Hackworth is the
International Chapter President of the Korean Martial Arts
Instructors Association. He can be reached at