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!
By Richard Hackworth, Ph.D., Lac. -- 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.