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Goal-Setting: Blasting Through Your Barriers!

2012 is moving along fast!   We’ve come to that time of the year when we have to re-visit our goals.   I could review the “how-to’s” on goal-setting, but that’s way too easy.    Instead, let”s look at the “science and art” of martial arts to find ways to help us blast through barriers that block us from achieving our goals.

Becoming a Master…..of yourself

Why did you start your martial arts journey?  To help you learn to defend yourself?  To help with a bit of exercise and flexibility? To help your kids with self-confidence and improved coordination and focus?   If you answered yes, yes, and perhaps yes, then you’re on the right track to developing your “whole person”; but how about becoming a master?   One of the priceless gifts of martial arts is to get to know yourself and “master” your mind, body, and spirit.  Martial arts is both an art and a science.

Shifu Raymond Ahles,  from BindModyAwakening.com says it best, “art is a passion with discipline, (whereas) science is a discipline pursued with passion”.  Let me break it down, your BASIC Babin’s Martial Arts training is a way to learn to focus and concentrate on specific details and then your ADVANCED training is a way to self-knowledge and expression of beauty.  The advanced training helps you “master” the techniques and yourself.  This is what makes a true martial artist…and a master.

The true artist develops his “body, mind, and spirit”.  The body is trained with consistent, rigorous exercise to guide muscle memory, flexibility, equilibrium, and endurance.  The mind is trained to concentrate, remember the forms, control your thinking, and help you relax.  However, you must also learn about the philosophy, history, law, science, virtues, codes, tenants, rituals, traditions, and ranks behind your chosen martial art – these will sustain you to help you develop the third area of a martial artist’s development.  Spirit is the area of “personal development”.  This is the toughest part of your training as a martial artist.

Stumbling blocks

I don’t know about you, but I’ve known some of my friends who are facing layoffs and cutbacks in their discretionary funds.     Believe me, I understand, we’re all feeling the pinch. This kind of experience is a blow to your “spirit”.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the October 2011 the unemployment rate grew a modest amount.   We need to see this small change  as “hopeful”.  We have to keep seeing the “silver lining” in the current state of affairs.   Let’s start here to begin seeing how to support the “silver lining” or, in other words, your “personal development” in your goal to becoming a master of your skills and of yourself despite the challenges that may be around you.

What helps or halts you from reaching your goals?    Psychologists Frankel and McDonald list several techniques to help you integrate mind, body, and spirit and blast through barriers to your goals.

1.) Find out what are your “goal stealers”.  Many of us seem to keep bumping into “distractions” and “obstacles” that seem to get in the way of reaching our goals.  I would suggest for you to figure out what are your “problem areas” that may be holding you back in reaching your goals.  Resistance and procrastination can be a sign of distress stemming from deeply held programming or blockages from childhood, for example, “fear of being criticized” or “I always forget… the forms…”, sound familiar?  Another possibility is that you may have a deep-seated fear of success and the responsibilities that come with it, or you may fear failure so much that you don’t even try anything.  Mmmmh, am I making sense?

So ask yourself, “Is there a pay-off to not succeeding?”;    By avoiding or delaying success, “Am I avoiding confrontation or conflict?”  Many of us avoid facing what is uncomfortable or what scares us.    However, confronting what scares us may be the only way to solve the underlying issues behind the conflict.    And many experts agree that we grow the most when we are the most uncomfortable.   Another question is: “Are you sabotaging your efforts?” Those deep seated fears can overtake your conscious, logical mind, and you may just eat that extra Twinkie that you’ve rationalized that you “deserve” because of blah, blah, blah… get it?

Your instructors are here  to coach you and help you be aware of how you may be stumbling and how to overcome your fears.

 2.) Forgive and forget those who have harmed you. Last month’s article listed “100” examples of integrity and number ­­­43 stated that, “forgiveness is deciding that someone who has wronged you doesn’t have to pay”, which is powerful when it comes to personal development, because some emotions become “baggage” and  can trap us in the past and stop us from progressing into the future and obtaining what we want.  Dr. Nathaniel, a pioneer in the field of human potential,  suggests that we dig into our psyche to pull out what drags us down and sabotages our efforts, our relationships, and eventually our goals.  Those feelings that you may harbor towards that “one person” whom you haven’t forgiven can kidnap your efforts and trip you.

When we practice sparring or compete at a tournament, your emotions can get the best of you and blind you to the logical steps in your goal-setting plan.   Talk to your instructor  if you’re angry at a classmate, sparring partner, or situation.  Work through these emotions because they will fog your thinking and slow your progress.

 3.) Release “old” attachments and make new ones.  How many of you have loads and loads of books sitting by your bedside, shelves, and closet?  Why hold on to them?  In the age of electronic books you have access to thousands of books on-line for free or for a small fee.  What are you holding on to?  Knowledge in a dusty box?  Get a scanner, scan your favorite books, donate books published within 15 years and recycle the rest!   Do you really need that extra furniture or electronic toy?   Do we really need all this stuff?    Start writing what holds you back.  Keep a journal.

 Release the “meaning of things.”    For example, those dead flowers that your sweetie  gave you 10 years ago are just collecting dust;  ask him to give you fresh flowers and take you out on a date.   Put up your trophies, your certificates, and your past belts so you’re reminded of the gains you’ve made and those you plan to make.   Create a poster with images you want to keep in your mind, as a daily reminder.  Stop holding onto self-images that hurt you, like remembering how humiliating it felt to lose a sparring match or to forget your form at a tournament.   Instead, imagine yourself winning that competition, not how you lost last year.   See yourself winning and having “your hand held up high”.  People around you may notice these changes and begin to change themselves, because you can’t change anyone except yourself.

4.) Practice visualizing what you want.

Have you heard of the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne?  She highlights examples and narrates stories of famous people who knew the secret of the powerful tool of “visualizing” and bringing what we want to us.  Her website reads:

What is power? The greatest power in the universe is a feeling – a feeling harnessed by the greatest thinkers, discoverers, inventors, and saviors of the world.  Your are just one feeling away from changing your life…just one feelings  away from the life of your dreams.  This is The Power!”

Watch what you’re saying in everyday conversations, like, “I could never….” Or “If only….” These are only a few examples of how small “feelings” can become words that damage your belief in yourself.  Try these statements that are much more positive self-talk:

” I am filled with strength and enthusiasm.” 

“I remember my forms well”

“I attend class regularly and focus and work hard in every class”

“I am surrounded by positive people that help me stay positive.”

Another suggestion is to create a collage and post it somewhere to remind you where you’re headed.  Les Brown,  famous motivational speaker and writer,  said, “You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in life.”

5.) Trust Your Intuition

Another item I listed in the integrity article last month, was number 31, “listen to your gut feeling, go with your first choice”.   Meditation can also play a big role here as well.  Just sit quietly in your favorite spot, like your backyard, a park or anywhere else where nature sounds can help relax you.  Be aware of what your “unconscious” tells you.  When negative thoughts or feelings of come to mind, replace them with staements like those above.    Always affirm that you are strong enough and disciplined enough to reach your goal.  And understand that often the right thing to do when faced with self-doubt is simply to ask for help from a family member or trusted friend.

New opportunities may lie ahead of you during times of distress.  There’s a story about a Scottish man who had saved his money for years so he could get a one-way ticket to America and work in his Uncle’s shop to save up and send money back to his family.  The story goes that his youngest son became very ill, which stopped him from boarding his ship.  He was upset, but later learned that the “Titanic” didn’t make the trip as well.  I suppose it’s a matter of perspective on how you see things, so start “seeing the big picture.”

You have to practice your martial art philosophy, our virtues, our traditions, and codes, not  just to become a “whole person”, but also to master yourself.

Chief Master Babin


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