Now that we are back from our winter break, we have resumed our Mat Chats before class. These are an opportunity for us to discuss life skills with kids and, in keeping with the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, our topic last week has been goals. How do you pick a goal and what is needed to accomplish your goals?
Key to being successful in achieving a goal is the ability to change habits and apply willpower. There are several articles at Sabumnim Espy’s blog site—The Black Belt Parent—including this one titled “Willpower and Habits” that explore these skills.
This post will look at something that is often overlooked when setting goals. Typically, when people set a goal, they think about what they are going to get. Things like spending more time with your family, getting into better shape or achieving something in your career all have obvious inherent value—the benefits are easy to see and can be very motivating.
Where people often get tripped up is not contemplating what they will have to let go of in order to make room for the new. Often, the benefits of achieving a goal seem shiny and exciting from a distance. But as you begin to bump up against the day-to-day sacrifices required for getting there, that shine begins to lose its luster.
For this reason, it is important to front-load the engagement of those sacrifices by not only looking at what you are willing to give up, but also to embrace and even get excited about letting go of those things.
Last week, kids brought up goals like earning a black belt, achieving something in academics or improving a skill in other sports. When discussing goals with your child, talk to him/her not only about what they will have to do, but also what they will have to give up. For example, how much time spent watching TV or playing video games can be transferred to time spent working on their goals?
Note that some of what is given up will not be so obvious. For example, if your child wants to earn a black belt, clearly they will have to practice more. But they will also have to consider their diet. Are they giving their body and brains the fuel needed to accomplish such a challenging goal?
They will also have to consider how they practice. To earn a black belt, a student must be well-rounded in their skillset. This means they cannot only practice the fun stuff. They will have to give up some of that fun training in order to work on material that may be less interesting or more difficult.
Hopefully, this post will help you discuss goal setting with your child. As always, let us know how it goes!