Mental Strength

Recently a student asked me about staying mentally strong through martial arts training and competition.  I found this an interesting thought.  There are a lot of motivational quotes, books and videos on the internet to help people stay motivated, but the reality is it has to be something within you that keeps pushing you.  Some are born with it, some acquire it along the way due to wanting a better life, and many need a push to get started and that’s ok.  

Surround yourself with others on a similar path because those you hang around will influence you.  

Check out their habits and thought processes.  Realize the things that are working for them, and the things that are not.   

Sit down and write out your short and long term goals.  

Think about what can interrupt these goals and be ready to deal with them as well.  Set a goal of acquiring a certain belt rank.  Set a weight goal, whether losing fat or gaining muscle.  Set time to train, to eat and to rest.  There is a time for everything – a time to work, a time to be with family, training and being with friends.  Keep these separate.  If it’s work time, focus your thoughts on work and give it 100%.  When it’s time for training, give it 100%.  Don’t lose control of your time.

As time goes on, being disciplined gets easier because it becomes a habit.  

At first change is tough, change in diet and a new schedule for your workout program is tough, but sacrifice must be made.  After about a month you start looking and feeling better and you like it; you want more.  Make sure no one in your life tries to pull you back down!  Sometimes people around you won’t like your changes and your success because it makes them look bad.  You may need to move away from them.  Remember to spend time around others that are going to push and motivate you to be better.

If you mess up and have a cheat meal, or miss a workout day, do not beat yourself up and allow yourself to slip back into bad habits.  

If you take a step off your new path just set back onto it.  Keep your eye on the prize and keep a disciplined schedule.  If you truly love what you are doing, keep doing it.  Find a partner to workout with if you need it, but don’t let it be a crutch.  If your partner misses the workout, that does not mean you do too!  

Do not forget to have fun along the way, enjoy the journey.  

Sifu Hughes