CHANGE YOURSELF FIRST!
Want to change the world and make a difference? Want to win big at work, at fitness and at your relationships? Let’s listen to Grand Master In Ho Lee’s advice and take a long look in the mirror because true change starts from within. Here are NINE ways to do it!
1. Name It
Before you can set out on any journey of self-improvement, whether at school, home or in Taekwondo class, it’s important to know what you’re striving for. By setting specific goals, you set yourself up for success.
Once you’ve decided on what it is you want to achieve, write it down and establish a date of completion. Then, make your goal public.
Grand Master In Ho says there are a number of ways to do this. “For children, they can write down the goal and place in on the refrigerator or a mirror to see it regularly and serve as a reminder. You can also share your goals with friends and teachers. Even sharing your goal on social media is a way of expressing what you want to do and enlisting the support of others.” He adds, “It keeps you accountable.”
2. Put Yourself First
Service to school, work, family and community are an important part of being a well-rounded person. But if you only focus on the needs of others, your own goals will inevitably fall by the wayside. Not only will you feel the sting of failure, your energy and drive will be depleted.
For Presiding Grand Master Nominee G.K. Lee, a busy schedule amidst preparing for his upcoming role, means creating a calendar that allows him time for all of the priorities in life. “It is a must for me to make time for training, for my family and to travel to tournaments and seminars and meet with the people of Songahm.” In recent months, Grand Master G.K. Lee has done specialized training in Korea, visited instructors throughout the U.S. and even squeezed in a Disney cruise with his children. “Balance is the key to being a strong leader in all aspects of your life,” he explained.
3. Make a Plan
As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Therefore, once you’ve established what it is you want to do, make a detailed plan on how you are going to achieve it. Whether it’s personal or professional, having daily steps outlined on your journey will help you stay focused amidst obstacles and will keep you motivated in the face of challenges.
“In my personal life, I set daily goals to reach my long-term goals,” says Grand Master In Ho Lee. “My long-term goal is to be healthy both mentally and physically. I get up every day and practice my Taekwondo and have a moment of meditation. I admit there are days when it seems more difficult than others to be motivated to work out, but I always feel better and more accomplished when I do.”
4. Seek Inspiration
Inspiration can come from anywhere. If you love music, find a song that gets you excited while you do those burpees. If you’re a reader, find books and authors that feed your desire to succeed.
For ATA martial artists, you can seek inspiration from Eternal Grand Master’s mantra, “Today Not Possible. Tomorrow Possible.”
A true inspiration—whether a motto, song or person—will keep you focused on the endless options of tomorrow as long as you don’t give up today.
5. Eliminate Distractions
A distraction is anything that keeps you from reaching your goals. Yes, this could even mean putting off binge-watching Netflix because you know you need that extra class before testing next weekend.
But it’s not just about Taekwondo goals. Your martial arts training can actually help with reaching all of your goals.
“This is where martial arts discipline and life skills training comes in,” says Grand Master In Ho Lee. “We learn as practitioners not to allow distractions to keep us from reaching our goals. The focus and determination we build in the classroom helps to manage persistence so that we don’t lose track of what’s really important. Those other things will still be there!”
6. Enlist Support
For Sr. Master Scott Skiles, when he set his goal to become a Chief Master, a lot of his preparation came from utilizing others in the Songahm community.
“When I was training for my 8th Degree testing, a crucial part of my regular schedule was incorporating my ATA family. I was always taking advantage of workouts with fellow students and instructors. Sometimes, it was just a call to my senior for encouragement. That’s what’s great about the ATA network—they are always there to give you that kick in the…for motivation and to hold you accountable when you need it!”
In this day and age, it’s easy to reach out to your ATA worldwide friends for support. Don’t be afraid to seek help through social media and other platforms to connect with others in this global hub of fellow martial artists.
7. Dig Deep
Whether you’re recovering from an injury, preparing for that midterm at Spring Nationals or putting in extra time to become State Champ, perseverance is the key to breaking through mental barriers you might encounter when trying to reach your goal. And don’t be ashamed, we all have them.
“There will be times when you feel like you can’t go on,” says Grand Master In Ho Lee. “Never give up. There will be times you feel discouraged. Never give up. There will be times when you feel the goal is possibly too big to achieve. Break that goal down into smaller goals and make it happen. Just never give up!”
From school, to workouts, to family commitments and checking our smartphones, it seems that at times, every hour of the day is already accounted for in some way. Even in the midst of the chaos, it’s essential to take time to recharge your batteries and assess your life goals.
Grand Master G.K. Lee says, “Work hard but also find times to play hard. For every time you are going really fast and really hard, you must also find time to simply relax.”
And, he says, you don’t have to take trips to do so. “It is amazing what regular meditation and Tai Chi can do for improving your mindset. It will slow you down to regain the composure you need to stay on the right path toward success.”
9. Share Your Success
Want to know something? YOU are an inspiration to others! No matter your age or rank, someone out there looks up to you because you are an ATA martial artist.
Grand Master In Ho Lee explains, “You should feel a sense of pride about being part of the ATA. It represents commitment and self-improvement.”
So, one way you can help others is by sharing your passion. Being ATA Strong doesn’t mean building more muscle and powering through boards (though you can do that, also!). ATA Strong is being a person who sets out to achieve their dreams, and once they do, they help others do it, too.
For martial arts programs specializing in martial arts for children, please visit: https://www.ata-bba.net/program/transported-after-school/ OR visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcdonoughata.
Visit our website for more information on kids martial arts programs.
For martial arts programs specializing in martial arts for adults, please visit: https://www.ata-bba.net/program/adult-martial-arts/ OR visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcdonoughata.