As sure as we are that one-legged ducks swim in circles, there is no doubt in our collective Xen-Do mind that this last week will have seen many a new year’s resolution made and more (if that’s even possible) broken before the week was out. For many, January is a time for change; out with the old and in with the new as they say. Often this will be a promise to get fit, a promise to lose weight or to do any of the things we mentioned in last year’s New Year’s Resolutions article.
But what good is change if it is immediately followed by a change back to old, unhealthy ways? Lucky for you, your friendly neighbourhood Xen-Do is once again here to help you out. Here are 5 helpful methods for improving your will-power without even knowing it:
1. Make achievable goals
Often people will make the mistake of making all-encompassing resolutions that in the end are destined to fail. Our advice to you is to be realistic, be specific and keep it simple. You are more likely to keep to a resolution of ‘go kickboxing once a week’ than ‘get fit’. It is quantifiable and will give you a sense of reward every time you accomplish it.
In contrast, it is always possible to get fitter no matter how fit you are. It is like being at the foot of a mountain that has no ending and no way of seeing how far you have come. Setting yourself an insurmountable immeasurable task is a sure way to fail.
2. Don’t fall at the first hurdle
Making a resolution is a bit New Year’s Eve celebrations. You head into it with confidence and excitement that nothing can stop you from reaching immortality. Keeping a resolution is a bit like waking up the next morning: every fibre in your body is begging you to go back to that safe space in your mind and stay there until the memory of your foolish enthusiasm fades. Unfortunately, the best way to tackle it is head on. Slowly, everything gets a bit easier to handle and the same can be said for you New Year’s resolution and your willpower.
Remember, keeping to your resolution will get easier the more you keep at it. Willpower is not something you have or don’t have. Willpower is like a muscle and it can be trained and increased with practice and perseverance. As we say at Xen-Do, just turn up!
3. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.
Master Raf always talks about creating good habits, in our training and in life. Good habits are created through correct action, repeatedly performed.
By their very nature, New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. If they weren’t there wouldn’t be much point to them. So, invariably, you will fail to meet your target from time to time but that isn’t a reason to quit. In fact, it’s a reason to work even harder until your resolution becomes a habit.
As everyone’s favourite fictional boxing champion once said:
‘It ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.’
And if Rocky said it then it must be true!
4. Patience is a virtue
Attaining your goals may come quickly for some and slower for others. During this time it is very easy to fall off the wagon. To quote our very own champion, Master Raf says:
‘The hardest warrior to conquer is the warrior within.’
Everyone has that little voice inside telling them to take the easy option and indulge their immediate desires. The choice to skip coming to a martial arts club, or eat that unhealthy meal is always going to be a temptation: that’s why they call it the easy option.
Remember, the difference between achieving our goals and failing is choosing what we want most, over what we want we want now. The choice is yours.
5. Share your experience and have fun
Support from your friends and family is paramount if you want to succeed. Even more so if you have a friend or family member with the same goal and you can push each other to reach it together. The journey all the more enjoyable if you have someone sharing that same journey with you
Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved… Unless it’s push ups. Then 20 push ups means 20 push ups no matter how many people you share the experience with!