Martial Arts training is a beautiful metaphor for healthy goal setting. The most obvious “big goal” that most students set their sights on is of course to earn a Black Belt. However, this many-year process can be daunting for most people, which is why the colored belt ranks and tips (or stripes) help to act as intermediary or supporting goals towards this larger achievement.
Often we support these goals with some form of written and/or public commitments – for Kovar's academies it’s our Black Belt Club process. By giving ourselves and our students both large goals and smaller goals —we keep them engaged and focused.
Harvard did a famous study over a 20-year period. At the start of their study, they interviewed the graduating class and found out that only 2% had written their goals down. At the end of the 20-year period, the net worth of those 2% exceeded the combined net worth of the other 98%! Writing down their goals had a significant impact in their ability to achieve them.
With that in mind, here are some ways to stay focused on and achieve your goals or to help your students reach their own:
- Start with a big compelling goal. Write it down. And set a completion date. (Maybe this is a Black Belt target date)
- Take your goal and break it down into smaller, more manageable parts that can be measured as “supporting-goals.” Set completion dates for these too. (Like our belt ranks and stripes)
- Tell your goal to someone who will be supportive and who you can trust. Ask them to hold you accountable to your goal. When the going gets tough, as we all know it will, that is when help from others will count the most. (Public commitments in class work great)
- Set up some rewards for hitting intervals leading up to the main goal. The idea is to measure progress and to make it as fun as possible. The more compelling the goal is, and the more fun the rewards are, and the more likely success will be. (This may be access to a new type of class, new techniques or privileges in class)
Following this format will not only help keep your students focused, but can lay the foundation for their (and your) continued success with achieving goals in all areas of life as well. Good luck, and stay focused!
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