Are you replaying 2015 in your head? Do you see a long list of things you didn’t do?
Ask yourself this:
Be totally honest. Brutally honest, in fact.
After years of teaching people how to set goals, and walking the walk, I can tell you this:
If I don’t do something, it’s because deep down I didn’t want to. It’s that simple.
Maybe that’s not true for you. Maybe after you sit with yourself contemplating my question you’ll have a different answer. Maybe.
It took me a long time to admit that my inability to reach a particular goal was my fault. But when I did, everything changed.
I’ve studied martial arts on/off for 20+ years. When I was about 17, a friend and I watched my then boyfriend, training at a dojo. I turned to my friend and asked, “Can you teach me this?” My friend had studied American Freestyle and earned his brown belt. Back then, all I wanted to be able to do was kick someone’s butt if they messed with me. I spent the next year learning everything he knew.
That was the beginning of my journey. Over the years, I’d picked up more formal training, but I allowed other priorities to take center stage repeatedly. I kept telling myself that martial arts was important to me, but I wasn’t walking the walk.
But my desire to attain a higher rank chewed at my soul. It wasn’t about the rank, exactly. It was about finishing something. Receiving my black belt would mean that I was consistent and committed. It would mean that I didn’t give up.
When I found a school teaching Hapkido, I knew I’d discovered my art. Nearly everything I learned before, didn’t compare to what I was learning during my Hapkido training. Hapkido is immediately accessible. For me.
But there were times when I wanted to quit.
One of those times happened after I’d attained my brown belt. Two things separated me from my goal: one more rank (red) and anger. I’d been injured during a training session. Injuries are part of martial arts. This was my fourth injury in my martial arts journey. While I recovered from each one, there was always down time, and this fourth one was more mental than physical.
I’m sharing this because this last injury solidified something in my mind, that others had told me about myself, but that I wasn’t completely convinced of, even after all of my other accomplishments.
When I want to do something. I do it. It’s that simple.
For me to continue training and finally get my black belt, I had to work through my anger. I’d been saying for a few years up to this point that I was a pacifist, but I was allowing my anger to dictate my outcome.
In 2011, I reached my goal. Then I left my dojang. There were times I considered going back, but it wasn’t the right place for me. I couldn’t become a pacifist and train in that school.
My original goal, more than twenty years ago, wasn’t the same when I was a 40-year-old learning Hapkido. I wanted to become proficient in Hapkido while honoring my journey to become more peaceful.
Since leaving, I’ve returned to a primarily solo practice. It’s not easy. I’ve had to be patient. Hapkido requires a partner. The nearest Hapkido schools are an hour away in two directions. I tried traveling for a while, but it became unrealistic with two young children.
But that’s the thing about goals — they can adapt. They can be flexible. And you can still reach them.
During the time that I trained to reach my black belt status, my family supported me. My husband and son drilled techniques with me. (My son was just old enough to do it, but not old enough to really practice.) I rarely missed my once per week class. Sometimes, my kids had to go with me. It was distracting.
But I had their support.
We all need support when we go after our goals. We can’t do what we dare to do without help.
When you sit down to think about what you didn’t do this year, and then you take time to figure out why, I bet you’re going to discover what I did.
We go after what we truly want.
What we want will gnaw at us until we do it.
Goals are adaptable; flexible.
We need help to reach our goals.
A little patience goes a long way.
I hope that your 2016 is better, brighter, more fulfilling, and all that you dare to go after.