We’ve all been there. We start the new year with the best of intensions to lose weight, get fit, eat healthier….the list goes on and on. But then it happens. Life throws us a curve ball. We slip. We delay. We procrastinate. We give up. Why does motivation always seem so fleeting?
Guess what– even the most driven, successful people on the planet don’t feel like getting things done all the time. You might ask, “well, how are they still successful?”
When we look deeper into what motivation is, we see that it’s actually the driving force behind discipline. It’s what carries us from our goal to our accomplishment. In other words, motivation is wanting to get things done.
But when we’re exhausted, and we’re stressing over all the little things we have to do… that motivation and drive fades. So, what can we do to reignite that spark of motivation?
Here are three simple ways to hack your motivation and stay (or get back) on track:
Know Your “Why”
The number one motivation hack is knowing your “why”. When your goals have deep, personal meaning and purpose, it’s so much easier to stick it out when things get challenging. “I want to get fit.” Great goal…but why? “So that I can be a good example for my kids”. See the difference?
So…what’s your “why”? The reason behind your goal? Figure it out. Write it down. Post it somewhere you can see it every day. This is the influence that keeps you moving forward. This is what feeds and fuels your motivation. Remember, our goals are not just about achieving something, but about the person we want to become.
Building new, sustainable habits can be challenging. We tend to think more about eliminating “bad habits” first. “I have to stop eating fast-food.” Or “I have to stop spending all weekend on the couch binging my favorite show.” But, experts agree that rather than eliminating habits that don’t serve us or our new goals, it’s better to replace our old habits with new, more beneficial habits. Easier said than done, right? Fortunately, there’s a hack for this one, too. It’s called habit bundling. And it’s all about establishing a pattern or routine to help you reach your goal.
For example, “When I decide to pick-up fast food, I will go for a 20 minute walk or run.” Or “Every time I start a new episode of [insert whatever binge-worthy show here], I will do 20 push ups.” The trigger of “when I do this, then I will do that” removes the forced ‘I have to do this’ need for motivation, and becomes a standard practice over time. Repeated behaviors like this can turn into self-improving habits. “Instead or ordering fast food, I’ll go for a 20 minute run or walk and then head home for a healthy dinner.” The best part? It increases productivity while reducing mental stress.
Plan for Failure
Yes, you read that right. We all know it’s ideal to reach our goals flawlessly and in a timely manner. But, life frequently seems to have other plans. Staying motivated when difficulty arises is a lot more challenging than it sounds – especially if we get into a groove and an unwanted interruption occurs. Say you’ve been intentionally going for your daily run and eating all the whole foods with plenty of veggie (yay, you!). Then a hard freeze hits. You take a week off from running due to the frozen conditions and all of a sudden you’re having potato chips for breakfast and ice cream for a late night snack. Now,you’re frustrated, confused, stressed out, and losing focus on your goals. Sometimes, we can get so thrown off that we hyper-focus on the issue (I failed) rather than the solution (how can I get back on track?).
So, how do you stay on track when stuff hits the fan? Plan for failures and imperfection. Seriously. You have to drill failure into your practice. We can’t predict everything that could possibly go wrong– but expecting setbacks and knowing your alternative options when disaster strikes makes all the difference in your motivation. When you accept that life can (and will) interrupt your plans, you can keep the momentum going anyway. You can approach your tasks without being deflated. You’ll be more realistic about what you can achieve, learn how to make adjustments, and stay open to exploring other options. Don’t be afraid to plan for failure. Embrace it as a tool for staying motivated and achieving your goals. Flexibility is the path of least resistance.
Ultimately, being a motivated person just means that you’re in control of your life (despite old habits and possible set-backs). Remember, you’re fully capable of making the necessary changes in your life to achieve your goals. And you deserve to live the life you want. Take small steps, one day at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your success. You’ve got this.
Ready to join our martial arts community and fuel your motivation even more? It’s easy to GET STARTED.
Ask any martial artist and they will probably tell you that the most prestigious or coveted belt is the black belt. And it’s no surprise that this is the case. Most martial arts disciplines require anywhere between 3-10 years of continuous training to earn a black belt. That’s no small feat. As worthy as the black belt is of being held in such high regard, there’s another belt that is equally as important, if not more so…and it may not be what you think.
The most important belt in the martial arts is the white belt.
Wait, what? The lowest ranking belt is the most important? How can that even be true. Allow us to elaborate.
The martial arts is a practice rich in history and tradition. During the earliest days, a student of the martial arts put on a white belt for two important reasons. 1. To hold their pants up (yes, really). 2. To symbolize a new beginning.
Interestingly, while in some cultures the color white symbolizes purity, in Japanese tradition, it actually also symbolizes death. You see, when a student approached a martial arts master they wanted to train under, they were expected to leave their previous life behind to pursue something more. If the master accepted them as a student, they would tie a piece of white cloth around their waist to represent the death of the old self and the start of their new training and way of life.
Stories are told of how over time, the white cloth would change colors from the sweat, dirt, and even blood that would get on it during training. Eventually the white cloth would become so dirty, it would look closer to black than white. Because of this, the belt was held in very high regard as it was the visual representation of a students progress in their training and development. Great care was taken to ensure that belts were properly folded and stored when not in use. It was seen as highly disrespectful to place the belt on the ground since any discoloration on the belt had to be earned through training.
Many traditional and modern styles still incorporate belt rank colors in their disciplines. While every style has their own rank/color order and meaning, some of the most popular traditions base their color progression on the new life of a flower as follows:
White– new beginning, innocence, purity
Yellow– the seed
Green– the stalk
Purple– the flower
Blue– the sky
Regardless of what color belts your martial arts style uses, the most important aspect is that there is a clear and visible way to measure your progress. There often comes a time in every martial artist’s journey where they doubt themselves, even briefly.
Progress isn’t always linear.
Sometimes we don’t live up to our own expectations. Sometimes we regress into old habits that don’t serve our new goals. Fortunately, as martial artists, we know to expect these kinds of obstacles in life. We train to persevere through these obstacles and choose to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even if and when our steps are less than stable.
During challenging moments like these, our belts offer a visual and physical reassurance that while we may not be perfect, we have made progress. And it all started when we made the decision to pursue a different way of life, with a different community of like-minded people…to say “yes” to transformation and growth, by receiving our white belt. So, we dust ourselves off, we tie on our current belt, and we begin again.
Ready to join our martial arts community? It’s easy to GET STARTED.
It’s common for new members to ask us why martial artists wear gis. Even if you’ve never taken a martial arts class, you’ve most likely seen a tv show or movie depicting a room full of people wearing white uniforms and belts punching and kicking. Most people understand that this practice is rooted in tradition, but the purpose of the gi (or uniform) is multifaceted.
The word “gi” is derived from the Japanese term “Keikogi” which means “practice clothing”. Gis can range in color from white to black or even blue. Most students beginning their training will wear a white gi symbolizing purity. Colored gis are typically reserved for students that hold a higher rank or position (ie. instructors) within the gym.
While there are several great reasons to wear a gi during martial arts training, we’re going to take a look at our top 3 reasons martial artists wear gis.
Dress For Success
Let’s face it. Some days are just plain challenging. The car won’t start, you’re late to school/work, you bomb an important presentation, and you can’t seem to catch up much less get ahead…the weight of the world can sit heavier some days and takes a toll on our mood. But, as a martial artist, you have a secret weapon…your gi! Sounds crazy, right? But something kind of magical happens when you shed the clothes you were wearing that day and put on your training gi. It’s almost like a reset of sorts. You get an opportunity to physically remove the worst parts of your day and put on new clothes that make you feel strong, confident, and ready to perform at your best. Couple that with a great martial arts class and you’ll leave feeling energized and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
Get The Most Out Of Your Training
Nothing is worse than being mid-workout and suddenly your shorts start ridding up and your shirt starts sticking to you in ways that limit your movement. No one likes feeling self-conscious while they exercise. It’s hard enough to put yourself out there and commit to making healthier choices. You don’t need the added distraction of uncomfortable workout clothes. A good quality training gi will allow for easy movement for striking, kicking, and grappling. As a martial artist, wearing a training gi keeps your focus on your training rather than on what you (or others in your class) are wearing.
You Belong To A Great Community
Experts agree that when you feel like you belong to a supportive community, your physical and metal health improves. When you put on a gi that showcases your specific academy or gym, you feel like you belong. And when you’re surrounded by other people wearing the same gi it creates a synergistic environment where everyone thrives. Much like team sports like baseball and basketball wear matching uniforms, the same is true for martial artists. While martial arts is largely considered an individual sport, there is still an emphasis on working with partners for sparring and pad drills. Wearing matching gis fosters an environment that encourages teamwork and good partnership within the gym.
Ready to put your gi on and start training in the martial arts? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.
Teens today face so many unique challenges. From bullying and stress to anxiety and depression, as a parent, it’s difficult to know how to help. Now more than ever, it’s so important to ensure our teens are surrounded by a positive and supportive community to keep them on the right track.
Martial arts programs have long been praised for their many benefits among people of all ages, such as improved focus, discipline, and confidence. Unfortunately, most traditional martial arts programs are more geared towards serving younger children, leaving older teens feeling left out and under-served.
After over a decade of developing and leading martial arts programs, we understand the need for a comprehensive mixed martial arts program designed to get teens moving, connecting with other like-minded individuals, and having fun…OFF their device of choice.
We’ve put together a quick list of benefits of MMA training for teens to get you started:
Physical Fitness & Strength
If given the choice, many teens would much rather sit in front of a device all day than even think about doing any kind of physical fitness training. This can make motivating them to get involved in school sports that involve early mornings and long practice sessions multiple times per week. Most of our teens train in MMA two to three times per week…because they LOVE it! There’s something about getting to punch and kick a bag or pads that doesn’t feel like working out and is just plain fun. Plus, it builds both mental and physical strength which helps combat any negative self-talk they may be dealing with as a result of bullying.
So many teens struggle with a lack of self-confidence due to their lack of maturity and perspective. On top of that, bullying and cyberbullying are still a major problem in many of our middle and high schools. Rather than focusing on all the ways they “fall short”, training in MMA gives them a place where they can focus on all the ways they excel. With opportunities to earn new belt ranks and learn new and challenging techniques, MMA training will have your teen feeling motivated and proud of themselves and their accomplishments.
Motivation & Work Ethic
One of the most challenging things about raising a teen can sometimes be just keeping them motivated. As they inch closer to adulthood, parents begin to worry about their future success when it comes to higher education and even careers. Martial arts training teaching the importance of committing to a goal and following through. Experienced martial arts trainers and coaches will know how to hold teens accountable for their class attendance and weekly practice time. This helps them build a strong work ethic which will serve them tremendously in their future.
While the focus is typically on how they are being treated by others, it’s important for teens to understand that having self-respect will help other to see and treat them with dignity and worth. Having a healthy level of self-respect will enable them to have the confidence to set firm boundaries that align with their values. Martial arts training consistently reemphasizes the concept of respecting themselves as well as respecting others. Teens quickly learn that when they demonstrate good respect towards others, they are deserving of being treated with respect in return. Understanding this, they are much less willing to settle for anything less when interacting with their peers at school or other social situations.
A Sense Of Community
With anxiety and depression being so prevalent among teens, it’s so important to make sure they have a supportive community they can rely on. Martial arts communities are some of the tightest-knit groups of kids, teens, and adults. It feels amazing to see teens surrounded by people with common interests and goals that will support them on their good days and bad. It’s easy for them to make awesome friends that they actually enjoy hanging out with. It’s no wonder so many parents choose martial arts training for their teens!
Ready to start seeing your teen benefit form martial artists training? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.
When it comes to fitness goals, everyone knows how important setting goals is to staying on track and achieving lasting results. But, did you know that not all goals are created equal? In fact, setting SMART fitness goals can make all the difference. The acronym SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely—all of which are important in reaching your desired outcome.
Setting SMART goals will help you stay on track and remain committed to completing every planned workout and sticking to healthy meal options.
So, what’s the best way to start creating SMART fitness goals? Use the tool below to help you better understand what makes a SMART fitness goal so powerful.
Now, let’s put our learning into action!
Clearly, we’ve all heard a fitness goal like “I will exercise more”. While that is a great place to start, it can be difficult to measure your progress with such a vague statement.
And let’s face it, it’s pretty challenging to keep chasing a goal when it just doesn’t feel like you’re making any progress.
So, how do we revise this goal statement to set us up for success?
Instead of saying “I will exercise more”, we can easily turn this into a SMART goal by saying “I will attend 45 minute kickboxing classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next 6 months”. As you can see this goal is now specific (kickboxing), measurable (45 min classes, 2 times per week), attainable (challenging but realistic), relevant (pertains to fitness), and timely (6 months).
It’s important to note that fitness goals typically fall into three main categories: physical goals, health goals, and behavior goals. Creating SMART fitness goals in each of these categories will set you on course to creating lasting habits that will yield long-term success and have you living your best life yet.
Ready to set some SMART fitness goals and get the results you deserve? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.