The Secret to Reaching Your Goals

Written by on October 5, 2011

Want to know a success secret that is behind many top achievers and martial artists?  Do you want to knock down goal after goal on your quest to martial arts greatness?  Then read on.  Because in this issue, I’m going to reveal a new “twist” on goal-setting that might just help you achieve a lot more.  In fact, it may completely change the way you think about goals.  Read on!

 The Two Parts to Achieving a Goal

      There are two parts to any goal: the destination and the journey. The destination, of course, is the end result you want to achieve.  It’s the next rank, tournament win, new stripe, improved grade, or whatever else you’re aiming for.

The journey, on the other hand, is the day-to-day effort you invest in achieving your goal.  It’s all the little steps that make up the path you take to reach your goal.

I like to think of the destination as the “big picture” and the journey as the “details”.

 Different Sides of the Same Coin

      Both parts are important.  They’re like two sides of the same coin.  So the key to harnessing the power of goal-setting lies in the middle.  You must always strike a balance between your day-to-day efforts and focusing on your final goal itself.

If you only focus on the end goal – without backing it with action – you’re simply a dreamer.  On the other hand, if you only  go through the motions day after day without direction or purpose,  you’re a drifter.  The secret of hitting your goals is simple: You need to avoid both extremes: don’t be a dreamer or a drifter.

Here at Babin’s Karate for Kids academy we spend a lot of time setting goals and visualizing results.   After all, you have to know where you’re going in order to get somewhere.  But this month, I want to focus on the other side of the goal-setting coin: I want to talk about the journey.

At first you might be tempted to think the reason to set a goal is to get that final outcome you want – the new rank, stripe, better grade, etc.  But oftentimes, you may discover that simply walking the path towards your goal contains the life-changing benefit you’re really after.  That your journey is what it’s all about.

 Take Time to Smell the Flowers

     Sometimes we get so wrapped up in achieving big things that we forget to focus on the moment.  John Lennon said, Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.  In other words, take time to be “present” with all the little things that make being a part of Karate for Kids so special.  I’m talking about things like…

The camaraderie and the great friends you’ve made… the feeling of accomplishment when you walk off the floor (or mat)…the simple routine of tying on your belt…the pride you feel when you move up a rank…the knowledge that you’re one of the few people on this earth who are part of an honorable and ancient martial arts lineage.  And so on.  The day-to-day of being a martial artist.

Big achievers know how to strike a balance between focusing on their long-term target on the one hand… and what they have to do on a daily basis to hit that target.  They keep the big picture foremost in their minds…while at the same time…doing whatever it is they need to do to hit that goal.

Super-achievers know the path is where you grow as a person, increase your skills and thrust yourself to a whole new level.  They also know that in many cases, the true value sometimes lies in the path itself, not just the destination.

 A Story You’ll Recognize

      Here’s a story to illustrate my point.  I’ll use something everybody will recognize: the classic movie, “The Wizard of Oz”.  As you’ll recall, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion each had a goal in mind.  Dorothy wanted to get back home to Kansas.  The Scarecrow wanted a brain.  The Tin Man wanted a heart and the Lion wanted courage.  After learning the Wizard of Oz could grant them their wishes, they set out on a journey to meet him.

After many days, they finally stood before the great Oz.  They meekly asked him to grant their wishes.  He said, I have every intention of granting your requests.  But you must first prove yourself worthy by performing a very small task.” 

And that’s where the journey began.  After many tests, they finally did accomplish this “small task” and delivered the broomstick to the Wizard.

But they soon discovered the Wizard really didn’t really have the power to grant their wishes.  Did that matter?  No. They finally realized they themselves developed these traits while on their journey.

Take the Lion, for example.  His goal was to have courage.  On the journey, he battled flying monkeys, confronted the Wicked Witch and faced his fears head-on.

So in the process of going for the goal, he transformed himself.

That’s why the wizard didn’t have to “give” courage to him.  The Lion developed courage himself. All the Wizard had to do was pin a medal on him to signify what the Lion went through and achieved.  Thus, the Lion did indeed get his wish in the end – but from a different source.  The journey held the true benefit he was looking for.

Now, you might think this is just a simple children’s story.  On the surface, it is. But if you take a deeper look, you’ll realize it reveals a very powerful truth:

While you may at first think your end result is what you want, often you’ll find that the journey itself contains the real, yet hidden, value. 

  Overcoming Challenges

      You may have started at Karate for Kids by admiring the black belts in our academy and wishing you had that rank, too.  And that’s great.  That’s your end goal.  But keep in mind that a black belt is just like the Lion’s medal: it stands for all the challenges a black belt has overcome.  Stuff like…

All the fears he or she has faced while rising through the ranks…

  • All the times he or she didn’t feel like going to class but pushed through anyway…
  • Tournaments they attended, challenging themselves where they squared off against competitors…
  • The times they’ve mentored lower ranks and helped them on their own journey…
  • The loyalty, dedication and perseverance they’re shown over the years…
  • The sweat, effort and personal sacrifice they went through to hit their goals along the way…
  • And all the other challenges they’ve overcome on the path to becoming a black belt.

That’s why the rank of black belt means so much.  Black belts walk the talk.

 Focusing on the Journey

     How you handle your journey – the day-to-day – predicts your success long-term.  You see, many people set a goal, stumble on the journey and give up.  They lose sight of the reasons they set the goal in the first place, forget to practice on a daily basis or never develop the perseverance to hit their target.  There are a million reasons some people don’t achieve much.  Basically, it boils down to this…

They don’t pay the price on a daily basis to get what they want.

 The Journey Separates The Serious From the Curious.

      How people handle the journey tells you a lot about their intentions.  Do they put in the effort?  Do they do what it takes to get to their goal?  Are they all talk?  Or do they back it with action?

A wise man once said, The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.

 Your Daily Habits Do Set You Up for Success

     The key to having a successful journey is in your daily habits

So I have some questions for you: What do you do in your daily routine?  Is it moving you closer or farther away from your goal?  What are you going to do today to get one step nearer to your goal?  What specific actions are you going to take?  All you really have is today.  What are you going to do with it?

It’s not enough to talk.  Anybody can do that.  It’s the doing that’s the hard part.  The journey is where you test yourself to the limit.  Be realistic in your goals and back them with  physical actions on a daily basis that propel you to your goal, step by step. 

No, the Journey Isn’t Always Glamorous

      It’s often said that The world wants to see the baby, but they don’t want to hear about the labor pains”.   That’s an apt metaphor because you really are “giving birth” to a new person along your journey.  Just like a snake shedding its skin, when you complete the path, you will emerge a different person.

Don’t believe me?

Then I challenge you to think back to the very first day you started as a white belt.  What were you like then?  Were you the same person?  Of course not.  It was the day-in-day-out that changed you.  Little by little, you transformed yourself into a new person – a true martial artist.  You may not have noticed the changes while they were happening, but they are real and they add up.

 Your Monthly Call to Action

      This month, I want you to focus on your daily routine.  How can you change it to help you reach your goals?   Think about all the little things you can do every day to get one step closer to your goal.  Of course, don’t forget about the big picture, either.  Remember to keep a balance between focusing on your target (goal) and doing what it takes to get there.

— Chief Master Babin



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