You know how good it feels to set your sights on a goal and then achieve it. It’s empowering and invigorating – and it’s not just a matter of chance. Goal-setting is an important life skill.
The good news is that studying the martial arts can help your child learn:
The importance of setting goals
How to set realistic goals
How to pursue goals in a way that maximizes the chance of success
Let’s break it down and talk about how that works.
Martial arts instruction uses a series of goalposts to teach kids. You probably know them as belts – and each belt has stripes, too. Each stripe on a belt indicates a level of achievement, and a move from one color belt to a new color is an achievement.
The instruction we provide is carefully calibrated to provide students with achievable goals. They’ll never be asked to make big leaps in ability. Instead, they pursue small goals that allow them to experience the joy of steady improvement.
Of course, in our classes we provide those goals by telling kids what’s expected of them. But we also talk about why the goals are what they are – and we emphasize that slow and steady progress is the best way to master the martial arts.
What does this do for kids? Well, it teaches them what a realistic goal looks like. They understand that a big goal can be broken down into smaller goals, and small goals can break down into individual tasks.
That’s information they internalize, and they can use it to set goals at home, at school, and when the time comes, at work. We also talk to them about long-term and short-term goals and the differences between them.
For example, a child might dream of earning a black belt. We tell them that’s a great long-term goal, but we point out that there are hundreds of smaller goals to be met along the way. Then, we show them how those smaller goals accumulate to give them the tools they need to meet their big goal!
Pursuing goals also teaches kids that it’s important to challenge themselves. Kids need challenges to keep them interested. And because they’re competing against themselves in martial arts, they learn the importance of being the best possible version of themselves.