Goal setting is one of the most highly linked characteristics to the success that individuals have. Top athletes and successful people all use goal setting. And while it is a trait that is most often associated with adolescents and adults, younger children can also benefit greatly from beginning this life skill at an early age.
Learning how to set reasonable and attainable goals is a valuable lesson for children of all ages. Studies show that goal setting helps children improve their self-discipline and self-awareness. It also increases their internal drive so that they stay motivated to complete the goals they set for themselves. By accomplishing their goals, children’s self-esteem automatically increases, and they have more motivation towards setting future goals.
For children that are just beginning to set goals, it is important that they have tangible and immediate successes to keep them motivated. Goal setting should also be fun so that they will stay interested and continue setting goals throughout their lives. This will help them build the habits necessary to achieve important goals as they continue into adulthood.
In the martial arts, short and long-term goal setting and achievement are at the very core of it. The goals are not intended to create pressure on the student, but rather to encourage them to do their best so that learning and effort is valued. By setting these goals and achieving them, the students will unleash their potential.
Short term goals are addressed in class each day. Students are trained on a skill each day, according to their belt level and age group. At the end of each month, the students are given an opportunity to perform the skills for the instructors. When they have completed their skills successfully, they earn a stripe for their belt. These short-term achievements keep them motivated to continue to set new goals for themselves and work to accomplish them.
As the students work towards earning all 3 stripes on their belt, they are ultimately working towards their long-term goals for the testing cycle. The long-term goal accomplishment will be finalized through testing where the students will perform all skills they have learned and, finally, receive the next belt in their level.
But not only does martial arts utilize the stripes and belt system, it also incorporates additional goals that students can work towards. These include being a part of the Leadership Team, which where students learn and have a chance to help instruct in classes, and the Demo Team, which is an invitation only program that students can work to become a part of.
To succeed in life, we must know exactly what it is we are trying to do. This is the first and foremost secret of successful people - a secret we give as a gift to our students when we teach them how to set goals. By doing this, we are creating positive habits of setting goals that will carry over into adulthood.