One more time… with feeling!

NO. That does not work. EVER.

This week’s topic is all about learning from mistakes and using them as opportunities to figure out how move forward. It’s true that this is a somewhat tired cliche — so why is it that we all still get stuck in these depressing loops comprised of good intentions? There’s at least one approach that absolutely never works. But, there is also always at least one very specific way to finally succeed.

The Slow Burn

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Reflecting on my training this past week, initially I felt like it was particularly unremarkable. But then I caught myself. I realized that this week, I completed all but two of my little checks, including the ever difficult-for-me back kick; PRed on my mile time while simultaneously exceeding the minimum requirement of 8 minutes for the first time; sparred an awesome but tough third-degree black belt candidate for 3 minutes for my live sparring round; and finished strong at the toughest conditioning workout of the black belt test to date, the first Mackay Stadium workout. Since when did these sorts of accomplishments start to feel like just another day at the dojo??

The Importance of Rest and Recovery During Training

Cats sleep 16-20 hours a day. Doesn't that sound great??

Last week was rough. I was physically and mentally all kitty-whack. On at least two separate occasions, I put my shirt on backwards. My max reps in my conditioning log were at all-time lows. I downright stank at checklisting pretty much every time I tried. I managed not to cry on the mat, but that’s not to say I didn’t shed a tear or two of exhausted frustration over a paloma at my favorite Mexican restaurant. Thank goodness I had a long holiday weekend to recover a little!

Enter the SMART Goals

Bruce Lees game face in Enter the Dragon

Beyond The Mat Lesson Two is all about designing achievable goals. If you’ve attended a college class, read a self-improvement book, or heck, paged through a women’s health magazine, you probably know all about S.M.A.R.T. goals. But as G.I. Joe always said, knowing is only half the battle. This week in my journey to black belt, I realize that my goal setting kind of sucks.

The Pursuit of Mastery

Near win

An integral requirement for the first half of the black belt test, there are 111 different techniques, combos and rounds in which candidates must exhibit proficiency. If you perform the technique correctly (and with gusto!), you check that technique off the list — thus, the term “checklisting.” Over the past three years, I’ve watched many friends endure the frustration and panic of failing one or more checks over and over. But is it really a failure, or is it, as TED speaker Sarah Lewis might say, the gift of a near win?

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