How do you spend your free time? When I'm not hanging out with my family or teaching/practicing martial arts, I enjoy playing video games. That's my hobby and how I unwind after a long day of work. My favorite console is the Nintendo Switch. One neat thing that you can do is click on your profile and the system will tell you how many hours you have spent on a particular game. Suffice to say, there are some rather large amounts of my time I have dumped into video games whose quantity I would prefer to not share with the world.
So let me ask again: How do you spend your free time? They say, "Time is money." There's truth to this. Your time is valuable. Time is a commodity that you cannot purchase more of. There are 24 hours in a day, and once they are gone there is no getting them back. So how you use them is very important. Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with spending time with video games or binging a TV show. If those things help you relax and you enjoy them, then there is definitely value in them. However, we have to make sure that we also balance those things with the important aspects of our life that should take priority.
A great example is exercising. How many hours a week do you spend exercising? The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get around 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. This could mean going for a run , playing a sport, or (my personal favorite) attending martial arts classes several times in a week. Binging the latest episodes of Cobra Kai is fine, but not if something important, like exercising, is lacking. The same can be said of anything important, including school, work, or other goals you have for yourself.
One thing that will motivate you to put more time into something is tracking your progress. Going back to my video games, I love when a game gives you a checklist. I really enjoy having a list of achievements to pursue or trinkets to collect. Watching me fill out my progress is satisfying, and the same can be said of working towards a high grade in school or winning games on a team sport. We have to work on ourselves, and instruct our children, on how to set goals and then allot the appropriate amount of time needed for us to be successful at those goals. Coming up with a plan for how to reach those goals and creating clear steps on how to reach it can be helpful in showing people what the time requirements are in order to attain the goal.
Another reason we should have a checklist and clear path to reach our goals is not only to remind us to put in the necessary time, but also to remind ourselves that achieving anything takes time. If on day one of your martial arts training you get frustrated because a particular technique is hard and you stink at it, then you're going to be very likely to quit. But, if you join martial arts, lay out a goal, and understand the path to success, then part of that is knowing that it will take days, weeks, months, or even years to perfect it.
Time is a two way street. You must put in your time to achieve something, and anything worth achieving takes time. If we prepare our minds and the minds of our students to understand that, then large tasks won't seem so daunting. Instead, each punch you throw or math problem you solve will just be a tick on a clock that keeps moving forward towards a goal.
About the Author
Master Matthew Eyler is a 4th degree black belt in the Korean martial art of Tang Soo Do and a New York State certified general and special education teacher. He has over 20 years experience practicing self-defense and teaching students of all ages and abilities.