We all have dreams and aspirations. Some of those dreams are modest, and others are very lofty. But dreams remain dreams if we do not put a deadline on their completion. Once we put a deadline on our dreams, they become something altogether different. Our dreams become goals.
Students of the martial arts are well aware of goal setting. It is built into the curriculum of any martial arts training academy. The beginning and intermediate goals are represented by the color belt system that most modern day schools implement. The ultimate goal in martial arts is a black belt. But even within the setting of a martial arts training regimen, the color belts and the achievement of a black belt are still merely dreams unless the student puts a date on their attainment. Most students will strive to be ready to test at the end of a three month cycle in the typical martial arts school. But this is not always the case, which then leads to a delay in attaining the ultimate goal, thus placing achieving a black belt squarely in the realm of dreams. So, it is imperative that the student stick to the dates set for the next color belt and for the ultimate date for when they will receive their black belt. After all, it is already built in to the school’s training curriculum, so the goal should be achievable if followed up with “action” by the student.
By the time I was in my early forties I had already been training in the martial arts for over ten years. I had trained some in Kenpo, TKD, and Muay Thai. I never achieved a black belt in any of those martial arts styles because life always got in the way. At least that was what I kept telling myself. You see, I never set a date on my dream of obtaining a black belt. In not setting a date, the reality was that I allowed the regular routine of my life to get in the way. Eventually, however, I decided I wanted to make a career change. At that time (in my early forties) I searched my life for things of interest that I could do as a profession. One of those was the martial arts. From that point I decided I wanted to obtain my black belt and I wanted to teach. In the very beginning I set a date for my goal of receiving my black belt. I wanted to have a martial arts school before my fiftieth birthday. That simple placing of a date turned a dream into a goal. There were other dates I set on other milestones toward that dream, and I placed a date on those as well. In early 2016, I turned fifty. And by the time I had I could already see my dream as reality, having achieved my second degree black belt and having received the position of chief instructor of the Kung Jung Mu Sul training academy in Universal City, Texas, an accomplishment I managed to do a year and a half ahead of my set deadline. The goals I set made the invisible easily viewed and with plenty of time to spare. I have since then set new goals for myself, and so I continue my journey along the path.
And so should you. Whatever it is that you dream about, put a date on it, and you will see it appear as your reality.