Guilderland, NY – As we begin the new year we enter a phase in the annual cycle of our lives when people ask each other what their resolution is. For me, such resolutions for self-improvement can be made any time, it’s just that the new year provides what feels like a new start. There are many examples of things that feel like new starts and these all provide opportunities for resolving to be better. Birthdays, a new job, a new school or a new home are all good examples of new starts. As the saying goes: “I’m only human.”, so apparently humans have been succumbing to weaknesses and making mistakes for quite some time. Fortunately, being human also allows us the ability to think and plan and notice these new starts so that we can try to improve ourselves.
For me there are many new starts, even the start of a new day. As simple as it is, such small new starts provide opportunity to focus on missions or goals in the short term. A big new start for me is when I test for a new level of blackbelt. I tested for sixth degree blackbelt on my birthday this past fall. It was a wonderful experience in New York City where I spent the weekend with my wife and son. I remember it so fondly because I was nervous and so grateful for their support and company. Over the weeks since my test I have been thinking of what has happened in my life while I was a fifth degree. There was a lot because it took the required five years plus one for me. Such reflection is important and I hope you spend the time for yourself because it can help you lead toward resolutions. You can examine the events of last year and make a plan for the new year. Just make sure that you reflect on all of the events you experienced; not only the bad, but also the good and the great.
There are obvious resolutions for me as I prepare over the next six years for seventh degree, which will earn me the title grandmaster. To be called a grandmaster I feel like I must obtain a level of unlimited patience in any situation, total relaxation and a disregard for such wasteful feelings as worry and an increased focus on selfless behavior. Mostly I use the examples of my wife and children for how I want to be. When they present me with my new belt next month at our blackbelt tea ceremony, this will be emphasized and begin the focus of my new cycle. This ceremony will be the focus of next month’s installment.
I hope you are able to meet all of your goals whatever they are. We all just need the five tenets of Taekwondo to help us along the way: Perseverance, Self-Control, Courtesy, Integrity and Great Spirit. With a focus on these five, you can do anything!