One of my proudest achievements in life was earning my first black belt in Taekwondo in 2011 (and later 2nd degree). Unlike what you may have heard about some schools, training at Peck’s Taekwondo involves working hard to truly earn your black belt–they don’t just give them away.
Every punch, kick, and block was important to learn, but the lesson that has stuck with me the most is the Tenets of Taekwondo: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-control, and Indomitable Spirit.
These are important in all aspects of life and can help anyone looking to start their own health and fitness journey–even when it doesn’t actually involve learning Taekwondo.
I know what you’re thinking, how the heck does courtesy play a role in health & fitness? Courtesy is respect & kindness to others. Whether that be to the person next to you at the gym, or when your trainer instructs you to reduce your daily net carbs to just 100 (I stayed polite externally, but cried internally), or actually showing up on time for your next workout, always show respect & common courtesy when setting out on your fitness journey.
You might think I would focus on showing integrity to others but, while that is important, that is not where I am going here. Integrity is not cheating yourself. There were many times that I could have eaten a piece of cake and not recorded it in my diet journal. I could even have counted 15 reps when I knew I only actually did 14. Yes, I never cheated myself out of just 1 rep. The key is to not to hold yourself to an unachievable goal–if you can only do 14 reps, do 14 reps–but to not rob yourself of the investment you are making in you!
This one should speak for itself. You have to keep going. Each day, each week, each month, each year. Notice that I started with “each day?” That’s because, in order to persevere with your fitness goals, you should set not just a long-term goal, but mini-goals too! “Ok, today, I will not eat more than one cookie and I will do at least 20 minutes of exercise.” Perseverance is pushing forward when things get tough. Earning my black belt meant overcoming difficult “forms” (routines) and losing weight meant getting right back on track, even when I had caved and eaten a hamburger and fries.
Speaking of caving to hamburger & fries, that still happens now and then, but self-control doesn’t mean you are doing great 100% of the time. It means that you WANT to do great 100% of the time, so try hard to avoid eating a bad meal or skipping a workout. When you understand and practice self-control–and then stumble–you pick yourself back up and get right back to healthy eating and exercise.
This is an “I can do this” mindset. In order to get one, you need to have some kind of emotional force that drives you forward. Mine was the fear of dying from a heart attack due to unhealthy living and bad genes. Thankfully, I had made that commitment months before I actually had a heart attack and stroke. Now my indomitable spirit is even more motivated, even stronger than when I first started. Your driving force? Maybe its to be around for your family. Maybe you want to get rid of aches and pains that trouble you. And yes, it can even just be that you want to look good in a pair of skinny-fit jeans. ;-)
I am truly thankful for training under the wonderful Master Peck. She didn’t just make me recite the Tenets of Taekwondo at the beginning of each class, she instilled them in me deep enough that they help me in all aspects of life. I hope they also help you if your traveling on your path to better health!