The Reality: Routines, Time, Priorities, and Your Life

We are nearing the end of February, and you are probably comfortably out of the holidays and back into the grind of your routines. 

Your New Year’s resolutions have probably been squashed. You had tons of enthusiasm a couple of months ago but maybe now you are facing REALITY. You might think to yourself:

"Those dreams and goals I had were too lofty."

"I don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish what I want to accomplish."

You can’t make it to martial arts class, there is too much going on. You can’t get your workouts in because other stuff takes priority. You can’t meditate. You can’t spend time playing with your kids. You can’t walk your dog. You can’t meal plan, grocery shop, and prepare meals either!

I talk to students all of the time that tell me when they are on the mat training they are happy and inspired to make changes in all of the other areas of their life. They might be kneeling at the end of class during meditation, soaking up the vibes of the dojo, and thinking about how inspired they are going to be to make a change starting today.

BUT THEN, they walk out the doors of the academy back into the world and get caught up in the chaos of our culture. Before you know it, work, commitments to family and friends, iPhones, traffic, Facebook, Netflix, and so many other things start to battle for our attention again, and we might never even think about those plans we had while we were kneeling on the mat.

In fact, they tell me that often they won’t slow down and think about those things again until the next time they are in the academy. It happens with their martial arts practice too, they have full intentions of going home, making some notes on what they learned, practicing a little bit or going over the techniques in their mind, but then they walk out and never think about it again until the next class. By that time it’s too late - they’ve already forgotten the technique.

*A huge tip for this one, by the way, is to sit down inside the academy with your notebook and take some notes before you leave the dojo. Then pull out your notes before the next class and go back over them - even if it is right before class! We see students that have tons of success with this formula.

I hear you. I really do. But the reality is that you have the same amount of time in your day as every other human being on the earth. And if your day truly is too full to do the things that you said you’d do at the beginning of the year, the reality is that it’s not because you don’t have enough time, it’s because your true priorities are revealing themselves.

Your priorities are what you spend your time doing. We might say that our priorities are things like our family or our health, but if we aren’t spending our time in those areas, then they aren’t our true priorities.

So what are your priorities?

If you really want to know, keep a genuine time log for a week, but don’t change anything about what you do right now. Funny thing is, you probably won’t be able to stop yourself from changing just a little bit, because when you start realizing how much time you are spending on Facebook, or watching Netflix, you almost can’t help making some changes.

Some of the things that we are spending our time on might be out of our control, but are there any areas that are in our control? And sometimes other things are genuinely just more important.

I don't want you to quit your job and train all the time. I don't want you to skip out on playing with your kids to get a workout in.

But I do want you to just stop at the store and buy a few groceries instead of waiting in the drive thru line. I do want you to put your phone down and get a workout in. 

Your health is a crucial piece to you living a long, happy, and fulfilling life. You have to make it a priority too!

The question is do we just tell ourselves that we are too busy when there is actually quite a bit of free time in there?

Try your best to just track and not change anything about what you are doing. Then add up all of the time doing the different activities and discover what your TRUE priorities are.

Now, if you want to make a change…pick one of those categories that you’d rather not be spending so much time and allot that time to doing one of the things you do want to be doing. 

You have to curate your lifestyle. You have the same 24 hours as everyone else, you just have to decide how you’re going to spend them, and then do it!

Life is Life

One night while talking before a concert my family and I were attending, my Dad asked me about one of our advanced students that has been missing from class. I told him that I had not seen him in awhile but had spoken to him and knew that work was really getting in the way of his training.

My Dad said well make sure he knows we understand and to just get back to training when he can. “Life is life,” my Dad said, “and martial arts is all about life.”

All of us can relate to this message. Sometimes things just get in the way of your training. This is absolutely normal. We just have to make sure we get right back on track when we can.

That might seem like an easy piece of advice, but it can be extremely difficult. When things get in the way, it is easy to let other things that aren’t really in the way seem like they are. You may miss a week or two of training for any number of reasons, but then those reasons aren’t there anymore and you continue to delay your return to training. You may have originally missed because of the snow, work, an injury, vacation, family commitments, the list goes on and on, but now you are missing because of laziness, fear of being out of shape, fear of not knowing all of your techniques, or being behind.

We all need to remember that the first list of reasons that actually got in the way are normal and completely understandable. Life is life. It’s going to happen! This is training in the context of a real life. The second list is where we have to be mindful. The second list is where the “no excuses” mentality needs to come in, or Nike’s “just do it” motto. When it is time to get back on the mat, or get back to your diet, or back into your routine - JUST DO IT.

In that moment more than ever we cannot psyche ourselves out. Turn off the brain for a little while because in that moment your power to reason usually will work against you! Because it is easier to stay home, you may convince yourself of a sound reason to do it. You can convince yourself to just get back on track tomorrow, or the next day. But don’t!

The decision to take the easy path might give you pleasure or enjoyment for that one moment. The decision to take the harder path will give you happiness and fulfillment for a lifetime.

See you on the mat!

Look Up

We believe part of what makes our Academy so unique is the people that train here on a day-to-day basis. PMA is one place that, for at least a couple of hours per week, we have a real human connection and are building strong relationships that will last a lifetime.

It starts with the instructor/student relationship. From the first time you walk into PMA, you are greeted by an instructor that is genuinely happy to see you. We firmly believe that the martial arts way of life is for everyone. Therefore, when a new face walks into the academy, we can’t wait to get them on the mat and help them start their journey.

Then, you also have the student/student relationship. You grow very close to the students that are on the martial arts journey with you, but you also develop relationships with the advanced students that guide you and give you tips along the way. Training with like-minded individuals is an experience unlike any other.

With technology creeping deeper and deeper into our lives, relationships are falling to the wayside. When we are on the mat, we are not on our phones, so we establish relationships here built on a phone-free foundation. Are there any other areas in your life that you can make “phone free?”

We love technology and use it a ton! We just think that there should be times of our lives that we “look up.” Check out this video, and let us know what you think!