As we talked about earlier this month, Indomitable Spirit is about an individual’s inner strength to overcome challenges, but it is also about setting goals for the future. We have been talking about two types of goals, internal (intrinsic) and external (extrinsic) goals.

External goals are the easier goals to set, providing students a visible goal to achieve. In Taekwondo, the belt system provides achievable goals for students to reach. Students are given concrete material to learn, so that they may test for their next belt. Outside the bet system, we also have our Super Student Program to help students achieve their goals. They daily complete tasks at home, making their bed, cleaning up after snacks and meals, etc. Each time they complete a task, the sheet is checked off. After a month, the sheet is brought back, and we give the students a star. After 6 months and collecting 6 stars students receive a free deluxe uniform. Internal goals are harder to achieve.

With internal goals, we set a goal that does not provide an external reward. For our students this can mean setting a personal goal of improving their Round Kick. While improving their round kick does not result in a new belt, it still makes them a better Taekwondo, martial arts student. These goals can also be harder to maintain. One of the ways we talk to competitive students about maintaining their internal goals is to keep a journal. As often, the difference between winning and loosing in competition are in the results of improving internal goals.