Character Chats

How can we use our awareness to create good habits?

Can we have too much awareness?

And how can we use our awareness to create good habits?

Every month here at True Balance Karate, we have a word of the month. It’s our social-emotional learning program called True Character.

This month’s word of the month is awareness.

Awareness means, for our younger students, “I pay attention to my surroundings.” For our older students we say, “I see people’s feelings. I know where I am. And I ask great questions.”

Can we ever be overly aware?

Sometimes we’re overly aware and we hear all of the negative things that happen around us. In these cases, we are overly aware of those around us. We hear negative comments and can think about them more than we should.

How do we ignore those negative things?

If you hear things around you, for example somebody making a comment, “Oh, I don’t think they’re very good at this. Oh, I think so-and-so struggles with that,” you can really perseverate at that and let that beat you down.

But we can work through that. We can work past it. We can engage our smart brains and understand how to let it help us.

We can also let it slide right off. Everybody isn’t always going to say good things about us. And just because somebody thought something bad or said something bad on accident doesn’t mean we’re bad. It also doesn’t mean we have to listen to it.

We can engage that great self-confidence that we learn here in karate class. We can encourage self-esteem. We know we’re accomplished and we’ve done things and we’ve done great things. And we’ve gone through all kinds of adversity. We’ve pushed through, we’ve raised our grades, we’ve broken our boards, we’ve earned our belts. We’ve earned where we’re at.

So if somebody says something that’s not so nice that we wind up being aware of, we don’t need to beat ourselves up for it because we know who we are.

If anything, sometimes we feel sorry for the other person that is walking around in life being negative that way.

Thinking too much about something

Have you ever thought too much about something?

Let’s say you have a favorite toy or a blanket and you think about losing it or dropping it all the time. So it has to be with you everywhere you go, right?

Or you worry too much about situations, tests, friends, etc.

What can we do, or should we do, if we think too much about something?

Let’s take the idea of losing some of our favorite stuff. You can think and be so worried about losing it. You see this with the younger kids a little bit. They always have to have it with them.

Sometimes we have students that put their little favorite animal off to the side a little bit. They can be so worried about losing it. They bring it everywhere. That’s actually what triggers losing it. We’ve got to engage that smart brain and realize it’s okay to put it where it’s at.

We can also be a little too aware of things like tests, doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, etc. and we can really bury ourselves into a sea of worry.

Well, one thing we can do, again, is engage our smart brain and try to raise ourselves out of it. Yes, I have a test coming up tomorrow. Yes, I’m a little worried about it. That shows that I care. No, I’m not going to let myself be too worried about it. I’m going to take positive actions and study. And when I’ve studied well, and I’ve taken practice tests and it seems I know the stuff, I can engage my smart brain and turn off that worry a little bit and make sure I’m not too overly aware.

Let’s say we have a dentist appointment. Nobody likes going to the dentist. It’s not fun, but it sure beats losing all your teeth.

So if you’re aware of that dentist appointment coming up, there’s no need to get all nervous about it. There’s no need to get all upset for three days because you have a dentist appointment coming up. We always have to go, it has to happen.

Now that that floated in my mind, it’s time to put it out of my mind. You know what? I’ll worry about it when I’m sitting in the dentist chair. I’m not letting it ruin today. I have to go to the dentist no matter what, but I’m not going to let it ruin today or this weekend.

Using awareness to build good habits

You can also use your awareness to build good habits.

It’s hard to improve on things we’re not aware we need to improve on.

Let’s say drinking enough water, for example. We know we’re supposed to drink quite a bit of water each day. But how can we know that we need to drink more if we’re not aware of how much we drink?

So let’s say you start to check it. For a couple of days, you’re going to track how much water you drank. You need to take a look at the numbers. You write down how many glasses you pour. And then you look at what they say you should have for the day.

Being aware of how much you really do have might drive you to make the decision to have more.

Take screen time. How much time do you really spend on your screens? How much time do you really spend on your phone?

I had a student tell me the other day that there’s a new app, I think on the iPhone that will tell you how many pickups you have in a day. It’s a really interesting awareness conversation with one of our teenagers.

Apparently this app — I haven’t seen it yet — says every time you pick up the phone just to look at it, it’ll record it. You can look at it at the end of the day.

For a lot of people, that can really be an awakening of awareness. “Wow, I had no idea — I picked up my phone hundreds of times in the course of a day. Maybe I’m picking up my phone too much.”

Having an app like that on your phone can really raise your awareness of what your habits are and enable you to build better habits.

So think about things that you do, think about things you want to be or become, and then set out to be aware of where you’re at. That way you can actually make improvements.

Again, things you don’t know exist, you can’t improve and learn on. So look at all your healthy habits, all of your good habits, and try to be aware of where you stand and set goals to be better.

Thanks. And we will see everybody out on the mat.
– Master Helsdon