Character Chats

Overcoming Challenges With Optimism

How do we overcome challenges and remain optimistic?

How do we overcome challenges and remain optimistic?

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character, and this month we’re talking about optimism. Specifically, this week, we’re talking about utilizing that optimistic attitude to overcome challenges.

I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio. We’ve developed this curriculum to best meet the needs of everyone from as young as three to as old as 84.

The path to our goals

Overcoming challenges is something that everyone has to do. We all set a goal. It’s January. We all have new year’s resolutions. We all have goals we’ve set and plans we’ve made. We’re looking forward to the new year with excitement. It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s full of possibilities. We start the new year, a lot of us, with goals.

I’m going to finish my Master’s degree this year. I’m going to lose 10 pounds. I’m going to make it to the gym more often. I’m going to learn how to knit or sew or cook, or whatever that may be.

We all set a New Year’s resolution, a goal along the way. Surprisingly, even some of the kids in January will set a goal for something they wish to achieve in the new year. It’s just something that we seem to do.

A lot of us give up along the way when we are faced with a challenge. We throw in the towel. We get frustrated. We get upset. It’s a matter of remaining optimistic and looking on the bright side to continue to move those goals forward, to find ourselves in a positive attitude, knowing that we can achieve what we set our minds to.


How do we do that? How do we overcome those challenges? Well, one way we do that is by creating some type of vision board, some type of idea, maybe it’s on a piece of paper.

When I was meeting with my nutrition coach, I had it on a post-it, a three by three post-it that was then stuck on my laptop that I would look at every single day, every single day, to remind me of what it was that I wanted to achieve. That post-it had words like meditate and relax and water, because one of my goals was to drink water. It also had pictures of vegetables because I needed to eat vegetables. It kind of was a collage of a couple of things that I was working towards, for myself, just as a physical reminder of what it was that I was wanting to do.

Some people set timers and use their clocks and their watches and their cell phones to remind them to do things. When my son was testing for black belt, one of the goals that he had was to get all of his pushups in, and he had a lot of difficulty with that. He, literally, set timers on his phone that would go off when he got home from school every hour or two hours, and then he would go down and work on his pushups. Over the course of time, by sticking with that, he was able to achieve what he wished to achieve. He was able to get his 35 pushups in.

Support Squad

Some of us will share with friends and have a support system around us, someone who can check in with us, someone who can say, “Hey, how’s that going?” Because then, there’s someone that will help you remain accountable. Maybe a gym buddy, a friend. Who knows. Who knows. It’s a matter of finding that person that can help you when you’re feeling a little bit low.

We see that here at the studio with family members that are all working towards black belt together, because not everybody hits the challenge spot at the same time. Let’s say there’s a couple of siblings that are all working towards black belt. One might be faced with a challenge while the other two are not. They all kind of help each other and lift each other up and help each other see the difficulties in a different light.

Another way is just communicating, because optimism is about looking on the bright side. If you communicate with someone, I’m having trouble with this, I’m challenged by this, they can help you problem solve what you’re trying to figure out.

In summary,

We all get frustrated. We all hit a wall when it comes to what we’re trying to achieve, where we’re trying to go, the challenges we’re trying to overcome. If we can find ways to overcome it by utilizing friends, family, relationships, vision boards, discussions, setting smaller goals.

You might have one big one, but you set smaller pieces along the way to help you see that you are making progress. That helps you remain looking on the bright side and to see that you are moving in that positive direction.

I would encourage all of you, as you are faced with challenges, to find ways to remain optimistic.

Thanks, and we’ll see you on the mat!

True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here