Character Chats

What Prevents Perseverance?

What gets in the way of our perseverance?

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. This month we’re talking about perseverance.

I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio. I have two master’s degrees in education, and we’ve developed this program to best meet the needs of our youngest student who’s three and our oldest student, who’s 84.

What’s stopping us?

And we’re talking about perseverance this month.

It’s a holiday month. There’s extra things that are going on this month with regards to family obligations, expectations, extra parties, extra things for my students that are in school. Classes are wrapping up, grades are due, tests are happening there. There’s a lot that’s going on right now.

And so this week, when we’re talking about perseverance, we’re talking about what gets in our way. All of the things I have listed sometimes gets in the way of our perseverance.

We set a goal and we really want to achieve it, but then we get sick, or we get injured, or we have a bunch of other things that we have to take care of at that moment in time. Or we get nervous, and anxious, and afraid, and we’re not quite sure what to do.

And so there’s lots of things that could impact our ability to persevere, lots of things that could impact it. And it’s a matter of understanding what those things are and how we can work through them together.

Goal-Setting Tools

Behind me, we have a Make a Black Belt Commitment wall. Laying out your goal, writing it down, putting in it on a piece of paper, journaling it.

I see a life coach/nutrition coach, and as we were putting together some things that I wanted to accomplish health wise, she had me put it on a piece of paper and then asked me to put it in a place that I saw every day.

For me, that was on my laptop, because I saw it every single day. For other people, it might be the mirror in the bathroom, or on their favorite book that they read at night, or on the kitchen counter by the coffee maker. It just is a matter of where it is for you.

What are you looking to accomplish? And if we keep that front and center, then when we get afraid, when we get anxious, when we get swamped with other activities and things that are going on, we can still persevere because we’re remembering what it is that we’re trying to accomplish.

For some of my adults, day planners or Google calendars or some type of things like that, that helps us stay organized, helps especially as we get additional things added to our schedule. Like a lot of us do this month.

I taught both of my kids when they got into high school as freshmen, how to link up our calendar, how to put what was happening with them in there so that they could see and know what was going on and could start to make some of those plans for themselves.

And we found it to be a pretty useful tool in terms of teaching them organizational skills.

There’s lots and lots of tools out there. But when it comes to persevering, it’s recognizing where we are in this moment right now.

And what is impacting us and is it impacting us in a good way or is it impacting us in a negative way?

Keeping the End in Mind

We had a student here testing for black belt and she broke her foot. So she went through the pretest process with the boot on, with the full expectation that it was going to come off, but it didn’t.

And so she kept her goal in her head and she was very disappointed that she couldn’t test in the fall like she wanted to. And she had to wait till the spring and it kind of upset her a little bit, but she still achieved her goal.

She still had the end result in mind. And it’s teaching all of us how to deal with some of those disappointing moments.

We have them as adults, kids have them all the time. They feel big emotions, we feel big emotions.

And how do we use that when it’s starting to get in the way of our perseverance?

How do we use that and channel that in such a way that we still achieve the goal that we are trying to achieve?

Because that right there is our perseverance, taking any of the things that are trying to get in the way, the fears, the anxiety, the nervousness, the time constraint, the added pressure, the priorities, the negative self-talk that we might be getting into.

How do we take any of that and change it into something positive? Into something that we can then utilize and use so that we can achieve our goals so that we can get to the end result of whatever that might be.

Thanks, and I’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