"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." -Jim Ryun
Life gives us a lot to think about. Every day, in ways big and small, there are questions to be answered, puzzles to be solved, obstacle courses to be navigated. If we also had to expend much thought on all the things that keep us alive -- nutrition, hydration, sleep, hygiene -- we would probably be suffering in a lot of different ways.
Fortunately, we have habits--the things that we do automatically at different times and in different situations--that assure that all those life-critical activities get done. Beyond these core habits are others that are almost as important. These are the habits that enhance our lives -- and sometimes even preserve them.
On that latter count, we have habits like we develop through our martial arts training. Through constant repetition, we learn not only how to block and punch and kick with power, bet we also condition ourselves to do those things as an automatic response to very specific situations. For the martial artist who one day finds themselves literally fighting for their lives, it will be the thinking they did in the Dojo that saves them, not the thinking they do in the moment of crisis; that moment demands immediate and decisive action.
As to how habits make our lives better, there are many. They are what help us give the most we can to the world around us, and to the most of what the world has to offer us. They are what make us good leaders and employees, good friends and family members. Integrity, persistence, punctuality, kindness… These are not virtues that we simply aspire to. They are qualities that we achieve through constant repetition. That itself is a tall order. But when I look around our dojo community, I see no lack of motivation to fill it.