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Daily Habits for a Healthier Life: Water, Stretching, and Small Starts


Your martial arts journey is not an overwhelmingly difficult journey. It’s not the individual tasks that are daunting, but the accumulation of thousands of small acts over months and years that culminate in achieving the rank of black belt. Many new students, or those progressing towards black belt, become overwhelmed when trying to grasp the entire process at once. There are no shortcuts. It requires discipline and consistency to create new habits—the very habits that a black belt would have in their daily lives.

The Power of One Small Step

In “The ONE Thing,” Gary Keller illustrates how focusing on a single, significant task can create a chain reaction, leading to greater accomplishments and making subsequent tasks easier. This is known as the Domino Effect. Just like a small domino can set off a chain reaction leading to the toppling of increasingly larger dominos, small, consistent actions can lead to significant results over time.

  • Small Steps Lead to Big Outcomes: Starting with a small, manageable task can pave the way for larger achievements.
  • Momentum: Accomplishing your one thing can create momentum, helping you tackle more complex and significant tasks with greater ease.

Our goal is to start making those small steps in your martial arts journey that will lead to your ultimate goal of becoming a Champion Black Belt.

Goal #1 – Increase Water Intake

This is a simple step: make every other drink you have an equal amount of water, and start your day with a glass of water before your morning coffee or energy drink.

Benefits of Drinking Water

  1. Enhances Brain Function: Proper hydration is essential for cognitive functions such as concentration, alertness, and short-term memory. Even mild dehydration can impair brain function, leading to difficulties in focus and memory retention.
  2. Promotes Weight Loss: Drinking water can aid in weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and boosting metabolic rate. The body can mistake thirst for hunger, leading to overeating. Drinking water before meals can help control appetite and reduce calorie intake.
  3. Flushes Out Toxins: Water helps the kidneys remove waste products and toxins from the blood through urine. Adequate hydration supports kidney function and reduces the risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

Myths About Water

  • You Need to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day: The “8×8” rule is a general guideline, but water needs vary based on age, gender, weight, climate, and activity level. Listening to your body’s thirst signals is a more accurate guide.
  • Alkaline Water or Ionized Water is Superior for Health: There is limited scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of alkaline water. The body maintains a tightly regulated pH balance, and consuming alkaline water is unlikely to significantly impact overall health.
  • Coffee and Tea Dehydrate You: While caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, the water content in coffee and tea contributes to your daily hydration. Moderate consumption does not lead to dehydration.

Starting with a small increase in water can have some very beneficial effects on your body. This does not require expensive bottled water, ionized or alkaline water systems, or expensive name-brand bottled water. Tap water is perfectly healthy in most cities. For an improved taste, use a refrigerator with a built-in water filter or a home pitcher water filter, like Brita.

Remember the goal: Drink a glass of water first thing when waking up, and then throughout the day make every other drink a glass of water.

Goal #2 – Daily Stretching

The goal is to make a daily habit to stretch. This can be as simple as 7 to 10 minutes a day.

Physical Benefits of Stretching

  1. Increases Flexibility: Stretching improves your range of motion, which is crucial for martial arts.
  2. Reduces the Risk of Injury: Flexible muscles are less prone to strains and injuries.
  3. Improves Posture: Stretching helps align your body and improve your posture.
  4. Enhances Blood Circulation: Better circulation means more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your muscles.

Mental Benefits of Stretching

  1. Reduces Stress: Stretching can help calm your mind and reduce tension.
  2. Enhances Relaxation: It’s a great way to unwind and relax, especially after a long day.

Steps to Make Stretching a Daily Habit

  1. Plan a Time and Place: Set a specific time and place for stretching every day. Remove the decision-making process of when to fit this into your schedule. Have a space cleared so that you only need to put down your yoga mat and get started.
  2. Find Inspirational Content: Listen to music or motivational quotes while stretching. Avoid the temptation to scroll through social media or news. Instead, put on a favorite song or an audiobook. For example, Og Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World” has chapters that are around 7 to 8 minutes long, perfect for a stretching session.
  3. Consistency Over Intensity: Doing this daily will produce greater changes than doing long stretching sessions once or twice a week. Our bodies need that daily push to adapt.
  4. Start Now: Don’t wait to become a black belt to train like a black belt! Start now.

Personally, I find the best time to stretch is first thing in the morning when I wake up. I avoid social media, email, news, or anything else. Get up, take care of bathroom duties, brush my teeth, make the bed, get a glass of water, put on my scroll of wisdom, and stretch. It puts a great start to the day, and no matter what happens throughout the day, I started right, had a win, and have a nice made bed waiting for me at the end of the day.


By integrating these small habits—drinking more water, daily stretching, and making small starts—into your routine, you will see significant improvements in your health and martial arts performance. Remember, the journey to becoming a black belt is built on the foundation of these small, consistent actions. Over time, these small actions will develop into habits, then you can work on introducing the next small change until it becomes a habit. As you repeat this process over and over, you develop yourself into a successful champion. Each of these small steps, small accomplishments, small wins, add up to an overwhelming change in the long-term.

Call to Action

We invite all to join us focusing on integrating these healthy habits into your martial arts training. Let’s take these small steps together towards achieving our goals and becoming the best versions of ourselves. Text FREE To 918-302-2425 to get started today!