New Year's Day is not Championship Day

new-years-day-orchampionshjipheading1Every player wants to win the championship. Professional athletes stay in shape during the off-season but a championship campaign begins with training camp.

After a few weeks, preseason begins. Here the players get back into the groove of competing. While everyone wants to win the real purpose of preseason games is to evaluate the ability of each player to execute both personally and with the team.

Some players wonít make the team. In the end, the manager puts the best team he can on the field with the intention of winning the championship at the end of the season.

Championships are often won or lost before the season begins. It is often the discipline each team member has during off-season, training camp, and preseason that makes all the difference.

What does this have to do with our personal success next year? Everything.

More than half of all people in the world look at New Yearís Day as a new beginning. The other half are in denial. A new year is simply that, ďnewĒ.

Thatís where trouble begins. We approach New Yearís Day as Championship Day. Itís as if we suddenly are thrown into the biggest game of our lives. And the bad news? We prepared for the big game by doing everything we no longer want to do.

Imagine the manager telling his players, ďOk, listen here guys. During training camp I want you to try to miss the ball when you swing the bat. On the odd chance someone does hit the ball, I want you to be sure not to catch it if it comes near you. And if youíre the one who hits the ball, whatever you do, do not run those bases.Ē

Then, after camp and pre-season the manager says, ďThis is it guys. Everything weíve worked so hard for. Itís Championship Day. Today, make sure that when you swing you donít miss the ball. When the other guys hit it, you have to catch it every time. And run those bases as if your life depends on it. Go get Ďem!Ē

Take a professional baseball player and have him practice missing the ball for an extended period of time and it will take him a while to get back to hitting the ball at all.

Itís the same for you and me. Weíve been practicing all the wrong skills.

We desire something better. So we set New Yearís Resolutions or goals. Sadly, most of us will fail. Not because we didnít earnestly desire or genuinely try, but because we prepared poorly in the off-season (aka last year).

So letís take a new approach this year. Let New Yearís Day be the beginning of a winning campaign. Letís bring our best discipline but be aware weíve been enjoying the ďoff-seasonĒ for a while now. Weíre going to make some mistakes, engage in some old behaviors, and yes, weíll even fail.

But remain diligent and disciplined. When we fail, begin again with the knowledge we gained in failure. Examine what caused the failure and endeavor to avoid those circumstances next time.

In the end, we may find that some players (our new goals) wonít make the team. We just might find that we can win our championship without them. Better still, we may find that goal wasnít big enough for us.

Itís time to put our best team on the field and begin our winning campaign.

New Yearís Day shouldnít be the end. New Yearís Day is by its very nature is the beginning.


Don't Let This "Creep" Ruin Your Plans

Making lasting change requires learning new skills that will be repeated over and over until they become habits.† Habits are the ďremote controlĒ of our lives, governing virtually every action we take.

I remember our first television remote control.† It had four buttons: On, Off, Volume, Channel.† Old Four-Button RemoteOddly, these are the four I use most when I can successfully navigate the remote control to this day.

Today our remote control has sixty-three buttons.† Yours may have more but it is doubtful it has less.† I have no idea what most of the buttons do, but I have them just in case I need them.† I presume I should be comforted by all the extra features at my fingertips and the ďjust-in-caseĒ features I could use should I find the need.

But Iím not.† Actually, Iím troubled most of the time and frustrated all of the time by my remote.† And yes, youíve guessed it, Iíve found my way out of the chair and back to the television to turn the volume up or down, change channels, and even turn the set on or off.† Itís just easier than using my multi-featured remote which was designed to make my life easier.

It is called ďfeature creepĒ and it refers to the things added to a device simply because there is space for it.† The processor has a bit more space, letís add a feature.† We need a bigger processor to handle all the buttons, but when we add the bigger processor we have room for more buttons, and the process continues until no one knows why we have all the buttons.

Iíve found that remote control to be a metaphor for my life as well. In my early years there wasnít much to think about or worry about.† My life was like that early remote with four buttons:† Play, School, Sleep, Eat.

Now my life is much like the sixty-three button remote I have.† Thinking about all those time-saving, money-making, life-changing gadgets Iíve purchased over the years fatigues me.† And thatís just the beginning.† What about all the features Iíve allowed to creep into my life, the ideas and information that seemed useful at the time? And the experiences Iíve had, the careers Iíve been in, the businesses Iíve started, sold or folded.† These things have slowly, methodically, and effectively crippled me.

I literally have hundreds of thousands of pages of information that Iíve downloaded onto my computer for future reference.† I have over seven-hundred bookmarks of websites that one day Iíll refer back to.† I have over seventy domain names for websites Iíll one day build or have built.† Who can keep up with such things?† Certainly not me.† I donít even know half of them and forget about trying to find a document on my computer.† Not a chance.† Iíve simply created more information than my ďremote controlĒ can handle.† I bet you have too.

Which leads me to the first week of January and those pesky resolutions many of us have made.† Statistically, thirty-eight percent of us made no resolutions at all and a whopping twenty-five percent more have already failed at the ones we made.† If you made it this far you have a ninety percent chance to succeed through next week.†† After the second week youíre a mere week away from the time experts tell us it takes to create a habit.† And a habit is lifeís ďremote controlĒ.

And while all that is interesting, what does it have to do with the remote control?† Plenty!† You see, I (and perhaps you) donít use the remote control or many of its buttons because we donít understand how to.† We donít understand how because we havenít taken the time to learn how from someone who knows and to do it repeatedly until it becomes second nature.

Most of us with New Yearís Resolutions are entering into uncharted territory.† Weíre embarking on actions and ideas in which we have no experience.† Imagine you are watching a program on television.† During the commercial break you change the channel to a different program.† Depending upon how interested you become in the new one, you will either stick with the new one or go back to the old one.† In life, by trial and error, we will either find our new ďchannelĒ or revert back to our old ones.

But here are some statistics you should know.† While it may be daunting, forty-nine percent of those who do make New Yearís Resolutions have some degree of success in positive change.† Experts say those who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who do not.

And perhaps the most important point of all:† You donít need New Yearís Day to make a resolution.† Just as you can change the channel at any time if a program is no longer of interest to you, you can resolve to change your habit channel at anytime.† Hereís what you should know.

Delaying a resolution until a future date gives you more days of engaging in the undesired behavior, making it that much more difficult to change.† Further, the emotion you feel when you decide you need to change that is essential in ensuring your success will wane over time.

You will be ten times more likely to achieve your goals when you make a resolution.† Youíll be forty-nine percent likely to achieve some measure of success when doing so.† And when you engage in a new behavior for twenty-one days, youíll create a habit.† You will effectively change the channel of your life.

So, resolve to be different to attain your goals.† Take action for twenty-one days and switch to a new channel, creating the new habit that will put your new lifestyle on remote control.

As for me, Iíve got to get up and change the channel.