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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 won’t 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 Year’s Day as a new beginning. The other half are in denial. A new year is simply that, “new”.

That’s where trouble begins. We approach New Year’s Day as Championship Day. It’s 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, “Ok, 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 you’re the one who hits the ball, whatever you do, do not run those bases.”

Then, after camp and pre-season the manager says, “This is it guys. Everything we’ve worked so hard for. It’s Championship Day. Today, make sure that when you swing you don’t 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 ‘em!”

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.

It’s the same for you and me. We’ve been practicing all the wrong skills.

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

So let’s take a new approach this year. Let New Year’s Day be the beginning of a winning campaign. Let’s bring our best discipline but be aware we’ve been enjoying the “off-season” for a while now. We’re going to make some mistakes, engage in some old behaviors, and yes, we’ll 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) won’t make the team. We just might find that we can win our championship without them. Better still, we may find that goal wasn’t big enough for us.

It’s time to put our best team on the field and begin our winning campaign.

New Year’s Day shouldn’t be the end. New Year’s Day is by its very nature is the beginning.



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New Year's Resolutions Are So Last Century!

Today and for the next few weeks you can look most anywhere and find out about New Year's Resolutions. This is the time when we take a good look at the past and plan for a better future. And if you're interested in how to make them, how to keep them, or the purpose or history of New Year's Resolutions, there are literally hundreds of thousands of resources at your disposal. This is not one of them.

This writing serves notice that New Year's Resolutions are passé. New Year's Resolutions were implemented in a time when everyone moved at a much slower pace and change was not as ubiquitous as it is today. Simply put, people looked at New Year's Day as the day when all things could start over, hopefully for the better.

People spent more time in the process of living in days past and they were more dependent on circumstances. Farmers woke before dawn and worked until the sun set and still all their efforts could be thwarted by poor weather or other uncontrollable circumstances. There was no time to plan change nor was there much thought of it. When you were born on a farm you were likely to be a farmer.

Today we can change almost overnight. A young boy born on a farm has the choice to become anything he chooses, including being a farmer. And he can do so quickly. Access to information has provided these options.

But options are what often keep us stymied. We have so many choices in life we often find ourselves as kids in the candy store. Mesmerized by the wonderful choices, we stand still and look up 365 days later only to find we didn't even reach for one. We never chose because the choices were too great.

Unfortunately time chooses for us. Just as our parents would soon whisk us out of the candy store without our favorite candy, time pushes us to a new year without our having chosen how we wish to spend it.

We fail to choose what we want for our lives because there are too many choices. We see what we want but quickly see something else, only to be distracted again. In the end we become confused and a confused mind does nothing.

Which brings us back to why New Year's Resolutions are so last century. Today we move at such a rapid pace and we are faced with so many options, we must resolve and choose more strategically. This means we must resolve regularly. A year is too long a time to wait.

And besides, we are exposed to so much each day that what we think we want for our lives this year on January 1 may become obsolete by January 15th. Of course our desire may wane as well. It's best to keep things short-term.

This year, resolve to choose monthly, weekly, or even daily goals to achieve. Long-term goals have their place and should be a part of the destination of your short-term goals, but don't be so locked into them that you find them obsolete before you even get started. Just because everyone else recognizes January 1 as New Year's Day doesn't mean it is the only day to start anew. A new year for you can begin any day.