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.

The Mother of All Success

Change by doingIf you believe success in any endeavor requires a clear-cut destination, I’m about to rock your paradigm.

More than half the American population has or will make New Year’s Resolutions this week. It is highly unlikely many if any will be, “I resolve to do exactly what I did last year.”

Desire for change is born of dissatisfaction. At some level we are unhappy with certain aspects of our lives so we resolve to change. Simple enough.

Yet change doesn’t come easily, partly because we know it doesn’t come easily. But there is a secret weapon at your disposal that can make change easier, simpler, and faster than you ever thought possible. What is this elixir to our better life? Routine.

“Oh, come on now” you say. In your best Jim Mora press conference impersonation you scream, “Routine? You want to talk about routine? I hope I get through the day and you want to talk about routine?”

I remember my routine screaming moment. I loved golf. All I wanted to do was play golf. Then one day I decided I wanted to be better. My brother taught me, “People love routine.” He said, “If you want to play better, you need a better routine.”

Here’s the paradigm rocking point: As mundane and simple as it sounds, routine is the mother of all success, even the success you have in achieving a life or portions thereof you no longer desire.

If you’re overweight, you have a routine of eating too much of the wrong foods and spending too much time in non-physical activity.

If you smoke cigarettes, you have a routine of lighting them when on the phone, after a meal, and when you wake up that makes you a smoker.

Are you less fit than you’d like? You have a routine that excludes physical activity. You get the idea.

Now for the good news: If you want to successfully make changes in your life you need only start with changes in routine. The best way to do this is to replace a routine with a new routine. You’ll rarely have success going “cold turkey” but even that is a change in routine.

Is your resolution to lose weight? Find those trigger moments and change the routine. It usually isn’t the moment you eat the pint of ice cream that gets you, it’s the moments before you grab the freezer door. What do you routinely do that leads to that moment? That’s where you need to focus. More tips can be found at or check out this useful infographic at

Are you focusing on quitting smoking? You’ll need to find something to do with your hands at those key trigger moments. Everything you need to know about quitting smoking can be found here:

Would you like to be more fit? Your best bet is to change your morning routine. If you start your day with some light physical activity you ‘ll likely carry the routine throughout the day. Begin with simple stretching or just a short walk around the block, anything that starts the routine of more activity. Here are some simple tips to get started:

Of course you’ll want to know where you are going and why you want to get there to help ensure arriving at the destination of your choosing, but creating a routine that ensures your success is essential. Start small but get started. And never, ever give up.

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 “remote control” 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 “just-in-case” features I could use should I find the need.

But I’m not.  Actually, I’m troubled most of the time and frustrated all of the time by my remote.  And yes, you’ve guessed it, I’ve 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.  It’s just easier than using my multi-featured remote which was designed to make my life easier.

It is called “feature creep” and it refers to the things added to a device simply because there is space for it.  The processor has a bit more space, let’s 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.

I’ve found that remote control to be a metaphor for my life as well. In my early years there wasn’t 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 I’ve purchased over the years fatigues me.  And that’s just the beginning.  What about all the features I’ve allowed to creep into my life, the ideas and information that seemed useful at the time? And the experiences I’ve had, the careers I’ve been in, the businesses I’ve started, sold or folded.  These things have slowly, methodically, and effectively crippled me.

I literally have hundreds of thousands of pages of information that I’ve downloaded onto my computer for future reference.  I have over seven-hundred bookmarks of websites that one day I’ll refer back to.  I have over seventy domain names for websites I’ll one day build or have built.  Who can keep up with such things?  Certainly not me.  I don’t even know half of them and forget about trying to find a document on my computer.  Not a chance.  I’ve simply created more information than my “remote control” 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 you’re a mere week away from the time experts tell us it takes to create a habit.  And a habit is life’s “remote control”.

And while all that is interesting, what does it have to do with the remote control?  Plenty!  You see, I (and perhaps you) don’t use the remote control or many of its buttons because we don’t understand how to.  We don’t understand how because we haven’t 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 Year’s Resolutions are entering into uncharted territory.  We’re 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 “channel” 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 Year’s 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 don’t need New Year’s 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.  Here’s 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.  You’ll 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, you’ll 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, I’ve got to get up and change the channel.

Thinking is the Mother of Freedom

Discerning thought is the one thing that separates us more than anything else from all of God's creatures. Our minds are a vast bastion of freedom that no person can restrict without our permission.

And while it is a sad statement that we have become a society in which free thought receives a lot of lip service but very little actual support, that discussion is only relevant to those who choose to think for themselves. Few do.

The greatest threat to freedom is not oppression by others, it is the self-suppression of our own minds. This suppression characterizes itself in three forms: Habit, Fatigue, and Compliance.

Habits are useful for humans. Man is a creature of habit. Habits make life predictable which is essential in complex world with so many variables. But habits can be harmful as well. While we all have habits we should change, the habit of not thinking as a free man or woman should be at the top of the list.

When was the last time you truly thought like a free man or woman? Perhaps it was as long ago as your childhood. What were you going to do with your life before you were worn down by experience and necessity? What is it that you secretly wish to do now, if you only had the freedom to do it? Brian Tracy asks, "What one thing would you do if you knew you could not fail?" He goes on to ask, "Why aren't you doing it?"

The only place of true freedom is in one's mind. This year, exercise the freedom of your mind by thinking of what you would do if you knew you couldn't fail. Then think about how you can go about doing it.

We all succumb to fatigue. But what makes us most fatigued is one simple phrase: "Have to". How many times in a day do you "have to" do something? We "have to" go to work. We "have to" pick up the kids. We "have to" make dinner. Fatigue should be experienced because we've fully spent the freedom we enjoy, not because we've burned up the hours in "have to" activities.

When exercising your freedom of thought this year, use it to make those things you do free choices as well. Replace "have to" with "get to" and see how different you feel. Imagine the joy of "getting to" pick up the kids after school. Many parents don't have the privilege. Best of all, when "have to" becomes "get to" you just might find some of those "have to" activities aren't all that necessary.

Perhaps no other thing we experience is so defeating as compliance. Whether political correctness or family and peer pressure, we all comply with others to some extent. Compliance is good in that it provides common ground from which we all can prosper and be free. But everyone suffers when we comply in an attempt to appease others.

We all know people who had dreams and aspirations that were thwarted by well-meaning family and friends who cautioned them against their dreams. What fantastic new services or products have been kept from us by this type of compliance? Countless are the thought-provoking, idea generating ideas that have been held back due to fear of failure, success, or scrutiny of others. How devastating it is to the free mind to hold back ideas and beliefs.

There was a time when men and women said what they meant and meant what they said. That was a time of thought-provoking ideas. Today we may say what we think but don't think about what we say. More often than not we're reciting our lines or those of someone we listen to often. We comply with ideas instead of investigating them and seeking our own. We become involved in the conversation before we investigate what the conversation is about.

This year, commit to thinking through things that matter to you. Decide that you will be well-versed in those things and you'll stay out of those that don't matter to you. Things happen and are reported far too quickly to be an instant expert on everything. Think before you speak, but speak once you've thought.

To be truly free, one must think like a free person. Free people resist bad habits. Free people "get to" do things and limit those things they "have to" do. And free people rarely comply unless they have thought through things first and make a conscious choice to comply.

Free people are open to new ideas, especially those of their own thinking.

9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People - How Got It Wrong!

9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People, an article recently published on, attempts to identify what it takes to be a successful person through identifying the common beliefs held by successful people. For all its well-intentioned information, the article is fundamentally flawed.

9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People should be titled 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful Assets. Somewhere, somehow, people have been reduced to workers exclusively. Their value is measured in productivity, value for time invested, and revenue generated. And while all this is true, this alone does not make for successful and valuable people. It merely makes for successful and valuable assets to organizations, communities, families, and governments.

People have intrinsic value. You cannot make one more valuable than the other. Once you do, you change the dynamic of people to assets. People can do immeasurably more than mere assets.

People are successful when they contribute to society to be certain, however one cannot truly be successful as a person until they have success in five areas of life:

Personal: Are you living a life that is pleasing to you? Are you living out your purpose? Have you reached a point in life where you realize that what you do matters and that you live in accordance with principles that are to your liking? Do you have rich, mutually rewarding relationships with others that bring joy to your life? Do you have a positive impact on society by giving of yourself through service?

Financial: Like it or not, money matters. Financially, are you living a life that is pleasing to you and financially positive for those around you? Are you financially independent and if not have you set in motion those things that will provide financial independence? Do you give to others financial gifts or tithes? Are you living within your means or are you financed to the hilt? Of course there are things you’d like to possess and experiences you’d like to have that are out of your financial ability, are you at peace with that?

Achievements: Everyone has a desire to achieve, to strive for something they deem worthy. Are you happy with those things you’ve achieved in your life? Have you achieved success in your family life? Are you an exceptional leader? Are you a tireless volunteer? Did you graduate from school and if not, did you overcome this hurdle? Have you experienced remarkable difficulty and persevered?

Health: One cannot be truly successful as a person unless they are healthy enough to engage in life. Are you physically fit or barely rolling out of bed in the morning? If you have a handicap, have you found a way to overcome it or live at peace with it? Health is as much physical as it is mental. Are you mentally tough enough to overcome a health obstacle?

Spiritual: Call it nature or call it God, to deny we have a spiritual existence is fool-hearty. Have you come to the realization that you are a part of something much bigger than yourself? Have you found that spiritual connection that gives you comfort in knowing that, while we have freewill, someone or something is beyond our existence? I believe in God. What do you believe in?

The questions above and others you will undoubtedly uncover in each of the five categories are just the beginning of the journey. And that’s exactly how it should be. Each person must decide where he or she is going before setting a course to successfully arrive at the destination. Decide who you believe you should be and ask the questions necessary to arrive at the destination of your life’s choosing. Be purposeful.

Earl Nightingale said, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” To be successful as a person you must decide what you want in each area of your life and make your life the pursuit of purpose.

For the record, there are 3 Beliefs of Successful People. They believe in a higher power. They believe they are a part of something bigger than themselves. And successful people believe and understand that what they do matters, even if they choose to do nothing. These beliefs are the beliefs of successful people because they ultimately determine all actions of their lives.