Thrown Off by a Punch

Usually sometime in the month of January, I take out a notepad and make a list of long term and short term goals followed by another list of things that I was going to do everyday — New Year’s resolutions.  Whether it’s working out, blogging more, or trying to get home earlier, the idea is to be consistent and develop good habits as I start the year.  I like to think that I mean well in doing this, but over halfway through the year now, I’m somewhat frustrated at the fact that some of these resolutions have been neglected.  And this isn’t the first time this has happened.  Somewhere along the way, I get thrown off, distracted, and then discouraged.  I’m on track, but then something comes up, an event happens, routine is thrown off, and boom — I get stuck–I disengage from the moment where I am supposed to show resolve and redirect my energy looking backwards at my own inability to carry out that particular resolution — and there lies the problem.

I’m convinced that New Years resolutions fade away not because we lose ability to for doing the task, but because we’re mad that we didn’t get something done in a moment — perhaps we’re mad that we’re not perfect.  Maybe we forget about what resolution even means — look at the definition…


Resolution is about being determined — MOVING towards a realized goal.  I don’t think I give up on resolutions because I can no longer get it done — but because I spend too much time dwelling on the fact that I didn’t get it done in a particular moment / day — or I stop for too long because of a setback: a roadblock, a bad conversation, a tough day, a double bogey, a missed opportunity, inconvenience.  Of course these things are not unique to anyone’s life, but they can really throw us off can’t they?  Why is this?  Because in January my resolutions probably don't take into account the fact that everyday is different, I can’t perfectly plan life, I’m not in control, and that we say roll with the punches because punches are inevitably coming our way.

Mike Tyson

One of the great philosophers of our time — Mike Tyson — once said that “everyone has a game plan until you get punched in the face.”   Maybe you’re a coach and everything was working until you lost the game you shouldn’t have lost.  In the process, perspective is lost and your team dynamics suddenly change because your plan didn’t go as you wrote it..  Consequently, you and your team get stuck in what was supposed to be over after the game — your players watch you abandon your original plan, continuity is gone, and now, you just lost Friday’s game because of what happened on Tuesdayand the lack of forward thinking on Wednesday and Thursday in practice — resolve is nowhere to be seen.   Maybe your team gets stuck in failure or maybe they get stuck in their own success.  That’s probably why Babe Ruth said, “Yesterday’s homeruns don’t win today’s games.”

I think your best shot for keeping your New Year solution is just to STAY IN THE PRESENT — don’t get caught up in what was or the thought of what will be.  I seriously hope you are doubting my credibility with my last sentence because while staying in the present sounds good /achievable in Golf Digest, in your self help book, or in your Yoga class, this blog will never be a recipe for finding yourself through yourself.  Nobody stays in the present perfectly because they tell themselves to.  You might perceive someone to be calm and collected about everything, but their inner insecurity would tell you otherwise.  We all have things that cause us to stop moving forward–we’ve all received punches that test both our endurance and our resolve.

Growing up, my mom always reminded me that God’s grace was sufficient for each day — like staying in the present, this sounds good, but that Grace is the only place where I have truly found rest — a place where I don’t have to prove — a place that can cure my getting stuck in my own successes and failures.  As for the resolutions — thankfully, the apostle Paul didn’t say “be transformed by a New Year’s Resolution — he said “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) — not in ourselves — not in our trophies — not in our shortcomings, but in Grace that says true resolution has already been realized.

And he said, Press on — or keep going, but not in your own strength.