Many see New Years as a reset button. The start of every year is an excuse to shed the past and start anew. This belief is so prevalent that people make resolutions committing themselves to their goals. Losing weight, writing books, finishing college, getting better jobs, and setting goals for better dreams.
My parents always taught me that, no matter what, you have to try. Trying isn’t easy, it’s not comfortable. You have to want something enough to step outside your personal comfort bubble. You have to come to terms that you will fail. Your body may not be able to handle an Iron Man triathlon no matter how much you train. You may ask the cute girl (or boy) to hang out only to be told no over and over again. You may write something, sculpt something, compose something, or paint something so awful that burning it still won’t remove that mess from your memory. But if you don’t try, will it ever happen?
I believe in trying. I’ve been called short, slow, chubby, old and balding (jerks), and lots of other things. But in spite of labels, guess what has happened? I ran two marathons. I’ve climbed 3 mountains over 14,000 feet tall. I’ve written a novel, almost two! I’ve been married for 20 years! I have two amazing kids who try, and succeed. I have some of the most incredible and loyal friends in the world. How? Because I tried.
I’ve never been a fast runner, but I always keep going. I’m far from the healthiest guy in the world, but I set a goal and climbed those mountains. I can tell a good story, but my writing is atrocious and takes a team of people, and I call on them all the time. My marriage can be a roller coaster but I don’t give up. I’ve known my oldest friend for 34 years, and we still talk every week. My youngest friend is 23, and I look forward to that day when we’ve known each other 34 years and can say the same thing about her (I’ll be 75, yikes!) Why? Because I tried. I put effort into everything important to me.
I get asked all the time, how did I write a novel? Nobody wants to hear the simple truth that I sat down and just wrote it. Sure, I had to outline, and rewrite, and take breaks, and re-commit myself to finishing what I set out to do over and over again. I had to take time away from my life, my family, my friends, my other goals. Everything you choose to do requires sacrifice. But I did it, and in the end I wrote something that people have been kind enough to read – some of them even like it.
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions because I live my dreams. Not the lottery dreams of fake fortune and temporary flash. I’m talking about those goals that become a part of your life. As my High School Marching Band director used to say, “Ask the cute girl to the dance.” Make new friends by asking. Set almost-realistic goals and live them. Lose that weight and enjoy being healthy. Climb that mountain. Write that book. Fail, a lot. We learn by failing. Find a way to buy your house. Earn that million dollars if that’s what makes you feel successful. It’s all possible, but only if you try!
I believe in trying, because if you don’t try, it will never happen.