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According to ancient historians, the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions goes all the way back to the time when Janus, a mythical king of early Rome in 153 B. C., was placed at the head of the calendar.
Janus was seen as the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and sacred openings. It was told that Janus had two faces, so he could look back on past events and look forward to future happenings.
And that is exactly what we as golfers should do at this festive time of year. It’s a good opportunity to review our year of playing golf and decide what we would like to do differently. Of course, we can do that same thing with all the other important aspects of our life as well.
Since starting this column for the Bulletin some 15 years ago (and some 770 articles later), I have written several of my own golfing New Year’s resolutions. But I confess I don’t have a perfect score.
According to research, about 45 percent of Americans say they make resolutions, but only about eight percent say they are successful in achieving their goals. That may be due to the fact that so many resolutions involve quitting unwanted habits and plans to lose weight. But as for golf I’ll go ahead and share my personal New Year’s resolutions for the coming year.
First of all, while I’m praying this pandemic fades away with some urgency, and I feel sad that many families have suffered great losses, I intend to stay safe, while sticking with the current rules about masks, distancing and gatherings.
Next, as I truly hope that our gyms remain open for the coming year (and for good), I plan to elevate my workouts to increase strength, flexibility and endurance, which will result in longer drives, more birdies and lower scores. That’s the intention anyway. I would think our government recognizes the health and fitness benefits of regular and disciplined exercise along with grasping that contact at a gym is no closer than shoppers at Walmart.
I’m resolving, or better yet promising, to publish my weekly columns in an even more interesting and readable way in the coming year. I receive regular positive feedback from readers, especially when I go to the gym and the golf course, but also when I get emails. I am so thankful for all that. I plan to provide even more timely information that you couldn’t get in any other source, with plenty of humor, golf tips, advice, useful ideas and thoughtful opinions.
I intend to do my best to support the local fundraiser scramble tournaments in Las Cruces that benefit so many worthy causes. I recommend you do the same. Several of the events were cancelled this past year, but here’s hoping that will not be the case henceforth.
A lot of folks may make a wish to have more time to play more golf. Not me. I play enough golf. My resolution is to make my rounds count for more. That means better preparation, better warm-up, better focus, more birdie opportunities and better putting!
Now I’m going back to something I planned several years ago, which is reducing my own failures to do things I preach about the most. Things like permitting too many lapses in concentration.
Who knows what demon causes bizarre, extraneous thoughts to occupy one’s brain just as one stands over a three-wood shot that has no margin for error? Also, I need to visualize certain shots and every putt. Have you ever noticed that you do much better when you picture your expert shot and great putt beforehand?
Lastly, and you might want to write this down, too, I’m resolving to spend less emotional energy dwelling on mistakes made on the previous hole and mistakes made in the previous round. As they say, “Forget the blunder and remember the lesson.” Happy New Year.
Dr. Charlie Blanchard is a licensed psychologist specializing in sports and leadership. Contact him at email@example.com.