Andrew Schnell

Pan Am Games Gold Medalist, 2X Canadian Champ, Current Canadian #1, MSc Kinesiology, #fasterhigherstronger

An Athlete's Perspective: New Year's Resolutions

The greatest problem in the world today is a new years resolution. No, I’m not talking about the morning hassle of going to the gym, and no, I’m not saying our biggest trouble is the temptation of McDonald’s French fries when we’re trying to eat healthy. Our problem is not a matter of swearing too much or spending too little time with our kids, and it’s not the overuse of plastic bottles or the underuse of vitamin D. No, our problem is different. It’s bigger. It’s everywhere, and it applies to everything. Our problem is that, although we may recognize, admit, and discuss all of the previously mentioned issues (as well as many other, deeper concerns), we seldom do anything to change them. We might spend a couple of days thinking of them, and maybe we’ll even donate a bit of money to their cause, but very rarely do we make lasting changes to our own or others’ lives that bring about positive and enduring outcomes. The greatest problem in the world today is a new years resolution.

I’ve spent a lot of time staring at the blinking type icon on my computer screen wondering where to go from the above paragraph. With an issue so far-reaching, the potentials seem endless! Rising temperatures and the climate change issue? Too broad. The real reason behind voting for Donald Trump or Brexit? Too…Political. How about I’ll just start with myself. I probably know that topic best.

Did you know that sometimes I don’t brush my teeth in the morning? Or that I am very VERY obsessive compulsive? Did you know that I will quite often eat donuts from Timmies, and that I’m actually pretty moody when it comes down to it? Did you know that I’m selfish? Did you know that sometimes…sometimes I avoid going to visit that friend who’s in hospital? Did you know that I have had many opportunities to volunteer overseas but have turned them all down because I’d rather play squash? Did you know that I often skip making my bed? Or that I buy too many clothes? Or that I am wasteful? The list goes on…

The point I am trying to make is that yes, I am an athlete, and yes, I have won a few tournaments, but I could do more. I could give that person some change. Or perhaps I could change a life. Maybe my life.

I could change.

See here’s what I figure. If I commit all of the acts listed above – if I fail to brush my teeth and am OCD as well as selfish and if I buy too much stuff – if I am so…human, then maybe you are too. And maybe together, in all of our humanness, we can offer encouragement and motivation to actually make some meaningful changes in the world. You see, the first step to solving a problem is recognizing there is one, and I don’t know of many individuals who have ever actually kept a new years resolution without the support of others. So why don’t we give it a shot?

And don’t get me wrong, I’ll fail. But I’m used to it. I’m an athlete.

We’ll fail. But we’re used to it. We’re human. Let’s just be sure to fail better next time.

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