lotteryNew Year’s Resolutions are sort of like returning a Red Box rental. Everyone has good intentions, but few follow through. Even when I set goals & write them down like you’re supposed to, I don’t achieve them half the time. Here’s why…

There are three kinds of goal setters:

1) PEOPLE WHO WIN THE LOTTERY. These are the folks who catch a lucky break. I don’t mean they win the actual lottery. I’m talking about people who acquire a family business or an inheritance. I’m talking about bands that get signed to major labels for their first album, or authors who write a best-seller on their first try. I think it’s elusive how rare these situations actually are. We hear about people like this in the media with stars in our eyes. But how many people do you know who have actually caught this sort of break?

2) PEOPLE WHO ARE WAITING TO WIN THE LOTTERY. Even though these folks are “waiting,” they are actually quite busy. It goes like this: They get really pumped about an idea. Maybe it’s a new diet, or a new project, or a new way to make loads of money. And they spend maybe a week, or a month, or even six months totally psyched about that new idea. And after some short period of time, the newness wears off, and the idea doesn’t work as quickly as it should, and the winning lottery ticket never comes. After a short period of disillusionment, the cycle repeats. More lottery tickets.

3) PEOPLE WHO DON’T BUY LOTTERY TICKETS. These are people who believe that there are no get-rich, get-healthy, or get-famous schemes that are worth it in the long run. These people look at life as a marathon, not a sprint. They take tiny little steps all the way to the point of achieving their huge goals, and then they keep going. The goal was never the point, after all. The goal was only made, and the hard work applied, because they are passionate about something. They build endurance and discipline not because they want to, but because they know the only other option is sitting around and waiting to win the lottery.

Here’s another point worth noting: People tend to look at hard workers like they won the lottery. We look at a doctor and think he has a charmed life, but really it took him 8+ years of school to get where he is. We look at married couples with beautiful children and think they’ve struck the American Dream, without recognizing the tough work and sleepless nights that go into a healthy family. We look at a band like the Avett Brothers playing on the Grammys with Bob Dylan and think, “those guys hit the jackpot!” But few people realize that the Avett’s toured in crappy vans for about 10 years while they slowly built a huge fan base.

The lottery is only worth millions because so many people are buying tickets, waiting to win. Setting goals only works if you’re willing to be disciplined. And discipline sucks. But the way I see it, there’s no way around it, unless you’re willing to cheat, steal, or lie. Before 2013 hits and we all start on our resolutions, we probably ought to decide which camp we want to be in. Are we going to work hard?

Or are we just waiting to win the lottery?

Which category do you fall into? Feel free to share goals, successes, and failures in the comments.

Comments (6)
  1. Greg Watts December 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Nick…you got me hook line and sinker with your conclusion of DISCIPLINE!!! Regardless of which “category” one is in (or possibly a combination of all three), I have found (and not always followed) is that I control MY Discipline. I respect others with their goals or their ability (or inability) to have discipline in their life; but, the bottom line: I am responsible for my own discipline and I do so by always trying to communicate with God (through prayer, meditation, or enjoying what is around me at the time) and focusing on my strengths and working on my weaknesses! It took me 53 years to finally recognized that I must focus on myself (which includes accepting who I am and how my work–or life–benefits me before I can benefit others most important in my life). One truly must be able to forgive and love oneself before he or she can truly forgive and love others. In essence, use God’s grace of hope and healing to help yourself shed any negative thoughts that would hinder your own “light” (gifts that God has provided you) to shine! I have found that my faith in God is a wonderful gift and since he is willing to love and forgive me for my wrongdoings and for my strengths then I can share his good grace with others! So don’t “dwell” on your failures; rather, embrace them through God’s grace as a way to improve your life. Simply stated, accept it and “MOVE ON.” I truly pray for all to have a wonderful new year and to consider this time a new beginning for the past is over but what great hope we all have for the future!!!! Embrace it :-)!!!

    • nickmorrowmusic December 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      I agree Greg. There is a lot to be said for accepting ourselves and the situations that surround us…it seems like a lot of people who wait to “win the lottery” let life happen to them, so to speak.

  2. Josh Burnett December 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Love the blog, love the idea! Hope leading worship went well yesterday. To God be the glory

    • nickmorrowmusic December 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks Josh! Thanks for stirring my thoughts about this. We haven’t written out our goals for 2013 yet so I was thankful to be reminded by your blog. Only a few hours left…!

  3. Mike Morrow December 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Well said Nick. You are way ahead of the curve. It takes most people a lot more years to figure out that slow and steady discipline is the only sure path to success, no matter the arena.

    I am reminded of something I heard a while back from a wise person. It was in the arena of physical fitness but the principles are transferable. “One hour a day, 6 days a week adds up to just 1 day per month or 12 days per year. But that 12 day investment makes the other 353 days so much more fruitful and enjoyable.”

    Ultimately discipline is just “training.” Training to achieve what you could otherwise not. When you can get to the point of viewing discipline through the lens of what you want to achieve you can enjoy the discipline as much as the achievement.

    Thanks for your challenge and encouragement!

  4. nickmorrowmusic December 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Great quote! That reminds me of the recent time when you told me that you couldn’t accomplish nearly as much as you do unless you worked out as much as you do. Seems like most of the “achievers” I know or read work out a lot…maybe a good hint!

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