By Tim Hayes

So after a three-month hiatus, I resumed private boxing lessons last week – this time with a new trainer, since my old one had moved away – and quickly discovered how different this guy’s approach would be.

“Okay, on your belly,” he commanded.  “Now, push up on your hands, keep your arms straight and your head up, and bend from the waist.  This is called ‘The Cobra.’”

“Cobra,” my ass.  “Back-breaker,” maybe.  “Nuts-cruncher” or “Shoulder-killer” would work, too.

This fellow told me to roll on my back, then sit spread-eagled, then point my toes places they’d never ventured to before, among other bone-snapping surprises.  I paid for a 60-minute workout, and was ready to take a nap after the first five minutes.  I hadn’t even put the boxing gloves on yet!

I mean, there’s rusty, then there’s complete and total corrosion.  Ouch.

“Do you stretch much at home, Tim?” he asked with a side-eyed smile, knowing full well the answer, the smart aleck.

“A little,” I lied, completely unconvincingly, I’m sure.

“Well, try to stretch every day.  It will really help you.”

And, boom.  There it was.  Something I could hold onto, even as my grip on previously assumed baseline boxing ability started slipping like a greased ball-bearing.

“Try to stretch every day.”  My new trainer, of course, meant that in a physical sense, and I’m working on it.  But this time of year, that suggestion may take on a more emotional, motivational, aspirational connotation.

The TV floods with weight-loss meal plans, online support programs, and exercise equipment pitches.  Marie Osmond hawking her amazing Nutri-system cult has become as ubiquitous as ads for old “Carol Burnett” reruns.  (How many “lost” episodes could there be, anyway?  Wasn’t somebody in charge of keeping track of those shows?)

Yo, Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley, get off that crazy contraption before you sling yourself into next week, and go eat a cookie, for God’s sake.  And, hey, Oprah?  We’re sick of hearing about your cauliflower-crust pizza.  We get it, all right?

Those options roll back around every January (except the Carol Burnett stuff, which never, ever goes away) because people want to believe they’ll kick off a new year and make life-altering changes all at once.

I guarantee those ads will disappear by mid-February, though, because that’s when people admit that they can’t keep up such life-altering changes because they don’t really want to alter their lives that much, after all.

“Try to stretch every day,” then, makes a lot more sense.

For me, I’d like for that concept to include more reading, working with more partners on exciting projects, expanding on a business chock full of rewarding work with enjoyable clients, actively learning more about my craft from respected knowledge leaders, traveling more to be with my beautiful family, and finding new ways to bring greater blessings to as many people as possible.

It can’t happen all at once.  But it can happen, bit by bit, as the muscles of knowledge, faith, kindness, hard work, and collaboration get extended and strengthened.

In other words, when we try to stretch every day.  My new trainer’s right, the wiseguy.  It really can help.

Happy New Year!

Copyright 2019 Timothy P. Hayes