My Tennis Resolutions

There are two types of people. Those who like New Year’s resolutions and those who don’t.

I’m firmly in the camp of resolvers. I love envisioning a new and improved version of me, one in which I’m flossing religiously and filing all my paperwork away and running 10Ks and drinking juiced kale for breakfast. That me is friggin’ awesome.

About a decade ago, in the days leading up to New Year’s, I made twenty-six resolutions. I had to write them down just to remember them all. I had all the bases covered—weight loss, housework, writing, exercise, learning a new language. I drew up a giant chart with colored markers and stocked up on shiny gold stars. It was all so exciting and promising…

…until January 1st came and I had to execute this monstrous self-improvement plan. I spent all my waking hours trying to keep on top of my chart, constantly checking to see which tasks were still uncompleted and feeling inadequate every single minute of the day. It was exhausting and dispiriting, and the chart was in the trash by the end of the week.

The key, of course, is to shoot for small changes—and not too many of them. Every year my resolutions shrink in size and number. Two years ago, I resolved to never leave a hair appointment without setting up the next one. Not exactly inspiring, is it? Nevertheless, that small change has stuck and has made my life marginally more manageable. That’s probably all we can reasonably expect from a resolution.

By now I feel like I’ve mastered this resolution business, which is why I was surprised to see that I didn’t make any tennis-related resolutions on this blog this time last year. How can that be? It surely isn’t because I have nothing to improve. I could have resolved to poach more, or learn a drop shot, or play more singles. I could have resolved to upgrade my tennis wardrobe. (Yes, you can steal that last resolution, if you want.)

This year, setting a tennis resolution is trickier since my shoulder is still frozen and I don’t know when I’ll be able to play again. But after a little reflection, I’ve come up with these three:

Resolution 1. Do my physical therapy twice a day, every day. Is it cheating if I’m already doing this? I don’t care. I’m including it anyway.

Resolution 2. Write a blog post at least three times a month. That’s a pretty low bar. Remember when I was churning out three posts a week? I must have been on crack.

Resolution 3. Be kind to myself when I play. When I get back on the court, I’m going to suck—and when I suck, I get negative. But what I’ve learned over the past couple of months is that sucking on the court still beats not sucking on the sidelines. Going forward, I resolve to just be grateful that I’m playing and enjoy.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Do you have any resolutions, tennis-themed or otherwise? What do you hope to achieve in 2020?

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