Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Xavier Scruggs - Look Back Before Looking Ahead

On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, we talk about the changes we want to make and the things we want to do better in our lives. We make these resolutions that most of us don’t stick to, or don’t even end up remembering for that matter. People even create “dream boards” for the next year to come and design/organize things they want to accomplish.

Planning and goal setting are good, but I believe there is a disconnect between setting these future aspirations in place and the ability to complete and stay committed to these desires.

The disconnect comes from our inability to appreciate the aspirations we had in the year prior. Oftentimes, I think we can see our growth throughout a year. But more specifically, I think we must identify the exact moments we discovered self-growth.

A span of 365 days is obviously enough time to grow into a different, more mature and knowledgeable person. However, there are always particular days that leave a lasting impression on our lives. Can you identify those days in 2018? If so, how did those days change you?

See, before we can even look forward and expect growth out of ourselves, we have to look at the exact things that promoted this opportunity for growth in the year prior. When you reminisce and look back on a specific day, you start to recognize precise events and feelings that shaped the person you have evolved into. Think about how those exact feelings affected your thoughts and mindset at the time. Think about the fear, the doubt, the love, the hate, the happiness, the excitement and all the other little emotions that ran through your body at the time.

I tell you to pinpoint those moments and feelings because no matter the situation, you got through it. No matter the emotions that took over your body, you got through it. There are always highs and lows, but looking back allows our mind to rewind and remind ourselves how we dealt with a certain situation or emotion.

My question is: How can we use this to better prepare ourselves when a similar situation or when similar emotions pop up in our lives in 2019? If we don’t appreciate even the toughest days of the year, then we don’t really learn or experience how progression in our lives is obtainable. Every moment in our life is a chance to learn more about ourselves. More specifically, how we personally deal with or react to specific situations on a day-to-day basis.

I don’t think wins and loses are defined by little moments in our lives. Life is a true marathon and it is an enduring process. We can’t be so tunnel-vision oriented that we don’t look back and celebrate the things that promoted progression for us. So before you make plans to be a better person in 2019, look back and see how you were able to do that in 2018.

— Xavier Scruggs, professional baseball player

The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit for more stories and videos.