Why Be Resolute When You Can Walk the Creative Path?

by Nina Meehan

It’s the New Year, time for the annual game known as “New Year’s Resolutions.” The game goes like this. On December 31st, you make all these promises to yourself and plans. And for the first few days of January, you are, in fact, resolute–purposeful, determined, and unwavering–in those plans and promises. But, by January 10th-ish, real life has started up again and with it, the twists and turns of the unexpected have arrived. Can your resolutions ride those waves? Can they sustain the inevitable surprises of day to day existence?

For most of us, the answer is NO. Research suggests that only 9% of people actually keep their New Year’s Resolutions. Which explains why the gyms across the country are packed on January 3rd and empty by January 22nd.

This year, why not commit to something that is sustainable? The Creative Path is a way of walking through the world, where we allow for the discovery to be part of the journey to the destination. When you begin a creative process, you have a general sense of the outcome that you want, but the nature of a creative endeavor is that you can’t know the exact end point. So, the creative path keeps you heading in approximately the right direction, but if the path zigs when you thought it would zag, you can accept that shift as part of the journey. 

What does this look like in real life? Let’s use the most typical new year’s resolution, losing weight. A resolution might look like this: “I will lose 20lbs in 2024.” Statistically, you are not likely to actually make this goal. But, the creative path looks more like this, “I am exploring getting my body healthier this year through daily physical exercise that is enjoyable and fueling myself with food that makes me feel good.” With this approach, there is a much higher chance that you will follow this plan because you know what your daily work is, you know the outcome that you are aiming towards, but it also allows for the flexibility that will be needed for long term commitment. 

So, as you look at your resolutions this year, maybe let go of the resolute and invite in flexibility and openness. The creative path can lead to positive outcomes and allow for the bumpy times, as well.