Why Resolutions Are So Last Year
I’ve been thinking about the word “resolution.” Re-solution. Like a stale, recycled idea for fixing something. A recurring answer to a problem that never goes away, despite years of declaration and repetition. Lose weight. Exercise more. Watch less TV. Make more money. If we all kept our resolutions, there’d be a lot of very skinny rich people putting the television industry out of business. But we don’t. And part of the problem is that we keep making resolutions to solve problems. We re-problem-ate. In the beginning of 2015, I was exhausted and fed up. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, I didn’t make any resolutions, but decided to create an overarching theme for the year. Something that would focus me and hopefully reap results by virtue of the attention I gave it, even though I had no idea how to do that with no plan in sight. I turned 2015 into The Year of Health.
I’d been dealing with health issues for several years already, but always in a please-find-a-way-to-fix-it kind of way. Having trued myself up to the theme of Health for an entire year, I can now report that I have produced far better results than I’ve experienced in any of the past 6 years of healthy goal-setting. In fact, if I’d had an exact plan to address my issues, I wouldn’t have made the discoveries I did, which led me down several new paths that have merged together in an effective but completely unpredictable way. But it wasn’t just the lack of a pre-determined plan that worked. I see now that rather than adding health into my life like a visiting outsider, I have moved my entire life inside the context of Health. This also turned out to be way more fun, because who wouldn’t rather explore than strive? And so, I’m doing it again.
For the past 6 years, I have been concerned by my lack of output as a creative person. When I worked in lifestyle television, I produced and directed over 1000 stories. It was rewarding but never entirely satisfying. It was my job to crank out a certain number of stories, but they weren’t my stories, my style, my expression. Since I left the full-time work world, I have made only 2 short films and 1 live solo show. I have also been hampered by the aforementioned health issues. This was occurring like a very big problem. With all this time away from my career, how will I ever make my living as an actor? Who will want my next film? How will I turn my blog into a book? But I recently finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s deliciously enlightening new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, and it all clicked in. None of those goals really matter. Because in the end, my life is an experience and not an outcome.
Whether or not I’m trying to get somewhere, I never end up where I think, but I always end up where I wasn’t. It is in the unexpected that wonderment and magic live. Where curiosity takes me, and where even astonishment and awe can sometimes be found. In 2016, I am moving further away from the controlling nature of perfectionism in order to explore the vast unknown of creativity. During all those years when I made New Year’s resolutions, the satisfaction only came (if it came) at the end, when the goal was attained. But the vast majority of resolutions go unfulfilled, creating a smog of discontent in the atmosphere. A thick haziness that we cautiously navigate, choking the source of our energy, and blurring our vision of our selves and each other.
In 2016, I am venturing into the new year unencumbered by goals or resolutions. I am no longer interested in fixing myself or my life, but am focused on the experiences I want. I know I will produce something, but my attention is on the adventure of it, rather than the result. My life will continue to unfold and expand inside my commitment to health, and as I grow in strength and energy, I’m ready to take on a partner. To build a relationship that will sharpen my focus and expand my creativity. As of January 1st, I declare 2016 The Year of the Muse. I am eschewing strategies and plans and I am dedicating myself to nurturing a lifetime relationship with that ethereal and ephemeral spirit. Instead of trying to control an outcome, I am surrendering to the source. I feel that quiet excitement when one knows their aim is true. In the words of the Dillon Panthers on the late, great TV show Friday Night Lights, “Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.”