I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, mainly because they tend to be just that—New Year’s resolutions. An event. A short period of time, like the New Year’s holiday. Once the resolution period is over, which for New Year’s tends to be around January 31, so is our commitment to our new resolutions.
Bottom line, a resolution is a determination to change, fix, or accomplish something. So why do we so often fail? I believe it’s because we resolve to possessing the end result (e.g., be twenty pounds lighter, have ripped abs, be on The New York Times bestseller list) rather than committing to what it will take to achieve it. Once we embark on the journey toward our dream, we find “getting there” will take a whole lot longer and require much more work and sacrifice than we thought and is fraught with unknowns and potential perils we never imagined. As we allow fear (or boredom, impatience, laziness, discouragement, etc.) to chip away at our resolve, our dreams lie buried in the rubble. Instead, we gain ten more pounds, our abs become flabbier, or our unfinished novel molders at the bottom of our desk drawer. Then next New Year’s we make the same resolutions all over again. With the same end result: nada.
I love the adage, “It’s about the journey, not the destination,” but I only agree with it in part. We need to keep our eye on the prize to remind us what our heart longs for, to motivate us when we feel we can’t take another step or type another word, and to encourage us to not give up when all we see for our best efforts is an ocean of blood, sweat, and tears or a mountain of rejection letters. But that can’t be all we focus on, for the purpose of the journey is who we become and the lessons we learn on our way to “getting there.”
So if you’re a goal-oriented control freak like me who likes to foresee and plan for every possible occurrence, whose “getting there” muscles are way overdeveloped, here’s my writing challenge to you for 2014 (notice I didn’t say “resolution”): Plant your fanny in the chair, place those fingers on the keyboard, and allow the journey to take you where you need to go, in the way you need to get there, and in the time it takes to get there. Take it from Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old marvel who swam 100 miles from Cuba to Florida: “getting there” will be all the sweeter for it.