If Your Resolutions Don’t Stick, Try This


Mark Twain said, “Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving Hell with them as usual.” Twain was, of course, referring to another well-known saying, ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions’.

I always had good intentions when it came to making New Year’s resolutions, but as Twain indicates, it took no time at all for me to abandon them. With that thought in mind, a few years ago, I stopped making the annual list of good intentions. If I couldn’t do it at any other time of the year, putting a fresh calendar on my wall wasn’t going to give enough incentive to do it now.

A couple of years ago I noticed a new trend toward resolutions when a fellow blogger wrote a post about his word for the year. Then, last year another blogger wrote about her word for the year. Consequently, I began noticing more buzz about choosing a word to give the new year a personal theme. Perhaps it works. Maybe because a word/theme is more general than specific resolutions. I don’t know because I haven’t seen any follow-up articles extolling the virtues of choosing a theme.

That said, I’m adopting this recent trend for 2017 just for fun. Who knows? Maybe it will become my yearly custom. I’ll let you know how it went for me when 2018 appears on the horizon. Now, for the word I am choosing…ta da — Creativity.

Reading these pages you already know I am a proponent of creativity as a means to maintain brain health as we age. And, this is not just my theory. It is backed up by scads of research dating back decades. A creative mind is an open, flexible mind. Remember my mantra, ‘change is the only thing you can count on in life’. If, instead of dwelling on the past, including your glory days, you are open to change and new experiences, you stack the odds in your favor for aging well.

Creativity comes in all shapes and forms. It is not just arts and crafts, although that is certainly a great way to engage your mind in new activities. When I’m planning my garden for the spring crops or deciding what to do with extra plants, I’m being creative. If you belong to a chess or mahjong club, you are engaging in analysis, options, making decisions. You are being creative. When you review your budget, analyze your portfolio, figure out your next financial move, you are being creative. When you volunteer for an organization and are faced with dilemmas, your solutions are a form of creativity.

We are all creative. How we express our creativity is up to us. The key is attitude. One of an open, flexible mind. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t — you’re right.” If you think you are not creative, you won’t be creative. If you think retirement has nothing to offer, you will come up empty. On the other hand, if you think of yourself as creative, innovation, opportunities and new experiences will abound.

My big, fat word is CREATIVITY in all aspects. During 2017 I intend to continue cultivating an openness to new experiences. And, perhaps that is, after all, a New Year’s resolution.

Wishing all my readers a happy, healthy, creative New Year!



22 comments on “If Your Resolutions Don’t Stick, Try This

  1. Living, learning, laughing….keeping close those you love ….and stuff you love to do…and just do it! Adelante!


  2. Hi Kathy,
    Your 2017 word is a great one! Creativity means putting things together in a new way. In the coming year, we will all need that skill, as we navigate the uncharted waters of our incoming government officials. I wish everyone as good a new year as possible, under the circumstances.



  3. Kathy, just finishing my post on last year’s word…which was joy. And another post on this year’s word …and how I picked it. It worked for me last year…so hoping it will again! I like your word of the year as well. Wishing you a year of creativity!


  4. Thanks for this thoughtul post. I too am seeking to live more creatively in the new year and I look forward to browsing through your blog as it has many categories which look like great resources. Cheers and Happy New Year!


  5. I, too, like the one word or themed approach to the New Year. Creativity is something I’ve never really understood. Maybe as I follow you along I might learn something 🙂 I’m going with something like Presence.


  6. I heard this idea last year while listening to a radio program in the car, and the word ‘fearless’ popped into my mind. I had just retired and it seemed perfect…stepping out in faith, putting behind the “what if’s” and the “shouldn’t’s”, taking some new chances, etc. I told a dear friend about it, and a few days later a gift package was delivered with a green and white street sign that said “Fearless Rd”. It sits in my kitchen and is a daily reminder to follow where God leads me and not worry about the outcome. I’m keeping it again for this year and, because of the turmoil of 2016, also am focusing on trying to just be a positive “light” in the darkness…which kind of works with ‘fearless” :). Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the eye-opening post, Kathy! As my wife and I look forward to retiring this May, I will heed your wise advice and not look back. So my word for the year shall be “new”, because I want our retirement to open new trails, not just using the time to continue along the same path.


  8. Hi Kathy, Love this post. David and I called 2016 “The year of Limbo” because so many things were up in the air and out of our control. We have named 2017 ” The Year of Foundations.” We will be building my health, building a new house here in SC, building new relationships as we join a new church and I join a new DAR chapter, building new skills as we take a beekeeping certification class and get goats and cows for the first time.

    Love , Renee

    On Jan 1, 2017 8:22 AM, “Kathy’s Retirement Blog” wrote:

    > Kathy Merlino posted: ” Mark Twain said, “Now is the accepted time to > make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving > Hell with them as usual.” Twain was, of course, referring to another > well-known saying, ‘The road to Hell is paved with good ” >


    • Renee, I continue to think of you and pray for your recovery. I like the idea of building foundations and you have quite a few of them. Very exciting! I wish you recovery and wellness for 2017. Love, K


  9. I don’t make resolutions each year and I NEVER keep them. I plan small goals though out the year, like exercise to get rid of your pain, work on family ancestry, etc. Broken into smaller parts, It is easier. Try one about every three months.


  10. Kathy, one of my favorite words. My creative moments are in the kitchen, making left-overs look and taste like something new. Can’t wait to meet you in February!


  11. Hello Kathy,

    I do so much appreciate your thoughtful posts as I am still a beginner in the retirement lifestyle. My word for the year last year was “Triumph” and triumph I did, with God’s help, over health issues, relationship issues, financial concerns, and new adventures. The word “triumph” just kept pulling me forward with hope.

    This year’s word is “Radiant” and I can’t wait to see what will happen. New illumination, new dawnings, new influence for good, new mastery, new joys . . . who can say? But I look forward to this new lens through which to observe and participate in life’s experiences.

    All the best in 2017 to you and your family.

    Honey Bee


  12. Pingback: Charli Shares: Nuggets for the New Year « The Golden Age of Charli

  13. Hello Kathy,

    I really like this idea and your word for the year. Maybe I could have 2 words “Creative Organization”. New ways to organize my life. Thanks!


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