Even mice have plans according to John Steinbeck—best-laid as those of humans. But the implication of that famous quote and the spirit in which it is rendered today (with a sigh) is that even those plans often go awry. Up in smoke or down the drain. When it comes to plans, nothing is assured.

Yet plans are good, yes? They get us humming and beginning and moving. They instill confidence. But here’s what we forget: plans are an estimate of a process we cannot know. Sometimes the two are so akin as to be twins. More often, they look like step sisters. Sometimes they bear no more resemblance than the farmer’s daughter and her city cuz-in-law.  But when it comes to visions—grand or small—everything intensifies. Visions dependent on outer plans for manifestation usually wither in the noonday sun of life’s scorching reality. Plans alone can’t hold a vision. But visions dependent on an inward pulse can morph, change and sometimes hibernate without ever losing ground. They can make use of plans, but rise above them.

So what does this have to do with New Year visions of losing weight or gaining a degree, couching less or traveling more? Just this: Why waste our time and breath when there’s no pulse to our intent? When the proclaimed goal can be responsibly resuscitated, but doesn’t breathe on its own? It’s the pulse of something that awakens us, stirs and apprehends us. It’s the pulse that takes us to new places.

So choose what pulses you! You need to lose weight (still) but watercolor classes pulse. You're tired of your book club and learning social networking  pulses. It’s not like you have to choose one over the other exactly, but I propose that when you choose the living thing, you will wake up to places in yourself you didn’t know were sleeping. You will be led, as if by a treasure map, from one enlivening person, place or thing to another.

Follow the pulse. When you must, choose wonder over will and vibration over sheer determination because underneath, the real plan, just like Carl said, is to wake up.

Read Maridel’s “Just Say No to Resolutions” article.

Together on the Evolving Journey,