Wednesday, January 3, 2018

No New Year’s Resolutions for Me!

by Sarah (Sally) Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Good-bye, 2017! Hello, 2018!

Are you, like me, being inundated with left-brained people—well-intentioned people!—who want to help you set goals and get organized for the new year? Gosh, my email inbox, and even my post office box, is full of charts and calendars and great ideas for 2018.

I say bah, humbug! Oh, wait. That’s for Christmas, not New Year’s Day. Maybe Doesn’t Work for Me is better.

Because I actually find myself dreading the resolutions I’m told I should create. I know that if I buy one of those pretty calendar books, I’ll use it for a week or so, then it will gather dust on my bedside table until March. I’ll blow it off and start again, with purpose and intent. Which will last for another couple of weeks. 

I’m a great starter. Just not a good finisher. And, worse, I feel so guilty about it all that FAILURE seems to be permanently emblazoned across my forehead, like a neon sign.  

For some reason, I don’t think that’s what it all should be about.

So, this year I’m trying something different. Instead of a $40 beautiful book I’ll throw away next December with only twenty or so pages filled in, I’ve bought a $.99 cent spiral notebook. That’s $39.00 less guilt so far!

And, what I’m going to fill the book with is also something different. It’s not going to be full of grandiose plans I’ll never follow through on. You know, the write-20-pages-a-day plan. Or the lose-thirty-pounds plan. Or even the finish-the-book plan.

Instead, I’m filling it with choices.

We make choices every second. Right or left. Coffee or tea. Paper or plastic. Write or don’t write. And each of those choices leads us to another choice. Sometimes bad. Sometimes good. If we go to the grocery store and buy ice cream before we attend our child’s ball game, we may regret that choice when the ice cream melts all over the upholstery in the back seat. If our choice is to play Solitaire or surf the web or read social media instead of writing, we can miss a deadline and lose our chance of publication.

It’s all a choice. And we make choices for the wrong reasons sometimes. We may be bored or out of sorts or we may just be scared of failure. It ultimately doesn’t matter what the trigger is because, once we’ve made the choice, we start down a different road. One we really may not have wanted.

And, all the lists in the world won’t help us if we don’t make choices to use them.

Which is why I decided, instead of setting myself up for failure this year, I’m just going to try to make better choices.

Here are some examples:
  • Today, I choose joy.
  • I choose to allow myself to fail.
  • I choose to laugh, at a joke, at a funny movie, at myself.
  • I choose to love.
  • I choose to not be judgmental, about myself or others.
  • I choose to be passionate about what I do, what I want, where I go, how I write, who I’m with.
  • I choose to trust myself and my inner wisdom, ‘cause I’m pretty darned smart about myself – smarter than anyone else!
  • I choose to be fully, completely, joyfully, unabashedly human, with everything that entails.
  • I choose to worship.
  • I choose to like myself.
  • I choose to have faith in myself.
  • I choose to be beautiful inside.

Should I go on? Do you see the difference? None of these choices mean that I can’t make lists of important things to do. Of course I can! But lists are like symptoms of a disease. We make lists because we don’t trust ourselves to do the right thing. If, instead, we can find the amazing human inside of us, the one that isn’t perfect but still is magical, we can have the kind of year we want to have, to finish everything we need to do, and to enjoy every minute.

I wish you joy, success, and understanding in this new year. Remember, you deserve to be happy!

No #NewYearsResolutions for Me - an alternative from @SarahSallyHamer on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Instead of setting ourselves up for failure this year, let's try to make better choices - thoughts from @SarahSallyHamer (Click to Tweet)

Sarah (Sally) Hamer is a lover of books, a teacher of writers, and a believer in good stories. Most of all, she is eternally fascinated by people and how they 'tick'. She’s passionate about helping people tell their own stories, whether through fiction or through memoir. Writing in many genres - mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, medieval history, non-fiction – she has won awards at both local and national levels, including two Golden Heart finals.

A teacher of memoir, beginning and advanced creative fiction writing, and screenwriting at Louisiana State University in Shreveport for over twelve years, she also teaches online for Margie Lawson at Sally is a free-lance editor and book coach, with many of her students and clients becoming successful, award-winning authors. You can find her at or on Twitter @sarahsallyhamer.

I wish to express gratitude to the giants whose shoulders I stand on, from whom I learned the craft of writing. I would list every one, if it were only possible.


  1. Thank you Sally. I love this. I don't like resolutions either and don't make them. But I do like lists. The list of choices is a perfect way to feel accomplishment, set goals, and explore who I am inside.

    1. Thanks, Sheryl! I've printed the list and hung it somewhere I can read it every day.

      Best wishes for your choices in 2018!

  2. Wishing you a 2018 full of choices and blessings.

    1. And to you also, Ingmar! May your choices be wonderful!

  3. I think your choice to make choices is so life-giving, Sally! I am a One Word person, but I love the idea of being intentional about my choices this year. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hmm. I hadn't thought about making them all one word - and doubt that I can do it! - but it would work in exactly the same way.

      Thanks for your post!

  4. Sally, what great choices! I grinned at the choice to be fully, unabashedly human. :) I'm not a resolutions girl, either. For the past number of years, I've focused on one word and I find a lot of my choices and priorities come out of what God is teaching me about that one word. It's been impactful for my walk with the Lord. :)

  5. Good for you, Jeanne!

    I think God gives us choices, and both the understanding and responsibility to make them. So, in my fully, unabashedly human way, I stumble and fall on a regular basis, hopefully making better choices the next time.

    Thanks for the post!

  6. I love your post, Sally! And your list of choices. These are so much better than all those resolutions that never get kept and those journals that stack up and stare you down. Thanks for a refreshing approach to 2018. Blessings on your choices!