Instead Of A New Year’s Resolution, Make An Oath Instead

“I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions. I made an oath. Just one.”

Too often, we keep things locked inside. Important things. Things we should be saying out loud.

The I statements:

“I love you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I miss you.”

“I was wrong.”

The you statements:

“You hurt me, and that’s not okay.”

“I believe in you.”

“Please stay.”

“No.” <–Tricky? It shouldn’t be. Remember, “No” is a complete sentence.

The we statements:

“We can do this.”

“We must do this.”

“We will do this. Together.”

But locked in with those and countless other examples of things we should be saying are things we should say for our own sake, our own peace of mind, our own sense of worth.


These drinking horns will make sense in a moment

At a Yule party, sitting in a circle with some of my closest friends, our host described this ceremony:

Brandishing a bottle of homemade strawberry mead, he said, “We’re going to pass this bottle around the circle three times. For the first round, we tell about something we’re proud of accomplishing this past year. For the second round, we thank or commemorate a person. For the third round, we make an oath for something we will do in this next year.”

With some nervous laughter, we all adjusted in our chairs and fell into thought. Then the bottle passed, three times.

Want to know mine?

#1 Something I’m Proud Of Accomplishing This Year

Based on the latter half of the year, people may have been expecting me to say that I was proud of helping get my dad through his recent fall. Much of my time and energy were thus devoted in a relatively short but intense span.

But you see, I don’t see it as something to be proud of; it’s more of a fact of life, something with a fortunately happy ending.* Something where it never occurred to me not to do anything about it.

(I don’t know if that makes sense outside of my own head. I suppose the short answer would be, “It’s what you do.” I’d link to a meme about it but they always play a commercial about it in the movie theatre to get you to turn off your cell phone, and I’m sick of it.)

Anyway. I instead picked the fact that this year, I’d finally, successfully made my case to become a people-manager for the first time in my career. Since September, I’ve been managing an intern (who is coming back next year, too!).


Not quite the “boss” image I was looking for.

#2 Thank Or Commemorate Someone 

For item 2, I thanked my husband. He’s been there for me through all of this and more, especially through these latter months, from taking unpaid time from work to being so incredibly efficient at packing up my dad’s entire household to just listening.

In times of trouble, you really do find out who’s willing to help, not just say they want to help.


Sheer helpfulness during a monsoon.

#3 Make An Oath For The Next Year

Here’s my oath. I am going to publish my first children’s book in Q1 of 2017. That’s January-March (I always have to look this up).

See, I’ve always been a writer; now I’m ready to become an author.

I’ll arrange for a sneak-peek of the story soon, but for right now, exclusively, here is a deliberately low-res, copyright-splashed cover image of the star of my first children’s book, Sidney Snail!

Edit: It’s out! Get “What’s at the End of Your Nose?” today. Officially on Amazon as of January 27, 2017.

copyright 2016 Kelly Cline

copyright 2016 Becky Benishek and Kelly Cline for “What’s at the End of Your Nose?”

What really happened

So here’s where the magic comes in: All of these things in this end-of-year ceremony were said out loud, with witnesses yet.

And none of them were resolutions.

Without taking this time to slow down and think about this one instance among so many other instance, I may never have fully realized what an accomplishment it is to achieve my goal of being a person-manager.

I may also have always felt that nagging feeling that I didn’t thank my husband enough for who he is.

And I may never have decided that this is it for publishing, because let me tell you, 2015 was supposed to be “that” year, but that was a New Year’s resolution. I don’t remember saying it out loud, but I remember typing it out. Unfortunately, even shouting it inside your own head doesn’t always help.

As we speak, I’m getting my book formatted by knowledgeable others for CreateSpace and Kindle. I have the next steps laid out in my head like a grid.

And I have that little surprising ceremony to thank.

What are your three picks?

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*I haven’t been updating on Subject Dad nor been here much at all in these latter months; my latent goal of posting everyday in 2016 fell with a mostly-unmourned clunk by the wayside when real life started happening with a vengeance. But my dad is doing well, thank goodness!

4 thoughts on “Instead Of A New Year’s Resolution, Make An Oath Instead

  1. What a wonderful and fun-to-read post. What a crazy year. That ceremony sounds like the perfect way to ring it out. Or wring it out, really. You did some awesome, highly commendable stuff. And THIS! This oath! This book! I cannot wait to read it. And you’re inspiring me. I’m going to go and pull out my file (a physical file) on a children’s story I first wrote 20 years ago. Dust it off. See if I can make it happen in 2017.

    A glorious New Year to you! Peace, love, health, and happiness.


    • Thanks so much. And I agree: It’s been a fully-packed year. Then again, 2015 probably was, I just can’t recall it.

      A big YES to digging out that children’s story. Let me know if you want to check out Fiverr. Lots of good people to pick among for editing.

      Peace, love, health, and happiness to you!


  2. Pingback: Getting Closer (To Publishing) | Turn the page

  3. Pingback: From 1999 to 2017: My 2nd book was a long time coming | Turn the page

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