When I was 15, my high school homeroom teacher asked us what our New Year’s resolutions were. He went around the room, and when he came to me I said, “I don’t have one.”

I couldn’t think of any good enough reason to make a life change for myself on a whim. What can I say, I was a good kid.

It’s been like that ever since for me.

I’ve given it a try over the years: “I’m going to lose weight.” “I’m going to go to more concerts.” “I’m going to travel.”

Have I done those things at various points? Yes. But it was never because I made a “resolution” to do so, and those occasions were generally nowhere near January, or it was incidentally.

I did them because they were things I enjoy — well, maybe not the losing weight part. Any diet that tells me to give up pizza must be out for torture.


I have decided over the years that I’m not going to arbitrarily promise myself I will do anything. If I want it badly enough or if it’s that important to me, I’m just going to do it — regardless of the time of year.

It’s my feeling that promising to do something is akin to procrastination. It’s an excuse to put off that thing because it’s probably not something that’s really important to you anyway.

It’s just like I tell my teenage daughter when she promises me that she’ll call me when she gets to her friend’s house. No, don’t promise me. Just do it. I guess I subscribe to the words of the wise Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try.”

It’s like deciding on Friday, “Come Monday, I am on a diet.” And then you eat your way through Saturday and Sunday … and Monday. My mother used to always tell me when I insisted on putting off my chores until the elusive “later,” paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin: Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.

I realize that many people create New Year’s resolutions for themselves because they think of a new year as a fresh start, a new beginning to make positive changes in their life. And I don’t knock that premise. The best time to make improvements in your life, though, is never better than right now.

Your life is your story, and it is continuous. A book with chapters that you write as you go. Do you really want to save the climax until the very end or worse yet, risk not getting to it at all? Don’t you want the main character to be his or her best self as soon as possible? A character’s story is an arch, not a straight line. There has to be conflict and resolution — it can’t all be conflict and no action.


Forget the idea of the “new beginning” for the new year. Stop trying to write a new book every January. It’s all part of the same story, anyway. Starting today, your character is on the way toward the best chapter yet.

Marla Hoffman


Some of you may have read my previous columns that run periodically in the Sun Journal. Today, however, is the start of a regular column I will write that I am calling “Life in the Pines.”

My intention is to write about life in Maine; about you and me; about our collective journey through this existence. Some of my columns will relate to you, some of them probably won’t. But my hope is to connect with you, the readers, on a more personal level — as humans and as Mainers.

I have been a journalist for the past 17-plus years at newspapers in Maine and Connecticut. I have been a writer, a designer, a photographer, a columnist and, for the past six years, the managing editor for the evening shift here at the SJ. I love my profession, and I am proud of the work we do. I am also a proud substitute teacher in the Auburn school district.

My husband, Brent, and I and our kids live in Auburn. I love to read and write, and finding new and interesting television shows to binge. I attended the University of Maine at Machias, and I have a passion for history and anthropology. My dream job is to be an archeologist and work for National Geographic (it’s OK, my boss already knows!).

Thank you for welcoming me into your homes and the screens on your various devices. If you have an inspiring story to tell or if you know someone, an adult or child, that is changing our world for the better, send me an email. I look forward to getting to know you, and this beautiful state of ours, a little better. Peace, my friends.

Marla Hoffman is the nighttime managing editor for the Sun Journal and can be reached at mhoffman@sunjournal.com.

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