Today is Friday, January 5th, 2007; Karen's Korner #970

This is a writing by advice columnist Ann Landers, titled "Perpetual New Year's Resolution". It is a good one.
But have you ever noticed that our good intentions and new year's resolutions are set-ups for failure. We say, "we want to lose 40 pounds". But do we celebrate when we lose five or don't gain any weight? Do we "want to not speak harshly to any one or get angry at the neighbor's cat/dog/kid any more?" Or do we focus on the one time we hold our tongue or tell the friend, "I am sorry."
We need to celebrate those small successes, because I believe God enjoys being a part of those small celebrations, which turn into more successes and more celebrations. Which some day turn into a way of life.
If you and I do even one of the things on Ann's resolution list, let the celebration begin:
Let this coming year be better than all the others.  Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time.
Call up a forgotten friend.  Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories.  Share a funny story with someone whose sprits are dragging.  A good laugh can be very good medicine.
Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep.  Pay a debt.  Give a soft answer.  Free yourself of envy and malice.  Encourage some youth to do his or her best.  Share your experience, and offer support. Young people need role models.
Make a genuine effort to stay in closer touch with family and good friends.  Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the hip.  Words that you have to eat can be hard to digest.
Find the time to be kind and thoughtful.  All of us have the same allotment:24 hours a day.  Give a compliment.  It might give someone a badly needed lift.
Think things through.  Forgive an injustice.  Listen more. Be kind.
Apologize when you realize you are wrong.  An apology never diminishes a person.  It elevates him. Don't blow your own horn.  If you've done something praiseworthy, someone will notice eventually.
Try to understand a point of view that is different from your own.  Few things are 100 percent one way or another.  Examine the demands you make on others.
Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, "Will it matter in a week from today?".  Laugh the loudest when the joke is on you.
The sure way to have a friend is to be one.  We are all connected by our humanity, and we need each other.  Avoid malcontents and pessimists. They drag you down and contribute nothing.
Don't discourage a beginner from trying something risky.  Nothing ventured means nothing gained.  Be optimistic.  The can-do spirit is the fuel that makes things go.
Read something uplifting.  Deep-six the trash.  You won't eat garbage – why put it in your head? Don't abandon your old-fashioned principles.  They never go out of style.  When courage is needed, ask yourself, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"
Look at the person you have blamed for your unhappiness, and ask yourself was the criticism legitimate?  Did I do anything to help them or did I just decide I am better than he or she and walk away?
Walk tall, and smile more.  You'll look 10 years younger. Don't be afraid to say, "I love you". Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world.
-- Ann Landers