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by Abigail Van Buren

New Year's Resolutions Are Met Again Each Day

DEAR READERS: My New Year's column has become an annual tradition. These New Year's resolutions are based on the original credo of Al-Anon. I am using its theme with some variations of my own:

Just for today, I will live through this day only, and not set far-reaching goals to try to overcome all my problems at once. I know I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I thought I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today, I will be happy. Abraham Lincoln said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." He was right. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. I will chase them out of my mind and replace them with happy thoughts.

Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.

Just for today, I will improve my mind. I will not be a mental loafer. I will force myself to read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today, I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll make an honest effort to quit. If I'm overweight, I'll eat nothing I know to be fattening. And I will force myself to exercise -- even if it's only walking around the block or using the stairs instead of the elevator.

Just for today, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will look as good as I can, dress becomingly, talk softly, act courteously, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I'll not try to improve anybody except myself.

We know so much more about nutrition and how much exercise and sensible living can extend life and make it more enjoyable, so just for today, I'll take good care of my body so I can celebrate many more happy new years.

Just for today, I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it, thereby saving myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take the responsibility for my own actions.

To one and all: a happy, healthy New Year! -- LOVE, ABBY

P.S. God bless our men and women in uniform in every corner of the world where our flag is flying. And let us not forget those patriotic Americans who are serving their country in the Peace Corps, as well as those who have served and are now in veterans hospitals and nursing homes.

DEAR READERS: Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), born a slave in Virginia, was the most influential African American leader and educator of his time. Washington advised two presidents on racial problems and policies -- Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. His accomplishments would fill a large book.

Today I'd like to share a meaningful quote from this great man:

"I believe that any man's life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement, if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day and as nearly as possible reaching the high-water mark of pure and useful living."

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600