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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR READERS: The new year has arrived, and with it our chance for a new beginning. This is the day we discard destructive old habits for healthy new ones. With that in mind, I am sharing Dear Abby's often-requested list of New Year's resolutions -- which were adapted by my mother, Pauline Phillips, from the original credo of Al-Anon.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.

I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct and accept those I cannot.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking.

Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. If I am overweight, I will eat healthfully -- if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.

And now, Dear Readers, I would like to share an item that was sent to me by I.J. Bhatia, a reader who lives in New Delhi, India:

DEAR ABBY: This year, no resolutions, only some guidelines. The Holy Vedas say: "Man has subjected himself to thousands of self-inflicted bondages. Wisdom comes to a man who lives according to the true eternal laws of nature."

The following prayer of Saint Francis contains a powerful message:

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

"Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

"Where there is injury, pardon;

"Where there is doubt, faith;

"Where there is despair, hope;

"Where there is darkness, light;

"Where there is sadness, joy;

"O Divine Master, grant that I may not as much seek to be consoled as to console;

"To be loved as to love.

"For it is in giving that we are pardoned;

"It is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

And so, Dear Readers, may this New Year bring with it peace and joy. -- LOVE, ABBY

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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