DEAR READERS: Rise and shine, and welcome to the New Year! This is our chance for a new beginning, the day we discard destructive habits for healthy new ones. With that in mind, I'm printing Dear Abby's oft-requested list of New Year's resolutions -- adapted by my mother 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 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 will not speak ill of others. I'll improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I'll 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'm overweight, I'll eat healthily -- if only for today. And just for today, I'll 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 last year, too late to print for New Year's. It was sent by a reader, I.J. Bhatia, who lives in New Delhi, India, with the following message:
DEAR ABBY: Every year we make New Year's resolutions -- only to break them. 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 so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
May we find peace and joy in this new year.
To one and all, a happy, healthy 2004! -- Love, ABBY