DEAR HARRIETTE: I hate being surprised with presents. This Christmas, I received a pair of goggles (I ski) that I hate. They are bright pink and offer no UV protection. The gift didn't come with a gift receipt, just the spoken wish that I would wear them. What do I do with these goggles now? I would feel so wasteful throwing them out, but I do not need another pair, especially ones that don't protect my eyes and skin. -- Unhappy Skier, Westchester, New York
DEAR UNHAPPY SKIER: You can soften your thoughts about this gift knowing that the person who gave it to you did attempt to think about what you might like. Clearly, the person knows that you ski. It is also clear that this person does not ski, thus no UV protection, and also doesn't know your style, thus the color pink.
No, you don't need to wear the goggles. What you can do is give them to the ski lodge where you commonly ski. Perhaps they have spares for people who forget theirs. Or give them to the local Goodwill in your favorite ski town.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Like most Americans, I am suffering from holiday weight gain. From Thanksgiving through Christmas, I probably ate my weight in food a few times over. I want to make a weight loss resolution I can actually stick to. I don't want to be in the hordes of people pledging to go to the gym; instead, I want a buddy to do this with me. How can I ask a friend to join my weight-loss journey without implying that they should lose weight? -- Holiday Miss Piggy, Raleigh, North Carolina
DEAR HOLIDAY MISS PIGGY: Congratulations on wanting to make healthier choices in the new year. You are like many people who ate too much over the last couple of months. Doing something about it takes dedication and commitment. Sure, you could ask a friend to work out with you. And you can do that without offending your friend by saying that you need moral support. Explain that if your friend would be willing to walk, run, go to the gym or do some other physical activity with you, you think you would have a better chance of succeeding at your goal of losing weight.
But don't stop there. While a friend's support can help, most of all you need to make up your mind that you will do this for yourself. Next, schedule your workout routines. If you literally put down dates and times each week when you intend to work out, you will make it easier for you to stick to a schedule.
If you need to get more support, consider recording your fitness activities daily on social media. Like a diary, you could record your progress and also your shortcomings -- in whatever detail feels comfortable. Chances are that you will have people cheering you on and consoling you on the tough days. Bottom line: Do you! Get fit. You can do it.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)