AD­VICE Cheers to 2020!

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

DEAR AN­NIE >> When I was grow­ing up, my fa­ther used to tell my broth­ers and sis­ters and me how im­por­tant it was to set New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. He would write down one or two goals for the com­ing year, and then pe­ri­od­i­cally tell us how he was do­ing over the months that fol­lowed. Some years he failed, but more of­ten than not, he man­aged to reach his goals.

What I re­mem­ber most about him was his op­ti­mism. No mat­ter how bad the year, he was al­ways con­vinced that the fu­ture would be bet­ter. It has been six years since he died, and I miss him ev­ery day. But I es­pe­cially miss him dur­ing the hol­i­days, when he would tell us to ex­pect great things in the up­com­ing year.

Too many peo­ple are cyn­i­cal these days, and most of my friends scoff at the idea of set­ting New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. I don’t care, though, be­cause of my dad. I love set­ting them and be­ing happy with my progress, re­gard­less of whether I reach all my goals. When I have chil­dren of my own, I plan to pass along this tra­di­tion. I am writ­ing to share my story and to ask for your thoughts about New Year’s res­o­lu­tions.

— In­her­ited Op­ti­mist

DEAR OP­TI­MIST >> It sounds like your fa­ther was a won­der­ful man and that his op­ti­mistic out­look was in­valu­able in your up­bring­ing. I’m go­ing to use your let­ter as an op­por­tu­nity to of­fer 10 sug­ges­tions for reach­ing your New Year’s res­o­lu­tions:

1. Write down your res­o­lu­tions. This will help you fo­cus.

2. Be prac­ti­cal with your goals. Set­ting small, re­al­is­tic goals will help you build con­fi­dence to seek greater goals later.

3. Watch how you speak to your­self about your­self and your progress. Pos­i­tive self-talk is a must.

4. Set aside some un­in­ter­rupted time to re­ally think about what it is that you would like to achieve in 2020 and the new decade ahead.

5. Don’t beat your­self up if you slip. Live one day at a time. If you back­slide, start anew the next day.

6. Track your progress. Even small vic­to­ries are worth cel­e­brat­ing.

7. Re­ward your­self when you have achieved any of your goals.

8. Stay the course even if it chal­lenges you. It takes 21 days for a new be­hav­ior to be­come a habit and six months for it to be­come part of your per­son­al­ity, so be pa­tient and kind to your­self.

9. Spread the news. Tell your friends and fam­ily mem­bers about your goals so that they can hold you ac­count­able. Part­ner­ship leads to progress. If a friend or fam­ily mem­ber has the same goal, then you could work to achieve it to­gether.

10. Be per­sis­tent and never give up.

Your fa­ther is right. This next year will be our best ever! Happy New Year, ev­ery­one!

DEAR AN­NIE >> My sis­ter has been abused men­tally and fi­nan­cially for many years, and it is get­ting worse with her hus­band now re­tired. Her self-es­teem is so low, and I’m scared of los­ing this lov­ing and car­ing per­son. But she wants her 18 years of mar­riage to work.

I want her to get a di­vorce. And I’ve been sup­port­ing her men­tally and fi­nan­cially for years.

— Di­vorce the Bum

DEAR DI­VORCE THE BUM >> Watch­ing some­one you love be torn down by an­other per­son is painful. Per­haps the most painful part is you can­not force her to leave. You can, how­ever, be there for her with­out judg­ment. Tell her how much you love her, be sup­port­ive and find ways to build up her self-es­teem. Talk with a coun­sel­ing or sup­port group or con­tact the Na­tional Do­mes­tic Abuse Hot­line (800-7997233) for more re­sources on how to of­fer sup­port and to talk to some­one about your con­cerns.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and e-book. Visit http://www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ing.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

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