Making it a happier New Year for everyone

Here’s a resolution we can all aspire to: Of all the resolutions each of us should try to articulate and follow throughout the year, pick two (one just doesn’t cut it) and stick with them.
But which ones? Here’s a partial list to get you started. Add your own and then get down to business.
• It’s a political year and that means we’ll be bombarded with political advertising on the tube and through the airwaves. It’ll drive us batty. Resolve to turn off the tube or the radio at each onslaught, and demand the candidates articulate thoughtful, short, coherent essays that define their stands on the most overarching issues. Tell them you don’t want to be “sold” on their message; rather, you want to be persuaded their approach makes sense through a rational discourse.
• Personal health should be everyone’s top priority. If it hasn’t been and you need to be in better shape to be fit, healthy and happy, then resolve to do so with concrete actions. But do it in small steps. Resolving to lose 10, 20 or 30 pounds doesn’t work. Rather, resolve to join a local gym; or to walk 2 miles four times a week; or join a yoga program, or work out on a stationary bicycle; or tackle some of the push-up programs that can be found online (one claims to get most fit up to 100 push-ups at a time, via a regimented daily program that’s not all that tough to follow). Resolve to pair up with a friend to work on your goals together. It’ll be more fun and effective.
• Working on relationships is also a top priority as well. Whether that means being a better boss, a better employee, a better friend, better brother or sister or spouse — or granddaughter, grandson or grandparent, aunt or uncle — or just being more friendly to those you meet on the street, it’s a state of mind that requires constant attention and self-awareness. It seems such a simple task to care about each other, but it’s surprising how many other things get in the way and prevent us from doing the simplest things. Resolve to keep your eye on the prize, and make the relationships that matter most to you your top focus of each day.
• Shop local, and spend responsibly. The multiplier effect of spending money locally is more powerful than many people know. If we all spent just 90 percent of our daily purchases in our home counties, we could generate our own small-scale economic recovery. It is within our influence. That goes for automobiles, building and home improvement supplies, gardening and landscaping, retail purchases, recreation, food, gifts and weddings and anniversaries, and as many professional services as possible. Do it and prosper; don’t and your town and neighborhood is the poorer for it. Resolve to buy local.
• Get involved locally. One of the joys of small-town living is feeling connected to those around you, and, in particular, being a part of something that accomplishes good deeds. Addison County has an abundance of organizations that serve the public, and many have spots for active volunteers; not to mention area churches and schools. Resolve to raise your hand to offer help, the next time someone asks.
• Resolve to be informed. It’s not easy in today’s age of information overload to know fact from fiction, to discern hype from honesty, and to understand the nuances of an issue well enough to know which approaches make most sense. There can be more than one answer to the nation’s ailments, but the right ones will lead to rational conclusions most can at least respect. The others are hot air and empty promises.
Finally, resolve to make a positive difference in your family, your neighborhood or your community. When we do, we make the world a better place, and it makes a happier New Year for all. 
Angelo S. Lynn

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