Jewish World Review Dec. 30, 2005 / 29 Kislev, 5766
My new year's resolutions
More fruits and vegetables, less meats and sweets. Copy to Ariel Sharon.
Don't turn on that television. An hour from now, you'll still be surfing to no clear purpose. "The problem with television isn't sex, or even violence. It's the insidious way it has, when you watch enough of it, of convincing you that life is elsewhere." Rosemary Graham
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and dull.
When you wake up, get up.
When with friends, never look at the clock.
Look up old friends. Make new ones.
Drink more Scotch. For "malt does more than Milton can/To justify G-d's ways to man." A.E. Housman. But, as my father told me, never drink alone; life is together with other people.
Practice what you preach. Better yet, don't preach, just practice.
For every new book you read, read an old one.
It is good to love others, but don't forget to love yourself. Give yourself a nice, gentle pat on the shoulder from time to harried time. Even with all your sins and hang-ups, you're not such a bad sort. How can you be? G-d loves you. Rely on grace. Don't dwell on your shortcomings. He'll let you know soon enough when you mess up. Which reminds me:
"If you believe you can damage, believe you can repair!" Reb Nachman of Breslov, Chasidic master
Then there's this piece of advice from the Talmud, intended for interpreters of the law a couple of thousand years ago, but equally piquant for journalists in 2006: "Love creative work, do not seek to dominate others, and avoid intimacy with the ruling authorities." Pirkei Avos, 1:10
Make exercise a must, not something you'll do if you have time. Just do it. Ditto, giving to charity. Both will leave you feeling so much better. In body and soul.
Pray more, wish less.
Answer your e-mails only at the end of the day. Or else you'll never get anything done. Save your most productive hours for better things.
Let a smile be your umbrella.
Visit New Orleans this coming year. Leave some money there. Dine at Galatoire's. Be good to yourself.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in the world haven't had the advantages that you've had." from the opening page of "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried." Henry David Thoreau
Kiss somebody every day. Yes, your dog is somebody.
When you're down, dress up.
Plan ahead, but not too far. "Want to make G-d laugh? Make plans." Yiddish proverb
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." Emerson
Remember that we learn most from our critics. "My disciple Hui is of no help to me. In my words there is nothing which he does not admire." Confucius
Remember people's names. And use them.
Be nice. "Anyone can be accurate and even profound, but it is damned hard work to make criticism charming." H.L. Mencken
"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." Mark Twain
"Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it's twice as onerous a duty." John Selden
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