Dear Readers:

If some lines in today's column sound vaguely familiar, you have a good memory. They appeared in this space last year. Not much about New Year's Day has changed, so thank you for allowing me to loaf a little.

Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time.

Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge and replace it with some pleasant memories. Share a funny story with someone whose spirits are dragging. A good laugh can be very good medicine.

Make a genuine effort to stay in closer touch with family and good friends. Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the lip.

Find the time to be kind and thoughtful. All of us have the same allotment: 24 hours a day. Give a compliment. It might give someone a badly needed lift.

Think things through. Forgive an injustice. Listen more. Be kind.

Apologize when you realize you are wrong. An apology never diminishes a person. It elevates him.

Try to understand a point of view that is different from your own. Few things are 100 percent one way or another. Examine the demands you make on others.

The sure way to have a friend is to be one. We are all connected by our humanity, and we need each other. Avoid malcontents and pessimists. They drag you down and contribute nothing.

Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. You wouldn't eat garbage, why put it in your head? Don't abandon your old-fashioned principles. They never go out of style. When courage is needed, ask yourself, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"

Take better care of yourself. Remember, you're all you've got.

Don't put up with secondhand smoke. Nobody has the right to pollute your air or give you cancer. If someone says, "This is a free country," remind him or her that the country may be free, but no person is free if he has a habit he can't control.

Don't be afraid to say, "I love you." Say it again. They are the sweetest words in every language.

To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.