Dear Readers:

Do resolutions help? My answer is a definite “yes.” Decisions and thinking change lives. Choices are our amazing gift as a species.

Resolutions, though, while helpful, can be tough to keep.

My advice: Make them clear and unambiguous. Make them doable, not out-of-the-ballpark difficult or ridiculous.

Be serious about it, too. And keep the number of them to no more than three.

Do I make resolutions? You bet. Here are the ones I look to make annually: 

I resolve to practice active gratitude. Every day, I will find four things for which I am grateful. They will not be repetitive, if possible. I will take note of and celebrate the small and unnoticed. Being grateful and noticing the positive changes one’s outlook on life.

I resolve to find the humor in the world around me. Every day, I will find things to laugh about. I will work at smiling — even at the absurd, because life is absurd. I will guffaw, snicker and chuckle as much as possible. I will be in touch with friends who like to share jokes and stories.

I resolve to learn something new. This year, it will be learning to speak Spanish. There is a channel on YouTube called “Que Hora Es.” I will use this teaching format to learn the language.

Meanwhile, buon principio del anno. Oops, wrong language! Translated from Italian, it means “good start of the new year.” Or simply put, Happy New Year!

Dr. Larry Larsen is an Andover psychologist. If you would like to ask a question, or respond to one, email him at


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