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home : columns : dear harriette February 19, 2020

12/18/2019 7:57:00 AM
It's not too late to make a fresh start

DEAR HARRIETTE: We are approaching the end of this year, and I hate to admit it, but I have not reached the goals I set for myself back in January. It seems like the year has zipped by. I worked a lot, but not on the things that I had prioritized. I have mainly done the status quo: working to pay the bills, seeing my friends a little bit, communicating more on social media than anything and mostly being isolated. I haven't had the money to hang out with people, so I have become a bit of a homebody. But now I see that my choices have left me squarely where I was a year ago, though probably about 15 pounds heavier. I am disgusted with myself. What can I do to be more committed now? I know it's too late for this year, but I don't want to give up on myself. -- Dashed Intentions

DEAR DASHED INTENTIONS: Every day that you wake up presents a new opportunity to set an intention and follow through on it. I think part of the problem with New Year's resolutions is that they are often unwieldy or vague and virtually impossible to manage.

Forget about what you pledged earlier this year. Take a good, hard look at today. What do you need to do to make yourself happy? Make a list of 10 things that you would like to accomplish that can lead you to your goals. Make them concrete and manageable. For example, if losing weight is one of them, add more detail, such as cutting out sugar for a month -- then counting down each day of the month -- or working out three days a week -- then marking the days on the calendar and scheduling your workout time so that you don't miss it. The same can go for career goals, in-person connections with friends and loved ones and so on. If you break down each goal into small steps, you can check off the steps as you accomplish them. This should make you happy!

DEAR HARRIETTE: My uncle has been ill on and off all his life. He's currently sick. The trouble is that when he gets ill, he puts up an imaginary protective bubble around himself, which no one can enter. When you ask his wife what's happening, she won't answer. Each successive bout of illness has put that much more strain on my uncle's system. Nobody knows what's wrong, but I fear he'll pass away soon. I want to see him again before he dies; if I don't, I'm afraid I'll regret it. However, he's emphatic about not letting anyone in right now. I desperately need to know what's wrong. How can I solve these conundrums and find answers before I lose my uncle? -- Last Wishes

DEAR LAST WISHES: Chances are, you will have the best chance of seeing your uncle again if you stop asking what's wrong with him. Clearly, your aunt and uncle have decided they don't want to talk about your uncle's health. Accept that you cannot control your uncle's fate. Tell your aunt that you miss them and want to visit. Be direct and let her know that you want to be able to say goodbye before your uncle passes. Promise that you won't stay long. If she refuses, pray for them and accept that you may not be able to see him again. She is doing the best she can, so try not to get mad at her.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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