New year, a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. If you are alive today, you have much to be thankful for. This time of the year always reminds me of the things I could have done better. I'm filled with the conviction to be a better human in the new year. This year I will kept track of my good intentions and I will grade myself next year.

1.  I'm going to practice the modified eleventh commandment, not to speak ill of a fellow plant eater. If I can get this practice to be universally accepted, we will take a giant step towards a better world.

2.  I'm going to try to be as good a person as my wife.  I believe she married me as a reclamation project and it is high time I show her the fruit of her labor.

3.  I'm committed to enjoying food more and eating less.  My plan is to look as good in the mirror as I have convinced myself that I now look.  This may call for a new mirror or new glasses.

4.  I'm committed to never be the first person in a group to broach the subject of diet.  I must learn to swallow words before they cross my lips.  This may replace my reduced food intake.

5.  I hope to never criticize a person if I haven't been able to find something to praise them for. My criticism should only come after reviewing my past behavior and making sure I haven't been guilty of making the same mistake. If I have made the same mistake I should admit it before trying to correcting someone else.

6.  I plan to praise every animal, from birds to worms and all critters in between. Life without animals would be like life without love.  True unconditional love comes from animals.

7.  I'm going to try to greet every event with a smile.  I'm sure that there is a bright side to every event in the world if we look hard enough.  I've been given much more to smile about than I have ever been burdened with that caused me to frown.

8.  I'm committed to giving folks a hand up whenever I have a chance.  I will try to answer "yes" when asked and try to remember" no" is a two lettered word to be used as a last resort.

9.  I'm going to try to live as if I were living in a glass house.  I will try to act better than I thought was possible yesterday.

10.  I'm committed to deal with life as if I were blind and had to recall the beauty of the earth.  If I were on trial for doing good would there be enough evidence to convict me? If I died, would they say he loved too much?

- Howard Lyman, December 29, 2002