Last night I came up with a few New Year\u2019s resolutions, just so it doesn\u2019t look like I\u2019m sleeping on the job. They\u2019re pretty straightforward: a new improved me, more flashy features, politically correct views and less energy consumption. We all want to believe we can change, even though we usually end the year the same way we began it. Changing for the better is hard, but changing for the worse is easy. Over the years, I\u2019ve had a lot of resolutions that went nowhere, such as spend less, save more, eat less, exercise more, criticize less, praise more, be kinder, be gentler, be more compassionate. I\u2019m still trying. There\u2019s no standing still. If we\u2019re not striving to become better, we become badder. (I know, \u201cbadder\u201d isn\u2019t a word, but it sounds good.) Here are my 2021 resolutions: 1. I\u2019m going to express my opinion less. I\u2019m tired of opinions. After months of reading and listening to political commentary, I have a terrible headache. Blah, blah, blah. Some people can\u2019t shut up about politics, and they usually have a column. Enough already. I don\u2019t care if you\u2019re a Democrat or a Republican. I don\u2019t want to hear your opinion, and I won\u2019t tell you mine. On that positive note... 2. I\u2019m going to concentrate on what\u2019s truly important. My dog. I trust my dog more than anyone. I want her to run for president in 2024. She is truly democratic. She growls at everyone. 3. I\u2019m going to TRY to judge people less. I still remember the day my father dressed me down when I was passing judgment on my sister for some indiscretion. \u201cTake your own inventory,\u201d he growled. It was a piece of advice from Alcoholics Anonymous that I\u2019ve always remembered. 4. When the phone rings, I\u2019m going to answer it, although I might wait to see if my wife answers it first, because I don\u2019t want to talk to pollsters, telemarketers or scammers. To my thinking, a ringing phone means bad news. If Joe Biden wants to do something productive, the first thing he should do after getting his house in order is solve the national telephone crisis. If this great country can whip up a COVID-19 vaccine, it ought to be able to control phone scams. The truth is this: I\u2019m resolving to answer the phone because I\u2019m guilty over something that happened a few years ago. A guy named Colin (Not his real name. Well, maybe it is. He actually could be Don or Dan or Dick) called me. He left a voice message that said, \u201cJoe, I need to talk.\u201d I let it go to voicemail because Colin or Don or Dan or Dick annoyed me without even trying. The next day, he called again and left a message: \u201cJoe, I need to talk.\u201d I didn\u2019t return the call. I was too busy, I was too important, I was too selfish. A few days later, he called again and in a faltering voice said, \u201cJoe, I called because I needed someone to talk to. My wife left me.\u201d Moral theologians would call what I did \u2014 or failed to do \u2014 a \u201csin of omission.\u201d Guilty as charged. When the day finally comes to defend what I did with my life, or didn\u2019t do, that incident will be right at the top of the list. Never ignore an occasion to help someone. So now I\u2019m going to answer the phone even though I might start swearing if you want to sell me life insurance or a timeshare in Opa-locka, Florida. 5. I\u2019m going to look for the good in people, instead of the bad. In his first inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln offered this consolation to the defeated Democrats, many of whom supported slavery: \u201cWe must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory ... will swell the chorus when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.\u201d I\u2019m going to call out to those better angels. You should too. Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.