Resolutions you can keep: a little bit extra for others week, we’ve been talking about New Year’s resolutions you can keep, and ways to elevate your RCR (resolution-completion rate). Now we’re finally passing through New Year’s Day—old calendars are coming down and new calendars are falling open on desks and refrigerator doors.

Millions of us are vowing to change our lives.

Believe me, you’re not likely to get off to a great start if your New Year’s resolutions involve a lot of self-denial, a lot of mortification of the flesh, a lot of huffing and puffing. Resolutions like those don’t hold much potential to make anyone very happy in the short run. Instead, the aggregate effect seems to be that the fitness centers and jogging tracks get clogged up by “January Jocks” for a couple of weeks. No wonder most of those resolutions will be forgotten by Groundhog Day.

So how can you guarantee a Happy New Year in 2011?

For a lot of people, this is a blue season. Happiness may be too much to ask while we’re dealing with sickness, or family troubles, or economic problems. But even folks facing challenges can resolve to make 2011 a little bit happier for someone else—sometimes even focusing on activities we might enjoy while we lend a hand to others.

How can we do this? It’s not hard, if you think about your own life. Try giving a little bit extra to your favorite charities. Or listening a little more closely to the cries for help. Or refusing to take the bait when the driver in front of you does something stupid.

Now those are resolutions you can keep.

So how about it:

What can you do to make sure 2011 is a Happy New Year?

Please, add a “Commment” below.

(Dr. Baker is away and has invited writer Terry Gallagher to carry us through the year-end holidays.)

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