Time goes, you say? Ah, no! Alas, time stays, we go.

-- Henry Austin Dobson

We enter the new year with rather dismal economic and market conditions, accompanied by an aggravated and unstable geopolitical scene. In the face of this, we optimistically hope that 2003 will offer something more promising than the rocky and precarious road we've traveled so far in the new millennium.

I've never been a big fan of New Year's resolutions, knowing all too well how easily good intentions can quickly end up creating guilt, performance pressure and failure.

But in the spirit of experimentation, I thought I'd come up with some resolutions and see how putting them out publicly affects my effort to meet them. In addition, I've dared to include some predictions, which will likely result in scraping egg off my beard by year-end. First, the resolutions:

  1. I will not allow ongoing fears and threats of terrorist actions or any incidents themselves to have an unduly negative impact on my daily emotional state. I will not allow them to stop me from staying positive (but realistic) about humanity's ability to cooperate or to impede my personal efforts to help those who seek my counsel. I will not allow the inevitable tragic stories of the war to knock me off center, nor will I numb myself to the suffering of others.

  2. I will be more observant in my speech and do my best to refrain from speaking critically of others in moments of irritation or frustration. I will more fully appreciate the power my words -- both spoken and written -- have on influencing others.

  3. I will make investment and trading decisions with a specific period of time in mind and vow not to lose sight of that time frame. I will refuse to allow a short-term trade to turn into an investment because of poor money management.

  4. I will continue to make capital preservation my priority and patiently invest with the major trend in strong sectors and with strong stocks. I will make more use of exchange-traded index funds as viable instruments for short- and intermediate-term trading.

  5. I will no longer let my Lipitor-enabled cholesterol count of 127, excellent heart-scan results and low blood pressure be rationalizations for more than very occasional indulging in eating fatty junk food, thinking that the Lipitor is "protecting" me. This will result in a weight loss of at least five pounds.

And a few New Year predictions -- businesswise and otherwise:

  1. Krispy Kreme ( KKD) donuts continue to win the hearts, minds and stomachs of the country. It gains market share in the donut world, as war and terrorist activity reactivate the need to soothe ourselves with foods that make us feel secure.

  2. In-N-Out Burger, the first drive-through hamburger stand in California, established in 1948, comes to its fiscal senses, transcending its not-ready-for-prime-(beef)-time philosophy. After being closely held for more than 50 years, the company will finally begin to franchise units and go public.

  3. The upcoming military action in Iraq will stimulate terrorist activity in this country in the form of at least one attack on a "target-rich" public site within one month from beginning the war.

  4. The Bush administration more clearly focuses on Iran as a terrorist breeding ground and sympathizer.

  5. Callaway Golf ( ELY) is acquired by Fortune Brands ( FO), resulting in an increase in the sales of its popular clubs. The Callaway line of balls is dropped from production so as not to compete with Titleist.

  6. Tiger Woods becomes the first player ever to win three Masters titles in a row. After doing so, he drops his Swedish girlfriend, Elin Nordgren, as well as his swing coach, Butch Harmon.

  7. Phil Mickelson finally wins a major golf championship.

  8. Cliff Kresge maintains his PGA tour card for 2004 by finishing in the top 125 money winners.

  9. Josh Groben sells almost as many CDs as Andrea Bocelli.
Steven J. Hendlin, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in Irvine, Calif. He has been in private practice for the last 26 years, investing for the last 20 years, and actively trading online as a position trader and long-term investor since 1996. He is the author of The Disciplined Online Investor and maintains a site at www.hendlin.net. He is pleased to receive your comments and questions for publication in his public forum columns at steven.hendlin@thestreet.com , but please remember that he is unable to provide personal counseling or psychotherapy through the mail.

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