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Time to add a few items to the New Year resolution list

Another New Year is upon us and we should take advantage of this annual fresh start for a new batch of New Year's resolutions, including some commitments to one or more personal goals and projects or dedications to change some habits. If you wish to lose weight, spend more time with family and friends, fit in more fitness, enjoy life more, quit smoking (if applicable) and get better organized, it is never too late to make some promises to yourself that will produce long-lasting results.

In addition to our suggestions from last year to Taiwanese politicians that still apply today — avoid making empty promises about the country's expected economic growth, stop trying to please everybody and accept instead that it's impossible to please everyone, as well as never put off until tomorrow what you can do today — here are two new ideas for them to consider as they set their agenda for 2014.

To begin with, politicians across the political spectrum should further write down their promises in order to offset their short-term memories. This principle is common sense to most people, except for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose visit to Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni Shrine for its war dead on Thursday is poised to anger neighboring Asian countries and dampen Tokyo's new attempt to ease restraints on its military placed upon it by the country's post-World War II pacifist constitution. When he succeeded Junichiro Koizumi in 2006, he was inspired to stay away from the controversial temple during that term, helping to repair frayed ties with Beijing through a summit meeting. There is little wonder that Abe is now heading toward more confrontation with his Chinese counterpart for the months to come.

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