Apologies mean nothing if...

Apologies don't mean anything if you continue to do what you claim to be sorry for.

Saying "sorry" rings hollow if you persist in your unsavory behavior -- whether it's cheating on your spouse, furtively stealing money from your employer, or drug/alcohol abuse.

I firmly believe that some people apologize as a quick way out; in reality, they have no intention of following through. Deep down, they're really not sorry.

And your support can only go so far when the person can't help but fall off the wagon time and time again. Eventually, you reach a point where nothing short of counseling is in order.

I only wish the word "sorry" weren't used so loosely. It's kind of like those who go around telling people they love them after dating them just a few weeks.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. As I've stressed in earlier posts, words mean nothing unless you back them up with concrete actions.

For example, if you say you're sorry for getting drunk all the time and aim to curb such behavior -- yet you continue to buy 6-packs every time you visit the supermarket -- it makes you look like a liar who isn't serious about changing his or her ways.

If you really want to change, avoid putting yourself in situations where you'll be tempted to engage in the very behavior you're trying to curtail.

Unfortunately, many people sound like a broken record when they say sorry each and every time they do something wrong -- only to go and repeat it. It's this sort of behavior that damages many a relationship/friendship.

Again, the word means absolutely nothing if a person is not willing to atone for their mistakes by taking action -- and not slipping back to their old habits.

Apologizing is simply not sufficient. If you really believe that's all it'll take to keep a relationship afloat, I'm "sorry" to say that you are gravely mistaken. And when the word is just thrown out there, remember one thing: You're not just deceiving other people, but also yourself.

What you think, you become

Buddha once said, "What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create."

If there's one thing we can unequivocally infer from Buddha's words, it's that the mind wields a very powerful influence on our daily lives.

Thinking positively can make a world of a difference between a good day and a terrible one.

Merely telling yourself in the morning that today will be a good day becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Living in the moment and thinking about all you have can lift your spirits in a big way, unlike the tendency to ruminate on the negative -- what you lack, what could be better, etc.

If you aspire to become, say, the CEO of your company, the very first step is believing you can get there. If you don't believe in yourself, you'll lose motivation almost as quickly as you've mustered it.

And positive vibes are infectious; they draw people to you like flies. It's no surprise that when you're in a great mood, you draw other merry people to you. And those who happen to be in the dumps can suddenly become cheerful in your presence.

As far as the third part of the quote, great ideas can't be realized without first conceiving them. If you don't have a vision of what you actually wish to achieve -- a roadmap, if you will -- how will you know what your ultimate destination is?

Believe in yourself. You are capable of amazing things, but you won't achieve success unless you can envisage yourself reaching those milestones.

Self-doubt and negativity are roadblocks on the path to triumph that you'll want to avoid. When you sense them rearing their ugly heads, remind yourself that you have what it takes to overcome even the toughest obstacles.

If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. Thinking positively attracts positive people and situations. We could all use more of that in our lives.

Face it: People change

They say the only constant in life is change, and people are certainly no exception to that maxim.

Partners, friends, relatives, coworkers, acquaintances -- they evolve, for better or worse.

Wishing things could revert to how they used to be in any given relationship sets one up for major disappointment.

The fact of the matter is that you may have a friend who's very different in 2017 from how she was in, say, 2012.

Shifting priorities, new experiences, and changing views each play a role in our evolution as people.

Unfortunately, such changes can be detrimental to a relationship. Your friend gets married or starts a family and forgets you exist. Your boyfriend has to relocate for his job and now you hardly hear from his anymore. Your closest cousin is hanging out with a different crowd and no longer seems like the person you grew up with.

It's understandable that such life events would make people less available. Gone are the days when you could arrange outings on a whim, let alone at the last minute. As life gets busier, social engagements need to be planned well in advance.

But if you find yourself in a one-sided relationship where only you put in the time and effort to reach out to the other and propose gatherings, you ought to ask yourself whether it's even worth it.

People find a way to make some time for what interests them, even if it's an occasional text or call. Sometimes all it takes to get things rolling again is a 10-minute conversation in which you let your feelings be known.

Perhaps the other person isn't even cognizant of the fact that they've put you on the back burner and, moving forward, will try a little harder to make time for you. If nothing changes thereafter, they may not care enough, and guess what? Neither should you.

If you can point to a long-term friendship or relationship in your life that you feel hasn't changed since the very beginning, consider yourself lucky! Cherish every minute of it, because those are few and far between.

People are not static creatures. As the years go by, we draw closer to some people and further away from others. Many people we once felt so close to become mere acquaintances, if that. And trying to salvage the relationship doesn't bear fruit if the other person remains non-chalant.

But as they say, life goes on.

This Day in History: November 5

In this post, I touch on the election (or reelection) of U.S. presidents who guided the country through two bloody, destructive global wars.

November 5, 1912: Woodrow Wilson beats two ex presidents in a landslide victory

Democrat Woodrow Wilson is elected the 28th president of the United States, with Thomas R. Marshall as vice president. In a landslide Democratic victory, Wilson secured 435 electoral votes against the eight won by Republican incumbent William Howard Taft and the 88 snagged by Progressive Party candidate Theodore Roosevelt. It remains the only election in American history where two former presidents were defeated by another candidate.

During his two terms in office, Wilson oversaw U.S. entry into World War I; proposed the Fourteen Points, a statement of principles that was to be used for peace negotiations in order to end the global war; and championed the League of Nations, an international organization formed to prevent future armed conflict. Because of opposition from isolationists in Congress, the U.S. did not join the League.

November 5, 1940: Franklin D. Roosevelt re-elected president

On this day in 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is re-elected for an unprecedented third term as president of the United States.

Roosevelt was elected to a third term with the promise of maintaining American neutrality as far as foreign wars were concerned. But as Hitler’s war spread, and the desperation of Britain grew, the president pushed for passage of the Lend-Lease Act in Congress in March 1941, which would funnel financial aid to Great Britain and other allies. In August, Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to proclaim the Atlantic Charter, which would become the basis of the United Nations; they also drafted a statement to the effect that the United States “would be compelled to take countermeasures” should Japan further encroach in the southwest Pacific.

Despite ongoing negotiations with Japan, the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor was the final straw.  Roosevelt requested, and received, a declaration of war against Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. Germany and Japan surrendered in 1945, effectively ending World War II.

This person is most responsible for your happiness

Want to know who's most responsible for your happiness?

That's easy. Look in the mirror.

It isn't your partner, children, siblings, or friends. Happiness emanates from inside, which means only you complete yourself.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent -- one of my favorite quotes, I might add.

Oprah Winfrey quipped that you cannot wait for someone to save you, to help you, to complete you. No one can complete you but yourself.

And, as Mandy Hale puts it, happiness is an inside job, and you should never assign anyone else that much power over your life.

Instead, you should wield that power to make a better life for yourself. Do whatever makes you happy -- whether it's exploring new continents or simply laying by the pool at home.

Happiness starts with you -- not with your job, relationships, or money. If that weren't the case, there wouldn't be people in the world who have found a way to enjoy life with so little.

Society likes to peddle the notion that you need to be married, have kids, and have the latest and greatest gadgets in order to feel fulfilled. This couldn't be more baseless. Relationships can end. Kids don't always get along with their folks. Material items suffer wear and tear.

The idea of happiness -- and, by extension, life fulfillment --  is largely subjective. What may make you happy may not have the same effect on me. Some people opt for an adventurous lifestyle; others relish routine and security.

To put your happiness in someone else's hands is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make. Why rely on someone else to be happy when they're bound to disappoint you eventually? No one in this world has your best interests at heart like you do.

Leave the keys to your happiness in your hand. A lot is made of soulmates, but the reality is that a partner enhances your life, not completes it. To expect him or her to complete you is to put an unfair burden them -- one they will never be able to deliver on.

You have the power to feel happy today through your thoughts. Focusing on the positive as opposed to the negative -- your blessings, dreams, goals rather than your flaws and mistakes -- can mean the difference between a wonderful day and a somber one.

Don't let those negative thoughts prevail. Don't surrender your happiness to anyone else. You are in control of your life -- make it a great one!