A YEAR AGO, pundits said that if President Clinton didn't ram a health-care reform bill through Congress, his presidency would be in trouble.

He didn't and it is, although for other reasons as well as his failure to convince Americans that his was the best plan; it clearly was not.Now, at the start of a new year, Clinton has a chance to take his own advice and resolve to make change his friend. Halfway through his term, Clinton should stop showing the signs of vacillation that make so many think they can't trust him.

In terms of what he has accomplished at the domestic level, Clinton has not been a bad president. The economy is good. Unemployment is down. Inflation is at bay. The search for free trade and higher wages are at the forefront of the nation's attention.

In magnitude alone, the raft of legislation signed into law is impressive, from the national service program to family leave to the motor-voter law to the crime bill to gun control.

In foreign policy, Clinton has been much weaker but not the complete disaster some feared. Nuclear missiles are no longer aimed at U.S. shores. Haiti has to be considered a modified, limited success so far. The United States veered close but avoided war with North Korea.

Yes, Somalia was a cop-out and Rwanda and Bosnia are heartbreaking failures to prevent genocide that will do long-term damage to the U.S. image.

Clinton was not resolute enough to force Europe into action or bold enough to go it alone in Bosnia. Even if he had been, he may not have been able to have changed history.

But it is in lack of leadership and his failure to win the trust of the American people that Clinton suffers now.

Here are some resolutions the president might make for 1995:

- Spell out what he stands for and stick to it. Work cooperatively with Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole, but do not relinquish leadership to them. It looks bad abroad.

- Do the right thing and be a statesman even if it means people won't love him. The fickle public and obnoxious media won't anyway.

- Everyone knows he's running for re-election in 1996, but he should work on the assumption he has only two more years to accomplish his legacy for history.

- Display a sense of humor and vow not to whine. Everybody knows he works hard. Everybody knows Republicans are not going to be absolutely fair to him.

- Don't give Hillary Clinton any more policy roles without title or salary, confusing everyone. It is too bad the old-fashioned job of first lady (or first spouse) is not a paid position, since we treat this person as though we own her. Until we modernize, the first spouse will be the highest presidential adviser in the land but should give that advice behind the scenes.

- Remember, the United States absolutely, positively must not look weak overseas. Do not maneuver this country into situations where it will have to back down.

- Be dignified but enjoy being president, the only one we have. Yes, people are disillusioned, but the election is two years away. A lot can happen. A lot will happen.