"Resolutions and Reality"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, January 8, 2016

As the New Year gets underway some resolutions enthusiastically made on the first day of 2016 have already been broken. That’s OK, just keep trying.

I remember making the same resolution to quit smoking for five years in a row until the year I did it 10 years ago. My habit had been with me for more than 50 years so it was tough to give up. I love the fact I have never taken a puff since the day I quit and still feel so good about the accomplishment.

Whatever it is you hope to accomplish, leaving a bad habit behind or adopting a good one, just keep striving. You can do it. Try my method; self-bribery. I totaled up the cost per month (much less 10 years ago) of smoking and thought of many item I would better enjoy spending that money on. If you don’t want to do the math, look online to see the shocking truth about how much you are spending. I made a plan to deposit the amount in a special bank account where I would see it grow. The account was earmarked for my use to spend as I wished.

A friend had told me he used the patches successfully so I bought the Step One and began the process. The directions said you could continue to smoke but should be able to cut back. I would light up, take a few puffs and stub it out, leaving it handy. Later I would re-light it and take a couple additional drags. After using the Step Ones twice, and continuing to puff occasionally, I moved on to Step Two. When I was ready for Step Three, I did a double-take when I saw the price.

The cost of the Step Three patches was actually more than the cost of a carton of cigarettes. Decision time had arrived, I went home without the patches. I took my open pack of smokes and set them next to my easy chair and declared, “I quit.” I dragged that open pack around for years before I finally knew for sure my addiction had ended.

Don’t give up trying to quit, get some help. Most states offer free assistance. Michigan has a Michigan Tobacco Quit Line; 1-800-Quit-Now (784-8669) available 24/7. They provide free replacement products if you make commitments to quit.

Whew! That’s a lot of counseling but better to hear it from someone who’s been there — it may stick.

The two long holiday weekends, with work and school breaks, provided lots of families time to travel and enjoy activities together. Pat and I were happy to re-connect with a couple of 18-year-old twins we watched grown up over the years. Granddaughters of dear friends of ours who have passed, they sure brightened our holidays as we reminisced years gone by. When they were tiny tykes, we photographed them wearing lifejackets in our pool for an article I was writing on boating safety. Now they are honor students at Michigan State University and looking forward to bright futures.

The holiday programming on TV was a welcome break from the constant political barrage. Back to reality however as this morning I noted the “Don and the Dame” duking it out. Another image showed our president was again attempting to take on gun control with a new plan. I’m afraid the effort will be too little too late and not become part of his legacy. It’s too bad he didn’t try harder to solve the problem of the shrinking middle class which has left millions feeling left out.

As we continue to look forward to the presidential election, still in the distant future, we can only hope the list of impossible undertakings and improbable promises begins to shrink.

As I see it, how about a resolution to make new friends and find more time for old ones? It’s an easy one to keep and will make all of us happier.

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