I have been giving up alcohol some time in each New Year for the past many years. I find it kind of funny that suddenly it’s all the rage; as if abstinence from beer and booze is some kind of a new thing.

It’s not.

In fact, I know a lot of people that skip drinking every year during Lent. It is a time to slow down, relax and remember everything you said and did on Saturday night for once.

As far as New Year’s resolutions go, I’m guessing that over the last 100 years it is easily in the top 10 for such personal promises. I mean Dry January is nice but maybe it’s just a good first step.

Here’s a list of things people could try to give up in the New Year that might have more significance:

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1.   Stop talking about things you know nothing about. It is funny when you listen to people regurgitate ‘facts’ from internet posts and refuse to believe you when you explain they are wrong.

2.   Don’t write nasty things to people on social media you wouldn’t say to their face or in front of your grandmother. I mean do you wonder what these tough guys would say if you were actually standing right there?

3.   Do not text and drive. Seriously! I see people every single day staring at the phone in their hand and not the road in front of them. And when I say texting, I mean using your phone for anything that means you are taking your eyes off from everything in front of you.

4.   Stop parroting things you hear and start thinking for yourself.  Do a little research on important topics. Like what really is a Constitutional Crisis anyway? Here’s a clue: we are not having one right now.

5.   Give more to charity. Try to look out for those that can really use a hand. Find a place that is in line with your priorities and support them.

6.   Support local companies and businesses that are in your neighborhood. Afterall not only is politics local- so is the economy and you can help boost the numbers on your block.

7.   Be positive and not pessimistic. There are simply too many people anymore that just seem to look at what’s wrong with everything. Frankly, it wears me out. You’ve got to find something good in the world, around you every single day and I challenge you to do that.

8. Spend more time with your friends and family. Yes, I know, it sounds trite but remember every year you get older you lose someone that meant something to you. Sometimes this can hit very close to home. Someday it will be you and wouldn’t it be better if you leave behind some nice memories of the time you spent with the people you care about most?

9. Tell people when they are doing a good job. The look on the face of a waitress or the guy changing your oil is really something when you say, “hey you’re doing a great job and I appreciate it.” I just don’t think people say thank you enough. You can make a complete stranger’s day or someone you love with such a simple thing as thank you.

10. Pull the plug. I mean turn off the phone, the computer, the TV and every other electric playmate. Let it be quiet for a while and let the calmness permeate through you. You have no idea how refreshing that can be until you do it a couple times. Once you do, I think you will keep doing it. It is very centering.

11. Fish more. For me this is part of my therapy. Fly fishing is one of the things I dream about. Clear, cold, deep streams with sparkling riffles and a fresh hatch. The clean whips of a 5 pound rod in the morning air and the rise of a beautiful trout meeting the fly as it settles in the current. “Fish on!” are among the greatest words in the English language when used together. I am starting to slip into my happy place right now.

Most of all be thankful for what you have. Count your blessings and consider the wonderful things in your life. I find it hard to be angry or sour when I stop and consider how many wonderful things I have in my life. Sometimes you just need to stop and say, ‘thank you God for all you have given me’.

Oh, Happy New Year!