Year 2019: Do we really have to make a New Year’s Resolution? – Part 2

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As I See It

By ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO

This is a sequel to my December 13-19, 2018 column suggesting that we make our New Year’s Resolution just the same despite the fact that most New Year’s Resolutions fail! The idea is, we still need one because it will give us a sense of purpose, giving us a goal which we aspire and aim for, compared to having no goal at all in our life as we navigate the New Year. Besides, it will make our life for 2019 more meaningful and more satisfying!

Last time, I gave you some information based on a study made in 2007 on why resolutions fail and the common reasons for better chances of achieving one’s resolutions… when we engage in goal-setting; when we make our goals public and get support from our friends; and when we talk with a counselor about our realistic goals, things that are attainable and easier to comply in order for us to have better success rate in accomplishing our resolutions.

This time, I would like to focus on two things that occupy the 4th and 5th slots of the top ten New Year’s resolutions people promise to do every year based on a survey: quit smoking and stop drinking.

I’ll focus on these two because I used to smoke heavily and drink heavily too for 30 years starting in my junior year in high school, but I managed to quit both successfully and stayed cancer-free for 35 years now.

This is my 35th years of not smoking (not even a single stick) after a long period of time smoking and my 30th year of not drinking (to my recollection, I only took two bottles of beer within that period with friend Mario Mateo in LA who didn’t believe me I stopped drinking because I was the one who taught my D’ Heartaches friends to drink and smoke when we were in high school) since I stopped drinking.

Honestly, I attempted to stop for the first time by reducing the number of cigarettes I smoke per day and also limiting the bottles of beer a day. But, this didn’t help because the urge is still there and the addiction is still in my body system. So I resumed heavy drinking and smoking again until I got sick.

When I got sick, that was the time I attempted to quit for the second time both smoking and drinking again, but this time I stopped totally cold turkey! It was just plain will and determination to quit without any substitute or reduced intake. The most difficult thing to do is to refuse something you used to take, but if there is will power, I’m telling you, we can! I did it with a lot of self-struggle convincing myself I can do it. I did it and the crucial periods were from day 1 to 3 months. After that, you will never crave for it again and even friends invite you to do it, you now have the nerve to say: NO!

So folks, it can be done and I am a living example it can be done! Here are some food for thought that helped me become successful in quitting smoking and drinking.

Foremost of which is condition your mind not to smoke and drink again. Stopping cold turkey has a lot of consequences because your craving is still there and temptations abound coming from friends who drink and smoke you used to mingle with. Substitutes such as gums and candies may help, but the real ingredients are eating a balanced diet and keeping a regular exercise pattern. These will keep you in good shape and will reduce any craving for anything disadvantageous to your health.

Another thing, which is easier said than done is: Strong will to say no! Let’s face it, it’s all in the mind. You need a strong will and determination to say no to any offer made by your friends. Turn them down! You actually need self-discipline here. It must come from you really to refuse an offer in a nice way. Let them know you are quitting, but you can still be with their company.

You need help to remind you of your resolution. Enjoin your spouse. If single, any member of your household, to remind you that you are quitting. Tell them to be actively involved in reminding you your resolution whenever they have a chance. Constant reminders will keep you focused on your resolved action. When they remind you or call your attention, don’t take it as a personal affront and consider it as a good advice.

Quitting is a manly gesture! Shying away from a vice you used to do takes a lot of nerve and guts. This is what makes you as a man! Every time you refuse things you used to do makes you stronger and respectable. It will not make you less of a man when you quit smoking or drinking. On the contrary, you are the man!

Continue socializing. When you stop smoking and drinking, it doesn’t mean that you will also ignore your friends who smoke and drink. They will respect your decision as you continue meeting them as if nothing happened and being with them even if you are not drinking. Keep them company!

Volunteer as the designated driver. They will even be grateful to you when you volunteer to be their designated driver. It will strengthen even more your friendship and your relationships with them. Also have cigarettes in your pocket ready for friends who need one.

These are simple rules but once adhered to, they will work wonders for you and help you carry out your New Year’s Resolution! Let’s remember, the issue is not failed resolutions but setting up and going for realistic goals. If only we can set up realistic goals, things that are attainable and easier to comply… we may have a better success rate in accomplishing our resolutions.

Again, if we can make our New Year’s goals and commit to these realistic resolutions, our life will even be more meaningful… it will have a direction, there is a goal we can aim for and look forward to.

Can we do it? Yes, you can! I did it, so you will! We can do it!

(For feedbacks, comments… please email the author @ estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).

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