Martino: New Year's Resolutions

Editors Note: This week, John Martino's column was not printed on Saturday due to server maintenance. He will continue to appear on Saturday mornings.

The ball has dropped, the calendar changed and for the next several weeks we’ll find ourselves putting the wrong year on checks and other documents. Last year flew by like a high-powered bass boat pushed by 300 horses.

We’ve handed out our gifts, stuffed our faces past the point of putting ourselves in a food-induced coma and now begin with the customary list of New Year’s resolutions that don’t make it past Super Bowl weekend.

Without question, 2016 has left most of us reveling in our successes and shaking our heads at our failures. But the New Year is a time to wipe the slate clean, hopefully making the upcoming year even better than the last. For some that may mean eating healthier, shedding a few pounds or tackling projects that have been on the back burner.

Every time I hear the word “resolution,” I automatically think of something doomed for failure. But to be honest, just being around to enjoy the start of another year is cause enough for celebration.

This year I have chosen not to call my plans “resolutions.” In the past I have made plenty of them. While a few may have panned out, others, well, let’s just say they were doomed from the start.

While everyone is working on their “eat less and lose weight” list of personal commitments, those with a passion for any outdoor activity should make a list of their own. That’s one reason I like this time of the year. It provides us with a new starting point.

Cell phones, televisions, computers, video games and social media continually pull people from the outdoors. Especially our younger generation, which happens to be the most important group that needs to be engaged.

Let’s work together to increase those who take in an outdoor activity. Start with your child, grandkid or neighbor’s child. Introduce them to what you enjoy doing. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Show others there is much more to life than staring at a stale screen.

It’s no secret the number of single-parent households continues to increase. We should take the opportunity to teach one youngster about the rewarding activities of not just hunting and fishing, but any outdoor pursuit, which there are many.

Contribute to a worthwhile conservation fund or wildlife organization. From rich wetlands, national forests and fields to open waters, these lands are our most important natural resources. They are being compromised with each passing year and if they fail to exist, we are not far behind. Once gone, they will never return so we need to do our part, no matter how small, in trying to protect them.

They say happiness is the only true measure of personal success. Making other’s happy to me is the highest expression of success, but that is almost impossible unless you are happy yourself.

To all the readers of this column, I sincerely hope you are able to do whatever is necessary to make 2017 your happiest year ever. Time waits on no one and the older we get the more we should realize how precious our time spent on earth truly is. That’s why it should be important to make a commitment to yourself, not to squander any opportunity to spend time outdoors with family and friends.

So how about we use the new year to enrich and fulfill our own lives and those of others. Then let’s meet back here next year to see how things are going. Happy New Year.