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Exercise more. Drink less. Travel. Save money.
These are your unoriginal regurgitated New Year’s resolutions. And they are getting pretty tiresome, especially considering the vast majority of you never fulfill them, choosing instead to wallow in the banality of your own existence, and roll them over again next year.
So stop telling yourself that you are going to take the stairs, cut back on the $6 Starbucks lattes, or park as far away from the Whole Foods entrance as you can, and just follow my advice…
1. Take a vow of silence. Join CrossFit. Do P90X. Detox in January. Become a vegan. Sell your TV. Train for a marathon. Start the Paleo diet. Go for any or all of these, but please shut the fuck up about it.
2. Read more. Yes, that’s a permanent boring fixture on most people’s lists, but this year, be more specific and realistic. Make a list of 10 books to read, a healthy mix of fiction and non-fiction. Throw in a couple of classics that you’re embarrassed you never read in college. Purchase the hardcover copies, and keep them as a small trophy of your accomplishment. The Economist puts together a great “Books of the Year” list, but I’ll get you started with “The Private Life of Chairman Mao.”
3. Befriend a World War II veteran. Spend time with him. Talk to him. Because there aren’t too many of them left. I certainly regret not helping the red-coated Chelsea Pensioners with their Tesco’s bags down the King’s Road.
4. Wash your hands more frequently. An actual study has shown that the average New Yorker indirectly touches 24 penises per day, and twice as many if they work at 1585 Broadway.
5. Take an online course. Why continue talking hollowly about self-improvement when leading colleges and graduate schools, including Duke, Wharton, and MIT, are investing significant resources into free education. Ironically, statistics have shown that it tends to be the better-educated and wealthier who take advantage of this. But, who among us couldn’t benefit from knowing more about accounting, marketing, child psychology, or real estate and contract law?
6. Watch “The Sopranos” from start to finish. Even if you’ve already seen it.
7. Freshen up the starting lineup in your wardrobe. Go get 2 new suits, 10 dress shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of shoes, and 50 pairs of socks. Maybe this guide will help. Why? For the same reason that Michael Jordan wore a brand-new pair of shoes every single game.
8. Avoid extreme and unrealistic health pledges. Eat right, exercise sensibly, and drink mostly in moderation; it’s not rocket science.
9. Drink more green tea. Add manuka honey and some fresh ginger.
10. Skip the dramatic savings scheme. Don’t go crazy with unrealistic goals about how much you’re going to save this year. Keep it simple; spend less than you make, and save up for the big-ticket items until you can afford them. There’s no need for an extreme savings plan, so be sensible… but don’t forget to enjoy your expendable income.
12. Write down your goals. Most people never fulfill their resolutions, but the people who write them down have a proven higher success rate. Take it a step further and make a list of what you want to accomplish each day, week, and month. Just write them down and check them off the old-fashioned way. And tell Mr. There’s-an-App-for-that to go fuck himself.
13. Go get a comprehensive health exam. Make your partner get one too.
14. Put your phone away at dinner.
15. Laugh more. That means: socialize more often, drink more, have long lazy brunches, throw parties, host drunken game nights. Be spontaneous… Upgrade your friends if necessary.
16. Don’t just rely on the gym. Remember that feeling of playing a competitive sport as a kid, when you’re on the field, and not thinking about anything else. Most of us have forgotten what that feels like. So join a team or find someone to play tennis with.
17. Drink more. I’m not contradicting myself from earlier… If you’re healthy, eating well, and exercising, then your body can handle a few more drinks every now and then. There is nothing wrong with the occasional black out, and you’re just going to lie to your doctor anyway. “At most, maybe 15 to 17 units per week, doc.”
“The 1st bottle is for health, the 2nd for love, and the 3rd for sleep.” – Eubulus, 350 BC
18. Help a pet get adopted, if for no other reason than to prove that you can. I’ll get it started with Spirit and Peony currently residing at the North Shore Animal League shelter in Port Washington, New York. (Tweet me; I’ll pay for the adoption fees.)
“WASPs kiss their wives on the forehead and their dogs on the mouth.”
19. Get a regular foot massage. A dark room. No TV. No loud voices. It’s the most peaceful and productive 75 minutes I have every week. I go on Saturdays with the Weekend FT and The Economist.
20. Stay in on New Year’s Eve. It’s amateur night and it rarely lives up to your expectations anyhow. Get dressed up, strap on the Patek, go out for some Per Se gnocchi and get drunk on Krug? That sounds like my Tuesdays. This year, stay in… And then start January 1st early and productively..