We’ve taken out the hard part out of your New Year's resolutions, so pick the two or three you're most likely to stick to, and get cracking.
1 | Make the most of your commute
Fitness blogs love casually suggesting you wake up an hour earlier and head down to the gym (exercising before breakfast burns up to 20% more body fat) but have you actually tried waking up at 6am in January, with your breath misting around you and that bedside glass of water having formed its own ice cubes overnight?
A more attractive option is to use your commute as your exercise slot and run home from work. It’ll likely take around the same time as your over-packed tube trip or gridlocked bus home, plus you won’t have to put up with city workers jamming their elbow in your face as they jabber away on their iPhones all the way home.
2 | Skip that last episode of The Sopranos
It makes sense when you think about it, but it turns out that squeezing in that final episode of your latest boxset just before bedtime doesn’t lead to the most productive night’s sleep. The science behind this is that the bright light of a TV or tablet stimulates the brain, delaying the production of melatonin, the hormone essential for a good night’s sleep – never mind what watching Tony Soprano whacking mob rats or Jon Snow chopping up Wildlings in Game Of Thrones will do to your dreams.
If you absolutely must watch TV before bed, but still want to sleep well, choose comedy. It's a fact that laughter helps you relax.
3 | Remember: no one's ever written a novel in a week
If 2016 is the year you set out to write your East Of Eden, we wish you all the best, but remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your literary career won’t spring up over night. Set yourself the task of writing 200 words a day, and you’ll be surprised how much you’ve achieved by the end of the winter.
In the words of the late Ray Bradbury “Action is hope. At the end of each day, when you’ve done your work, you lie there and think, Well, I’ll be damned, I did this today…At the end of a year, you look back and say, I’ll be damned, it’s been a good year.”
4 | Put that marathon on hold
You’re getting back into fitness and shedding the pounds. Great. But do you really want to dive in by signing up to a punishing 10 mile fun run straight away?
Sure, it might be great for shifting that festive weight, but a much more attainable goal is to ease yourself back into it with a five mile run, two nights a week. You’re less likely to injure yourself and less likely to talk yourself out of it after gasping your way through a premature half-marathon in the local gym.
5 | Don’t waste time on football
Calm down. We’re not suggesting you sack off the beautiful game this year (although it may be tempting at times). Instead, we’d like to introduce a life-changing theory about watching football which scientifically* proves that you’ll free up 76% more time and witness more goals per minute by just watching the second half of each match, saving you time and meaning you're less likely to tear your hair out when your team's 3-0 down at half time.
*may not be actual science.
6 | Learn a language one word at a time
Mandarin, Spanish, Russian - whatever language you want to be celebrating the arrival of 2016 in, may we suggest that language classes are not the way to go? Yes, you get a structured routine with other people to practice with, but who has time for a two hour class every Tuesday, plus homework?
Instead, be the master of your own bi-lingual destiny with the Duolingo app. It’s free and breaks down nine different languages into bitesized interactive lessons to keep you busy on your commute. What’s more, they’ll even send you a text if you’re not up to your daily target. Muy bien.
7 | Upgrade your crockery. Eat less.
It’s been proven that the colour blue suppresses appetite due to the fact that not much of what we eat is naturally that colour, making food on a blue plate look out of place. A quick and easy weightloss solution? Buy blue plates.
Also, with the exception of the French, you’re unlikely to find a person who chows down post-8pm and retains their waistline, so eat earlier to give yourself more time to digest your egg and chips.
8 | Top up your wallet without subjecting yourself to medical testing.
It can be difficult - what with rising house prices and all these things we’re constantly being told to buy - to survive each month on the fruits of your 9-5 grind. While the entrepreneurial among us may have fingers in a variety of pies, a simple way to make more money is by renting out your over-valued flat during your holidays.
It’s a simple idea, and websites like Air BnB can help ensure anyone you invite to come and rummage through your fridge for the week is strictly above board.
9 | Stop hating your hair
If you’re in a full-time job that requires you to wear a shirt most of the time, it makes sense that you’d fork out a little bit more for a haircut that you’re actually going to feel happy with.
There are seven steps to selecting the perfect barber, from being realistic, to remembering that loyalty isn’t everything. Brent Pankhurst - of Pankhurst London - claims that finding a barber that fits “your aesthetic” is the most important step.
10 | Learn to tweet like a pro
You’ve tried hashtags, you’ve tried attaching a picture of your dog watching TV, you’ve tried endlessly retweeting Russell Brand, but still, your Twitter count is lingering around the low hundreds. U.S. comedian Rob Delaney (1.12m followers and counting) has ten golden rules for Twitter success. Our favourite? “Decide what you want to do with your tweet. Entertain or Inform.” Get this right and you’ll tweet yourself towards a blue tick in no time.
11 | Get to know the downward facing dog
An hour long yoga class at 10am on a Sunday morning is clearly a bit of an effort. Instead, get up just half an hour earlier each day and practice on your own. It’s much easier to keep up and will clear your head for the day to come. The Yoga Studio app is a good place to start.
12 | Catch up on culture
Take a paperback or your iPad along to the gym, set yourself up on the cycling machine, and away you go. Not only will you feel culturally nourished, you’ll be more likely to workout for longer, if only to find out what’s going to happen to Keith Talent.
13 | Break out some new skills in the bedroom
No matter how good you think you are, another little pointer is always welcome, yes? However, you can do without the internal embarrassment of Googling ‘sex tips’ or worse, thumbing through your girlfriend’s magazine collection.
14 | Learn that there’s more to wine than ‘red or white’
Wine. We’ve all got drunk on it at some point or another, but for most of us, our wine knowledge extends to ‘red wine with steak, white with chicken or fish’ and no further.
If you want to really impress the in-laws at the dinner table this year, you need a foolproof guide to pretending you know about wine, without having to actually go to wine tasting classes or read any books. What you need is a blagger's guide to wine. Something you can read in three minutes, then reel off for the rest of your life. Something exactly like this.
15 | Get black tie right
You’re going to be successful this year, right? In a just world, that means you’ll be invited to lots of parties, weddings, and possibly even the odd awards do. With this in mind you need to know how to nail the black tie look. Our very own Jeremy Langmead can help.
16 | Perfect your signature dish
Every man needs a signature dish, so make 2016 the year you discover/upgrade yours. Base it around something you always have in the cupboard to save money and ensure you always have an impressive meal on standby. Flawless spaghetti Bolognese or Chili Con Carne are a good place to start. The trick is finding that one special ingredient that gives the dish that kick, and makes it yours and yours alone.
17 | Take more time for you
In an ideal world we’d all spend long hours contemplating life by gently babbling brooks dappled with early summer sunlight. In reality, the only time you probably get to yourself are the few moments between ordering your coffee and the barista thrusting a tepid cardboard carton into your hand.
To successfully make more time for yourself this year you need to get creative. Pulling a sickie is the perfect place to start. Here’s our guide to avoiding rookie mistakes.
18 | Complete life and become the happiest man in the world
Sort of the ‘final boss’ when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, but isn’t everything you're planning ultimately geared towards being happier?
We’re not claiming to have discovered the solution to a topic countless philosophers, writers, artists and religious figures have dedicated their lives to, but we do have a few suggestions that will make you happier, day to day, from making 2016 the year you finally sack off that annoying mate to tricking yourself into feeling confident.
What's on your list?