Year after year, we make outlandish resolutions that we know we’re not going to keep. Stop smoking, stop drinking, lose 40 lbs, win a decathlon, retire early, make a million dollars, it’s all ridiculous. This New Years, we should all aspire to something attainable — or even several of them. These are 15 must-do New Year resolutions; while just one of them is enough to make your year a little better, accomplishing several can potentially make a huge difference in any guy’s life.
Lose Some Weight
Nearly all of us could stand to lose a few pounds. That doesn’t mean we should set some unattainable goal and kill ourselves trying to hit it — that almost always results in failure. We should make a smaller step toward the greater good; we should try for something simple like ten pounds. Dropping ten pounds can be done relatively easily, and once it’s happened you’d be amazed at how much you want to keep the momentum going. Couple this with a couple of other suggestions on this list, and you’ve got yourself a whole new healthier lifestyle before you know it.
Update Your Wardrobe
Guys tend to get into a rut when it comes to their wardrobe and fashion sense. The same t-shirt and jeans from last year won’t do. As much as it pains most guys, we need to spend a little more time, a little more often, clothes shopping. The great thing about this one is the sheer volume of websites available for doing this from home, so once you’ve got all your sizes down, you can pretty much go on miniature sprees in your downtime. Just don’t over do it, nice clothes can be as expensive as electronics, and if you’re not careful you could go broke before you ever wear your new stuff.
Make at Least One Trip
It’s no secret that women appreciate a well-traveled guy, but the fact is that most guys don’t even travel more than 100 miles from home. It’s not difficult to get away, and with cheap prices on plane tickets available throughout the year there just isn’t any reason not to make a trip. We recommend you go all out, just this once, and make a trip to someplace far, far away. The experience is worth the added cost, and it doesn’t even have to be a long trip, so time off work can be minimized.
Get a Raise, Promotion, or New Job
This isn’t for everyone, just those who need it. Many guys are stuck in dead-end jobs, under-appreciated, under-paid, and this often leads to a downward spiral that ends in either layoffs, or an intense feeling of regret. This year make a difference in your life that affects all other aspects of your life and fix your job. If it means getting a whole new one, then look into that. Most of the time we’re too afraid to pick up stakes because we’re afraid of what may happen without the security of the status quo, but sometimes that kind of change is necessary.
Start Eating Healthier
Going hand-in-hand with losing weight, eating healthy is much easier and often more enjoyable than most guys think it is. You don’t have to stop drinking sodas, or eating burgers, or even give up your favorite vices (smokers and drinkers). It’s simply an issue of moderation; cut back a little on a few things, switching to diet soda can lead to a nearly instant drop of five to ten pounds, and eating in instead of out can lead to similar results. Blood pressure, cholesterol and energy levels all are affected as a bonus.
Actually Learn How to Launder Clothes
We’re not talking about just doing the laundry here, most of us know how to do that well enough. This is about doing it correctly, minimizing color bleeds, keeping fabrics in like-new condition, ironing what needs ironed and washing or drying by hand what needs it. This is the stuff we all watched mom do when we were kids and never understood, the rocket science sort of laundering. Learning it allows for investing in better clothes, and keeping them looking new for much longer. With the average cost of clothing climbing a bit higher every year, it’s something we should all attempt to master.
See a Favorite Band Live in Concert
This may sound like a no-brainer, but the number of guys who have never even been to a concert is a bit staggering. We should all go to a concert from time to time; live music is a uniquely cultural experience that we can all enjoy and it’s a seriously good time. This year, make it a point to find out when some of your favorite bands will be playing live, and where. Grab the tickets early and plan the trip accordingly, you won’t be sorry you did it — it’s just a matter of actually doing it.
Go Get a Check-Up
Men are notorious for shunning the doctor’s office, no matter what. Whether it’s the dentist’s office, the optometrist, or a regular check-up for your man-parts (something extremely important), we should all get a little quicker to make that phone call and set up an appointment to go be seen. If you’ve got the insurance to cover it, use it. If you don’t, there are deals made in every city; at least one doctor in town will have a cheap check-up for people who don’t have great insurance. It’s worth the money, we’re talking about your health.
Build Some Muscle
The final part of the physical betterment package, building muscle is entirely separate from losing weight or fixing up your bad dieting habits. Actually building muscle can be beneficial to your overall health, and your girl won’t mind it one bit either. For the guys who don’t have a girl to impress, this may help fix that. It’s easy enough, spend a little time, every day or every other day. You don’t need a gym membership and you don’t even need to spend money on expensive weight sets, there are all sorts of ways to cheaply fabricate weights and there are plenty of workout ideas online for guys to take advantage of. The only step necessary is to actually do it.
Find a Hobby You Like
This is a big one, for as simple as it sounds. The sad fact is that for most guys, the age-old idea of a hobby is a dead one. Guys tend to slump into the daily routine, often consisting of watching TV, going to the bar, working out and playing video games — then repeating. This resolution only requires that you toss one thing into that regular daily mix of activities. It can be one of the classics; say you’ve got some artistic talent, you can start sketching again, or guys with cameras can get back into photography. If you love mountain climbing or hiking, there are resources available to make those hobbies a (healthy) reality, too. The newest of the bunch: home beer brewing. It’s a hobby that’s fun, social, and makes beer — that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Watch Four Classic Films
We picked the number four here because it lets you commit to something just every three months. The goal is to pick four truly classic films, films that every man has heard reference to but probably never bothered watching themselves. The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca are a couple of great choices to start with, and the potential list can go on forever. This is a great one because many guys realize in doing it that they love old movies, and guess what — a lot of girls like them too.
Donate, Help, or Volunteer Once a Month
This one’s a bit tough to sell, we’ll admit it. The catch is that you don’t need to volunteer at a soup kitchen to volunteer, you can spend some time at an animal shelter, or coach kids at little league, even go help out in retirement communities. Volunteering isn’t the only way to help out, either. There are literally thousands of charitable organizations available, and every dollar does inevitably help someone. Even if you commit to giving a few bucks to somebody who needs it or helping someone out just a little, once or twice a week, that’s making a difference that you can feel good about.
Read Three Classic Novels
Like the movies, we’ve chosen a number that allows you to spread this resolution out across the whole year; this time it’s four months allotted per book. Every man should read, but we realize that it gets exceedingly difficult to actually set aside the time and energy required to do it these days. Four months should be plenty of time, regardless of how big the book is, so choose three good ones and get creative. There’s nothing wrong with leaving it in the bathroom, either.
Update Your Place (Or at Least Clean It)
Guys are notorious pack-rats. We move into a place, we furnish it, we collect stuff and we rarely clean. Cardboard boxes from U-Haul and Ikea do not count as furniture, nor do mounds of bottles or newspaper. It’s expensive to outfit a place, we’ll give you that, but the payoff is tremendous. Commit to actually updating your place, furnishing it with grown-up stuff, and most importantly — commit to cleaning it regularly. Women notice these sorts of things, and once you see how nice your place can be, you’ll never want to let it slip again.
Build One Thing From Scratch
As silly as it sounds, this one is possibly our favorite on the list. Actually building things from scratch is a dying trend, and it saddens us as it should sadden men everywhere. Take the time to actually build something this year; it doesn’t have to be anything monumental like a 60-foot gundam, or even as well-crafted as a canoe. Just build something. You may enjoy the process (and reward) so much, that you turn around and decide to build something else. What happens after that is golden.