With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve decided to republish a classic piece each Sunday to help our newer readers discover some of the best, evergreen gems from the past. This article was originally published in December 2019.
When it comes to New Year’s goals and resolutions, not all are created equal. Below we suggest 16 that offer a whole lot of ROI. Some take only a few minutes; others represent simple changes; all will positively transform your life and help you become a better man.
While it’s very doable to do all 16 this year, if you’re daunted, just pick a few to concentrate on. Heck, just commit to accomplishing one; if you adopt a single new practice each year, in a decade your life will be ten positive habits richer.
1. Get a Real Alarm Clock
The first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night serve as the bookends of your day, setting a limit on what they’ll be able to “hold,” and sending a potent signal to yourself as to what you think is most important. If the first and final thing you do every day is look at your phone, you’re creating a shallow, distracted foundation for what lies in between. So keep your phone out of your room at night, use a regular “old school” alarm clock to wake up in the morning, and don’t touch your phone when you rise until after you’ve done something (prayer, meditation, push-ups) that represents the man you’re going to be that day.
2. Read One Book Every Week
The average book takes about five to seven hours to read. That means if you read just one hour a day or less, you can read one book every single week of the year. Everyone’s got an hour a day to repurpose for reading: cut out one hour of Netflix at night; read a half hour at lunch and a half hour in the evening; read during your subway commute; read in the small snatches of spare moments that arise throughout your day. (You can find our best tips for reading more in general here.) Can you imagine how much better of a man you’ll be at the end of the year when you’ve read 52 books?
3. Drink Nothing But Water
What a colossal waste of calories caloric beverages are. They simply don’t taste that great (especially if we’re talking about soda), and have little to no nutritional value. If you want a treat, at least consume something you can chew! Drinking nothing but water is the very easiest way to lose weight; people can often drop significant poundage and improve their all-around health profile just by making this move. You could tackle this goal while still drinking diet soda and making occasional allowances for alcohol, but you’d be better off cutting out those too in favor of pure H2O.
4. Start a Strength Training Program
No matter if you’re currently sedentary, or do cardio, and nothing but cardio, you could benefit from adding resistance training to your life. Strength training improves your overall health, helps you lose weight, boosts your testosterone, and makes you feel more virile in general. Not sure where to start? Begin with a simple novice linear progression program or sign up for online coaching with a program like Barbell Logic (which is what I personally use and have had major success with).
5. Call Your Mom Once a Week
You know she’s dying to hear from you.
6. Give at Least One Compliment Every Day
People want to be noticed and needed; they crave affirmation and recognition almost as keenly as food and water. And you can fill this human need in less time than it takes to make Cup O’ Noodles. Train yourself to be more observant of how others excel in ways big and small, and call out these accomplishments in behavior, performance, talent, style, and character. Don’t forget to regularly compliment your own family too — who we ironically are the most likely to take for granted!
7. Host a Dinner Party Once a Quarter
According to the authors of Brunch Is Hell, dinner parties can serve as the very cornerstone of a healthy modern society. Why? Because they promote life-giving relationships and civil conversation. Throwing a dinner party offers numerous benefits to the individual host as well, including offering the chance to practice your cooking and social skills, adding the tang of anticipation to your