January 1: Make an anger punch list.
Identify five sources of minor, senseless daily fury in your life (your coffee machine that leaks coffee, your coat with the hole in the pocket where you store your keys) and stop them in one life-changing burst of effort. Hire a trainer; break out a needle and thread; be calmer and more senselessly content.
January 8: End the photo horror.
Give yourself a lesson on how to look slender, sparkle-eyed and luminous in photos. Then grab a friend and have her take 30 practice shots a day for one full week. Instagram can't do everything.
January 15: Invest in a bag of impressive marshmallows.
These light, sugary confections are one place where you can really distinguish yourself as a thoughtful and fun host, mostly because nobody thinks about them. The next time you invite a possible friend-to-be over for a coffee (or hot cocoa), turn her beverage heaven-flavored, with a chocolate chip, maple and brown sugar, or white chocolate cranberry cube of melted fluff.
January 22: Throw a problem-solving dinner party.
Identify your biggest obstacle, and instead of emailing or calling up your friends, invite six of the wisest people you know over to eat pasta and fix your life. Studies show that proximity makes a difference when it comes to finding solutions—for instance, the best scientific research is done when scientists work within roughly 30 feet of each other.
January 29: Rent a pair of snowshoes.
Working out indoors, day after day, will kill your resolve to get fit. Give yourself a cold-weather field trip and big-foot it through your nearest park. Snowshoeing burns up to 45 percent more calories than walking or running and also improves your balance, agility and leg strength.
February 5: Find an underdog team to cheer for.
Everybody needs at least one screaming fan. Our pick last year: Afghanistan's national men's basketball team. Who needs your hysterical cheering in 2012?
February 12: Finally use the fondue pot you stole from your mother's house or received as a wedding present.
To liven up the bubbling caldron of predictable cheese, skip the bread. Slices of fried sausage, soft pretzels, mini meatballs, steamed broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, toast points and bread sticks make delicious, unexpected dippers.
February 19: Forgive one person.
It doesn't have to be the person who hurt you the most. It doesn't have to be a person who's still alive. But it must be someone you have or have had some kind of relationship with. Forgiving a misbehaving celeb or historical figure—Lindsay Lohan, Mel Gibson, Marie Antoinette—however appealing, doesn't count.
February 26: Revamp your après-workout routine.
Do the five-minute cooldown suggested by the elliptical trainer computer instead of hopping off and hitting the showers, complete at least seven stretches and knock back a glass of chocolate milk. The drink provides the ideal mix of carbs, protein and hydrating fluids to help your muscles recover.
March 4: Find yourself a reverse mentor.
There are some things the younger generation knows that you don't. Some examples: how to wakeboard, how to find a King Krule video and what the heck emoji are. Buddy up with a savvy person at least 10 years younger and learn a few skills that might just come in useful for your career, your online social life and your ability to relate to 52 percent of the planet.
Published on Dec 18, 2011