Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 5.37.31 PM by Eric Ginsburg

  1. Korean food

Seriously, if you haven’t already, you’re cheating yourself. Fix this immediately.

2. Plan day trips

Go to the Eden Drive-In theater, tube the Dan River, drive to Lexington for some barbecue, take your dog to Pilot Mountain… I don’t care so much what you do, as much as that you do it. There’s too much within an hour’s drive not to regularly make excursions out of the Triad, and the best way to succeed repeatedly is to plan ahead.

3. Unwind with a record instead of a show

Like many of you, my go-to is to head for Netflix or Hulu after work to decompress. Too often, I only listen to music in the background. But if you’re able, try cranking up an album and actually immersing yourself in the music to chill while your screens are out of sight. I recommend the blues, or something from high school.

4. Keep your own resolutions

Whether you call them resolutions or just plans or goals, write down whatever else you come up with on your own and maybe share them with someone else to help hold yourself accountable.

5. But allow yourself some flexibility

… Because life happens, and you can only control so much. Bend when you must so that you don’t break.

6. Go to High Point

Seriously. Schedule at least one afternoon in the Third City. Scour our archives for a reason or keep an eye on the paper until something jumps out. Brown Truck Brewing will open soon, I’ve highlighted Penny Path Café creperie and my colleague’s written extensively about the Rich Fork Preserve. High Pointers, you’ve got a head start on completing this list.

7. Watch an entire city council meeting

Just one. I recommend trying this at home with a friend, tuning into the public access channel, and making it a drinking game. You could start by taking a sip every time a council member is clearly off topic, but you’ll quickly come up with better ideas.

8. Join the club

Doesn’t matter if it’s a book club, intramural sport, an arts organization or something you dream up. The idea is to carve out dedicated time to try something new that involves other people, preferably that includes meeting new folks. Extra points for anything that meets more than monthly.

9. Cooking a new dish each month

The trick to learning to cook more things is to create a habit, I’m convinced, and one thing a month seems like a feasibly low bar. Pick a recipe to try on the first of the month and try to schedule a night to go for it.

10. Go to a protest

Regardless of whether you participate, go witness a protest firsthand. If you’ve never attended one it might seem intimidating, but you can watch from across the street or from a nearby storefront. Hear people air their grievances firsthand rather than via Facebook or an intermediary (such as TCB). Maybe you used to be a regular but haven’t attended a protest in a while, or maybe this is a learning moment and you could bring your kids along. If you disagree with the message, focus on the act of witnessing rather than arguing.

11. Chill

This could mean a variety of things, and I intend all of them. But in particular, try to remember it when you’re mad, taking a moment to collect yourself, if only slightly, before reacting. Sometimes it can save you a world of anguish later.

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