52 tricks to make everything better in 2018
Well, 2018 is just around the corner and you have 52 weeks to make it your best year yet. So, to help you do just that, we’ve pulled together 52 things to do this year to make just about every aspect of your life, well, better.
From style tips to travel intel to ways to amp up your fitness and overall health, add one of these tips to your calendar each week of the new year starting with January 1. Happy new year!
1. Buy a bomber jacket already
The bomber jacket is constantly worn by celebrities, musicians and athletes alike (from Tom Brady and Calvin Harris to Dwayne Johnson and Bradley Cooper)—and for good reason. The jacket adds a cool, casual and comfortable look to your wardrobe without compromising style, and they’re a great option to have along with jean and sports jackets. Thankfully, the bomber jacket isn’t going anywhere; they’re a huge style trend for men’s fashion in 2017. Expect them to be upgraded with more quality fabrics, softer colors, and better fits for all body types in the coming year. Check out these 11 options we pulled together.
2. Master the fitness basics
Make sure you’ve perfected these super six exercises: squat, deadlift, chest press, overhead press, pulldown, and row. After that, everything else is gravy, strength-training-wise.
3. Upgrade your camping gear
We won’t judge you if you get around with a satchel on a stick but your camping gear must be in tip-top shape. Assuming you’ve been using the same essentials for years, upgrade for newer, shinier, and more modern equipment. This includes more lightweight and durable tents, cozier sleeping bags, glow-in-the-dark water bottles, portable camp stoves and weather-proof area lights.
4. Eat your veggies first
You’ll load up on all those good nutrients, and, since you eat more when you’re hungriest, you’ll fill up on fiber. (Check out these 10 best sources of fiber!)
5. Go to Spain
Suffering its worst recession in history, Spain is undergoing a major comeback that has Americans coming in droves, especially since the dollar is majorly in their favor. Travelers can have high-end experiences on a poor man’s budget. Start in Madrid for amazing sangria, world-renowned museums like The Prado, killer nightlife and a slew of new luxury hotels like Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques (rooms from $300 a night), a five-star hotel in a former 19th-century palace that’s just steps from all the action. Head south to Malaga, an underrated resort town in Costa del Sol, where the rooftop bar at AC Hotel Malaga Palacio offers mind-blowing, 360-degree views of the port city and ancient town. The destination of the moment is Estepona, an excellent beach town reminiscent of Venice Beach, California with its new wall murals, outdoor cafes, and sublime beaches. Shack up at Kempinski Hotel Bahia (rooms from $260), a five-star seaside resort that offers luxurious rooms, electric bikes, excellent spa, and the best rib-eye steak in town. End your visit at the new Hard Rock Hotel (rooms from $283), in Tenerife, a small party island that’s rivaling Ibiza with wild, live DJ events and a wealth of outdoor activities like surfing and mountain biking.
6. Download the Waterminder App
Resolve to drink more water in 2018. You don’t feel thirst until you’re already bordering on dehydration. Don’t stress on the eight cups a day, though—just keep it flowing in general.
7. Watch your favorite shows anywhere on Earth
TV has never been better with binge-worthy shows across several platforms, from cable to online networks. Pretty soon, you won’t need WiFi to stream them. Amazon Prime allows users to download their favorite shows on their electronic devices to view at a later time, and Youtube Red recently offered offline viewing for subscribers. Now, Netflix features the same benefit, and it’s only a matter of time before competitors like Hulu and HBO follow suit. Invest in a tablet or iPad and watch popular shows like The OA almost anywhere in the world, whether it’s killing time at jury duty or days-long voyages to Antarctica.
8. Challenge yourself in the gym
Workouts getting a little rote? Increase the weight, change up the rep scheme, or try a new exercise that pushes your limits.
9. Buy a better office chair
It’s no myth sitting down for long periods of time truly has a negative impact on your body—but a bad office chair makes it even worse. Standard office chairs can add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs, promote slouching, and fail to provide lumbar support. A chair that helps a neutral body position and allows your vertebrae to remain aligned is key to office-chair nirvana. Corechair, an active sitting ergonomic chair that has intuitive adjustments and core-strength benefits, is a good option. With any chair, remember to always get up every thirty minutes or so. Here are more ways to upgrade your workspace.
10. Become a morning person
If you’ve been having trouble keeping your lunch or evening workout routine, get up a little earlier and get the gym out of the way. It’ll suck at first as you adjust to an earlier alarm—and an earlier bedtime—but then you won’t have to worry about work (or play) getting in the way of your lifting session. There are plenty of ways to plan gym time around a weird work schedule.
11. Fly business class
Say goodbye to cramped seats in coach: business-class tickets are finally affordable. Premium seats have been reportedly much cheaper than previous years (a median airfare from NYC to London, for example, averages $2,500). The reason behind it? Cheaper fuel, record profit for airlines (which allows them to charge less for flights) and fierce competition. Even domestically, business- and first-class tickets have substantially decreased in fare, allowing passengers to actually buy the tickets rather than use miles to upgrade. Best of all, most US-based airlines have improved their premium sections. Nothing beats free booze, lie-flat seats and plated meals on long-haul journeys. When booking, remember to avoid peak times and days to get the best fare. After your seat, consider upgrading your travel gear too. A practical, lightweight and convenient slim suitcase, like Victorinox Swiss Army’s Avolve 3.0 collection, features 360-degree maneuverability, zippered expansion system and stylish, nylon-shell casing.
12. Don’t always go hard
Not only does every workout not have to be an all-out effort, it really shouldn’t be. You’ll make greater gains in the long run if you vary your intensity—and even take a day or two off every so often. Here’s how to avoid overtraining and signs you’re addicted to working out.
13. Join a frequent flier program
Airlines have made it notoriously tougher to get frequent-flier status—not to mention it’s even harder to get upgrades when business-class seat availability is shrinking thanks to cheaper prices (see number 11)—but the perks are still worth it. With most programs, even at the lowest tier, you get your checked-luggage fee waived, better seat options and priority check-in and boarding, the latter of which almost guarantees overhead bin space for your carry-on. This all becomes helpful at a time airlines are charging more fees (like United, who promises to soon charge passengers for carry-on luggage). To maximize gains with a frequent-flier program, stick with one airline alliance to fly (Skyteam, OneWorld, and Star Alliance) and pray you make the 25,000-mile requirement in one calendar year.
14. Commit to the warm up!
It’s really not a waste of time, especially if you end up pulling something because you went from 0 to 60 in your workout and you’re out entirely while it heals. Do some light cardio, mobility-based stretching, and/or some light reps before going at it.
15. Step up your dating game
For 2018, shed old habits to look and feel better in the dating scene. You’ll be surprised at how much stepping out of your comfort zone can be beneficial, proving to dates that you’re game for just about anything. Try a different cologne, a new haircut, or a new color dress shirt that still reflects your personality. Shaking up your look can help motivate you. On a date, try something you’ve never done before. See a tarot card reader for kicks, watch a foreign film, go to a themed bar, or anything else that shows your date your sense of adventure. Most importantly, be present and thoughtful during the date. Make eye contact, ask questions, put your cell phone away and absolutely do not talk about your ex. Because what’s better than a successful date? A second date.
16. Stop drinking your calories
If you’re looking to trim down, switching out juice and soda for water and unsweetened tea or seltzer can save you 100 calories or more per cup. These are the healthiest drinks you can order at a bar.
17. Implement a regular “Treat Yo’ Self” day
With a demanding girlfriend, a stressful job, little vacation days, and a rigorous gym schedule, you hardly have quality “me” time. Life is too short, so it’s time to tap into your inner Donna and Tom of Parks & Recreation, who invented “Treat Yo’ Self” day. It’s a day where it’s all about you. Cancel all calls, book a spa treatment, hit the golf range, hang with the guys and buy something for yourself like a new wallet or the latest iPhone. It’s also a good time to synchronize with your gym “cheat day” to fully indulge in the good things in life.
18. Have protein with every meal
Rather than loading up at lunch and dinner or with protein shakes—too much in one sitting may not be totally utilized for muscle building—be sure that you’re getting protein, along with a balance of fat and carbs, at every meal. Hint: Breakfast is often a missed opportunity.
19. Downward dog in the Himalayas
The health benefits of yoga are obvious, and everyone should do a little more downward dog in 2017. But even more beneficial than yoga is consistent yoga, which increases flexibility and strength to help you get past though weight training plateaus. To truly get inspired, book a trip to the Himalayas in India, where yoga is taken seriously. In Rishikesh (the actual birthplace of yoga and small town The Beatles made famous with their world-renowned visit to write songs), Ananda is the number-one rated health-themed resort in the world that specializes in 5- and 7-day yoga packages with private, one-on-one daily sessions, in addition to organic meals, lectures, and a prime location in the foothills of the Himalayas.
20. Embrace (some) cardio
A simple jump rope can become your new old-school favorite fitness toy. Use it to warm up or add aerobic intensity for active recovery between strength-training sets, or attempt a whole cardio session of hops, skips, and double-unders.
21. Take home Fido
There’s a reason why a dog is “man’s best friend,” and watching any US soldier’s tear-jerker reunion with their pup on YouTube should be enough proof. A dog brings immense joy and unbreakable companionship to someone’s life, and they’re proven to help strengthen troubled relationships. Consider adopting your new best bud from an animal shelter, rescue group, or from a responsible breeder.
22. Get fitted for running shoes
You may pay a little more for the sneaks but you’re also paying for the expertise of the staff, which is trained to help you find kicks that are right for you and your body.
23. Become a master of the universe
Interstellar, The Arrival, Star Trek, Stranger Things… planetary/astrophysical exploration is hot right now, and it only makes more sense when you can make sense of it. NASA is at an all time high for new discoveries in the past few years alone (water on Mars, Earth-like planets, etc), and astronomical subjects like super moons and Mars: The new Frontier is all the buzz. People generally have better sense of self when they examine the galaxy in which they live (not to mention bringing up parallel universe theories in conversation makes you look hella scientific). Feed your inbox with subscriptions to sites like CNN’s Space + Science or set up a Google Alert for theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, the yoda of space exploration.
24. Try a little friendly competition
Whether you join a team, challenge a friend, sign up for a race, or simply set personal goals for yourself to meet and beat, that extra impetus to better yourself will, in fact, make you better.
25. Drink green coffee
It’s tough going into that sales meeting or hitting the gym without a cup of joe, and there’s finally a way to do this without staining your teeth or upsetting your stomach. Green coffee has been trending all over the country, offering a tasty, organic option for health nuts. Green coffee is actual coffee; the only difference is that the beans aren’t roasted. Lightly sweetened with organic cane sugar, it tastes like a mix of herbal tea and black coffee combined for a great flavor. It’s also rich in antioxidants, supports weight loss and has loads of caffeine. Sunup has become the premiere packaged green coffee brand sold in shops and online, and it can be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled.
26. Take a fitness class
They’re really not just for the ladies. Classes can offer great cross training, excellent cardio, improved flexibility (hello, yoga)—and can be a fun way to mix up your routine.
27. Start a YouTube page
You may not be America’s Next Top Influencer, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your own YouTube page. It turns out that famous people have unpromoted and personal YouTube accounts, like Matthew McConaughey who likes to ramble just about anything. YouTube has given users a platform to vent, applaud, critique, perform a song, or just make silly videos with your buds. Why not use it? You’ll be surprised at how much stress you can knock out with one video upload. And who knows? You may be discovered like Justin Bieber or Andy Samberg for your awesome skills.
28. Foam roll
After hitting it hard at the gym, foam rolling (aka the poor man’s massage) can ease recovery after a particularly intense training session.
29. Give a compliment every day
Even if you don’t believe in karma, giving a compliment every day has massive perks, not only to you but also recipients. It stirs creativity, amps emotional benefits and takes your mind off any crappy thing that happened to you that day. Kindness is key to a better world, and complimenting a person helps squash bad energy. You can dish out positive, flattering remarks to your boss, strangers, lovers, waiters, classmates—there are no limits. Every day, try to compliment someone in person, in a note, email, or on Facebook. Even saying something as simple as “you’re pretty cool” puts people (including yourself) in a significantly better mood.
30. Ease into a new workout routine
When you’re coming back from a break, you shouldn’t (and probably can’t) jump back into the same load and intensity you were doing before. You’ll be really sore after (not the most encouraging feeling for getting back into the groove), and you could get hurt.
31. Get spiritual
Take it from Buddha who said: “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Life goals are far more accomplished when you have clarity and a sense of self, and you don’t have to fling yourself far to do soul searching. Meditation is as simple as taking a deep breath, and it has tons of health and mental benefits, from easing chronic pain and reducing stress and anxiety. While it may seem strange to do, successful, male icons like Hugh Jackman and Paul McCartney have publicly announced they meditate regularly. There are plenty of free apps that can get you to a place of reflection, like Calm and Headspace, and higher-consciousness gurus like Infinite Waters (Diving Deep) on YouTube and Collective Evolution has helped inspire millions to connect with thyself. Or, try Transcendental Meditation—read our story about our cover guys who practice the well-researched method.
32. Add kettlebells to your routine
They’re seriously awesome for strength training, conditioning, spurring weight loss, and improving your athletic power.
33. Spend less time on your cell phone and more in a book
Experts say we check our cell phones approximately 300 times a day. While technology is now part of our every day lives, it doesn’t need to dominate them. Make more of an effort to put the phone away at meals, meetings, and after work. Spend time with friends and family in person, take a hike in the woods, volunteer or even take a nap. Remember those paperbound things with words in it from college? They still exist! Check out the list of 2016 National Book Award winners and curl up with a great story.
No really, STRETCH. With just five minutes, 30 seconds per stretch, you can make your muscles more flexible and your range of motion more full, which will translate to more gains and less risk of injury.
35. Sport a new ‘do’
Dudes are paying attention to their grooming routines now more than ever (the men’s grooming industry brought in a record $21 billion 2016), and it’s all about the hair. The beard isn’t going anywhere (along with ‘haircare’ and ‘pomade,’ ‘beard oil’ and ‘beard balm’ were among the most Googled men’s grooming terms for 2016) and guys are getting hella creative with their hairstyles, like the man bun and technicolor dyes. Try something different, whether a subtle fade or a different shade, to sport a new look.
36. Practice moderation
When you start omitting foods or food groups that you love because you want to lose weight, you end up feeling deprived. And ultimately, after you’ve dropped the pounds, you’ll want to go back to those foods you love—and risk regaining. Practice moderation or even restriction, but not elimination.
37. Knock out knots in your own home
While a massage is nothing short of luxurious, studies have shown it helps anxiety, digestive disorders, insomnia-related stress, injuries and posture. The older we get, our joints tend to tighten more, making massages extra important when you start seeing the grays. Get in the habit of a regular massage by a regular masseuse who gets to know your body. For those on a time crunch, Soothe is an app where users can book on-demand massages with licensed and vetted therapists who come to you. You can pick the type of massage, male or female therapist, types of oil and time and day that suits you at your very own home. Best of all, a 60-minute massages is only $99, which includes tax and tip.
38. Lift for quality
Unless you’re working on very specific hypertrophy or power training goals, it’s almost always best to get a full range of motion out of every movement, which may mean slowing it down and even reducing your load or reps.
39. Upgrade your sunglasses
If you still own a pair of cheap, neon-colored sunglasses you got free at a bank giveaway, get rid of them immediately. Sunglasses are an essential part of your wardrobe, and a good pair goes a long way. Shop around for a pair that suits your style and reflects your character but also make sure it’s appropriate for the shape of your head. Wayfarer, round-frame, and aviators are timeless, and every cool dude is flashing mirrored sunglasses for 2018. You can’t go wrong with brands like Carrera and Ray-Ban.
40. Hire a trainer (once or twice)
Even one session can teach you a lot about how to improve your form and maximize your efforts in the gym. At the very least, make friends with the gym staff so you can ask for a few tips or a spot on occasion. Here’s how to find the best personal trainer for you.
41. Buy a juicer already
There’s no better time to invest in a juicer, especially with so much attention around their benefits. Juicing allows you to get fresh vegetables, fruits and loads of antioxidants into your protein shake. For instance, a one-ounce serving of chia seeds provides the body with 5 grams of Omega 3-fatty acids, and beet juice can help performance. It also makes a protein shake taste way, way better. You can even have complete meals with a juicer if you’re fasting or dieting with the right ingredients.
42. Eat local grub
Every season, find out what’s growing in your area, and try it. Or join a local CSA and have fresh local produce delivered to you. You never know what you could learn you love!
43. Drink more gin
Newsflash: sippin’ on gin and juice is actually good for you (in moderation, of course!) Myriad health benefits exist in gin, most particularly due to juniper berry, the main ingredient of the spirit, which helps lung congestion, arthritis, and joint pain, improves digestion and, despite the counterintuitive nature, helps liver disease. Thanks to gin’s natural ingredients, it’s also packed with antioxidants that help keep your skin youthful. Pink gin is all the rage, like handcrafted Gin Lane 1751, infused with naturally blended aromatic bitters, which makes for a great cocktail.
44. Buy a new gym shirt
Cotton t’s absorb rather than wick sweat, making you a soggy mess. Invest in performance materials to keep cooler—and, if you’re a runner, to save yourself the nipple-chafing.
45. Take out a boat
The peer-to-peer community (like Uber and AirBnb) has officially gone to sea. More boat owners are giving every day people the opportunity to rent their boats at affordable rates through online platforms. Boat-sharing services like Boatsetter have become a huge hit, and they connect boat owners and captains with boating enthusiasts. You can have an entire day on a private boat with a captain for as little as $150. Even superyacht owners and charters are seeing a spike in rentals over purchases, which offer huge savings (a superyacht can cost nearly $10 million dollars but renting one for the week can start as low as $115,000.) Should you want to learn how to set sail on your own, Discover Boating consolidates boat rentals, classes, and charters in one handy place.
46. Mix up your cardio
Try intervals, use one of the machine’s preset programs, or vary your equipment—for example, do 10 minutes each of the rower, stair climber, and treadmill in one session. It’ll keep you more focused and burn more calories than a ho-hum steady-state workout.
47. Buy a bed-in-a-box
There are plenty of reasons why guys may have sleeping problems but they often overlook the most obvious solution for proper shut eye: a better bed. If you’ve been sleeping on the same mattress for 5-10 years, it’s time to switch it out. With bed-in-a-box delivery, it’s become easier to get a mattress delivered straight to your home (no car roofs required!), and the quality of the mattresses is surprisingly nicer than you would think. There’s a good variety of bed-in-a-box companies, including Casper, which has consistently ranked as one of the best mattresses with three layers of foam that provides cooling, comfort, and bounce. You’ll sleep significantly better.
48. Get functional
Do at least one workout a week in which you move your body in all directions, to make sure all those muscles can work together, not just in the more regimented weight-lifting movement patterns. Think: Wood chops, burpees, sled pushes, and the like.
49. Start using organic skincare products
Men are notoriously spending more on skincare products, and it’s about time they give a damn. The right products not only help your skin look great but they prevent skin problems and damage. The most effective way to a better face is putting some organic love into your skincare regime. Natural ingredients work wonders (like proven anti-aging and better complexions) and are safer for the skin. Actor Rob Lowe has an affordable skincare brand, Profile for Men, that uses natural ingredients like peptides (an anti-aging protein) and antioxidants in products that range from shave gel to face scrubs. If you want to splurge, check out Innovative Skincare, a popular brand for celebrities (like Captain America’s Sebastian Stan) that uses Extremozyme technology to help protect and repair skin, infused with other organic ingredients in products like sunscreen, serums and moisturizers. Here are some of our favorite natural grooming products.
50. Find what you love—in fitness
If going to the gym is a drag, rethink your fitness plan. There are plenty of other exercise options—from MMA to rock climbing to powerlifting, and more—that’ll keep you fit without that take-your-medicine dread.
51. Take your significant other to the Caribbean
Nothing says “I’m in it to win it” with your girl like a getaway to the Caribbean. The islands are brimming with white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, with plenty of couples activities that give you major game. Thankfully, a crop of contemporary-cool, hip hotels has recently opened to help set the scene for burning love. Kimpton’s Seafire Resort in Grand Cayman features massive bungalows and a beach bar literally on the beach (the only one of its kind). Three new resorts opened in Anguilla, including The Reef by CuisinArt where you can take drone lessons and Four Seasons Anguilla, where you can rock climb. The Shore Club in Turks & Caicos is the first and only resort to open on Long Bay, known for kiteboarding. And Paradise Beach in Nevis is where Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and family vacationed last new years.
52. Join a hotel’s gym
Say goodbye to crowded gyms—and get a free massage while you’re at it. Not many people know hotels offer non-guests monthly spa membership programs, which actually turn out to be a great value. Locals who sign up will have daily access to the hotel’s fitness center, spa (which includes steam, sauna, locker rooms and often pools), free or discounted parking and typically one free spa treatment every month. Many hotels and resorts have additional perks. Terranea resort outside LA offers discounted golf and 30 percent off all rooms; The Nantucket Hotel in Massachusetts features two indoor pools, fitness classes and outdoor heated Jacuzzi; and Well & Being Spa at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas offers members access to racquetball and squash courts and indoor and outdoor jogging tracks. The monthly membership fee ranges per hotel.
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December 4, 2017 at 08:59PM