Are you stuck? Do you come home after work and fire up the PlayStation or Facebook and fritter away your evening? Do you dread getting up in the morning? Are your weekends all the same? Do you eat the same food, drink the same beverages and watch the same shows? Do you see people on TV living lives you think you want, but you do little more than daydream about it?
Are you happy with that?
I didn’t think so.
Well, your time has come, my friend. You’re going to get your life into a forward gear, and you’re going to start today. Each of the items below can change an aspect of your life that might have stagnated and held you back. And each one requires just one small step to get started. The less thinking you do before taking that step, the better. After you’ve set the wheels in motion, you’ll find yourself in a new life adventure.
1. Buy an airline ticket.
There’s nothing that can open your eyes like traveling to a place you’ve never been before. If you’ve never been out of the country and you can afford it, go to another country. If you’ve only traveled to Western countries, go East. And if you’re on a limited budget, find a city—or better (and cheaper) yet, an out-of-the-way town or national park—that’s unfamiliar to you yet within your means. Just head over to Priceline or Hotwire and get started.
2. Register for a class or lessons.
Everyone has a skill, sport or profession he’s wanted to try. So try it! Whatever your heart desires: skiing, windsurfing, standup comedy, guitar, novel writing, business management, cooking…anything you want to learn, there’s someone out there who wants to teach it to you. Your city parks or the local YMCA offer sports and swim classes. Local community colleges offer classes in a huge range of subjects, including evening classes.
3. Go to the store and buy only fresh food.
If dinner involves removing a box from the freezer or making a phone call, it’s time to change. The stuff in frozen dinners and fast food isn’t doing your health any favors, so give your body the stuff it craves: real food. Make a list (or get yourself a pre-printed Single Man’s Grocery List by subscribing to the Tao of Bachelorhood) and head over to the store. Buy a week’s worth of meats, vegetables, fruit and whole grains and make yourself some tasty meals in less time than you’d think. Stuck for inspiration? Grab a cookbook by Alton Brown (the man’s man of cookery) or Jamie Oliver.
4. Say hello to one woman per day.
What do you say to a woman? Try “Hi.” Say it as you walk by a woman on the street. Say it as you walk by a woman’s table at a coffee shop. Say it when you make eye contact with a cashier (they get paid to let you say hi to them!). How do you do this without being creepy? Walk with good posture, head up, paying attention to the world around you. Don’t stare at her as you approach. Just glance, and if she isn’t looking, glance back again a few seconds later. As you catch her eye, smile, say “Hi,” and keep walking. You don’t have to say anything else…unless she stops to talk you, that is.
5. Apply for a job.
Ever catch yourself pining for your dream job? Well, stop pining and start going for it. Fire up the Interweb and look for something you’re interested in, and apply. Do it right, with a resume and cover letter. Find out the hiring manager’s name if you can and send your application directly to them: relying on the “Apply” button at Monster is like putting a Match.com ad up without a photo—you shouldn’t expect a single bite. If you’re currently working, make sure you let the hiring manager know so they won’t contact your boss. Get that resume updated and fire up Indeed.
6. Start an exercise plan.
If you’re not exercising in some way, your life is going downhill, guaranteed. We were made to walk, run, lift, pull and push things to keep our muscles in tone and our innards in balance. Now’s the time to get things moving in a positive direction, and all you’ve got to do is decide what to do. It can be as simple as writing on your calendar what you’re going to do for exercise each day. Walk a mile, do 30 burpees, swim 10 laps, spend a half-hour at the gym—start at a level where you’re comfortable. If you’re looking for a gym program, might I suggest the Simple Starter Workout?
7. Fill a box for Goodwill.
If you’re like most of us, you’ve got a lot of “things.” In fact, you’ve probably got a lot of things you don’t really need, or things you don’t even really want anymore. Here’s your chance to start the decluttering process. Grab a good-sized box, at least the size of a standard moving box, fill it with things you don’t need, and take the box to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army or other charity. Don’t be concerned about the value or whether you plan to put it on Ebay one day when you have the time (you’ve been putting it off too long). You’ll get a tax deduction that covers the resale value of the items, and the good feeling that you’re helping others in need. And if it felt really good, fill another box. And another. Look for every opportunity to get your stuff to a manageable level. Maybe even take the 100 Thing Challenge.
These are all small steps to bigger things. Take one and follow it. If you find you’re craving more exotic adventure, or feeling healthier, or behaving more socially and with less fear of women, I’ve done my job here. Let me know how you fare.