Do you ever do things that make you cringe at your own behaviour? Or just slightly remorseful that you’ve become so lame and accepting of the status quo? If you do, then give yourself a hearty pat on the back because you, at least, recognise that somewhere along the way things veered ever-so slightly off course.
The list that follows will quickly pull you back into line and you’ll take immediate action to correct your course, even if just a little bit.
These points are easy to implement. They don’t require equipment or travel. Or a great deal of money. What they do require is action.
The great thing is that being an action taker is a habit that feeds itself. Once you start it just kind of perpetuates. Nail these small steps first and you’ll be ready for anything. (Yes, I realise a lot of them have to do with your phone. Deal with it.)
#1 Leave your phone in your car for the first two hours after you get home
Being present makes you a better parent and spouse/partner. Or if you’re single and not yet a parent, spend the time reading, exercising or cooking.
#2 Leave your phone in your pocket/bag in the lift
Like a creepy security blanket, the phone comes out when – shock, horror – we might be seen doing, wait for it, nothing. Try standing idle for 45 seconds. Don’t be a #LiftPhoneWanker
#3 Never bring your phone to bed
“But, wait, it’s my alarm clock!” Okay, try this: BUY ANOTHER F*CKING ALARM CLOCK. I guarantee you’ll sleep better and longer without spooning your phone.
#4 Leave your phone in the office when you go out for lunch/coffee
You think that work call or task can’t wait ten or 30 minutes? What, are you the President??
#5 Leave your phone at home when you go out to dinner
Nothing bad will come of this. You think the chef might be offended that you’re not snapping the food? No, he’ll think you’re alright and you know something about food. And respect.
#6 Set up a direct debit to charity
You will feel so virtuous doing this that you’ll gain at least 2 inches in height. Win : win. Do this right now. I’ll wait. GiveWell rates the charities that use your donations most effectively.
#7 Perform a random act of kindness (and don’t mention it on social media)
Do something nice for someone – and here’s the kicker – do it to be nice. Not to post on social media. Having to tell everyone about your kindness, actually tells them something that is the opposite to what you intended.
A great example of this: when you come out of the supermarket with your bags bulging, stop and give some of your shopping to the homeless chap on the bench outside the supermarket.
Give him one of your yogurts, a few slices off the top of your loaf of bread, a tin of something or other. Probably best not to give him a can of beer though.
#8 Don’t j-walk (especially while looking at your phone)
It’s statistically, technically and physically impossible to cross a road whilst looking at your phone and not be a complete bell-end. Don’t be a bell-end.
#9 meditate for 10 minutes
You’ll feel calmer, more chilled. Stepping off the hamster-wheel for just a little while is so empowering because you demonstrate to yourself that you can actually do it. You can sign up for 10 Minutes Of Meditation a day at Headspace. It’s free.
#10 Send someone flowers
Your mum, your wife, your mistress…doesn’t matter. This one doesn’t just apply to men and lesbians: if you’re a woman you can send flowers to your sister, colleague or a friend who needs a pick-me-up.
#11 Help an old person with their shopping
Yeah, they’re fumbling around at the checkout in front of you., paying for their $37 shop in silver coins and being generally annoying while you silently fume behind them, waiting impatiently to buy a Powerade.
But then you see them shuffling out of the mall with their bags overflowing, looking through their purse for a bus-pass. And you feel like a major c*nt.
So you sprint after them and catch them at the bus stop and ask them where they live and offer them a lift home. And they tell you they’re fine.
You’re about to give up and say okay, no worries. But something tells you to fight for this one. And she eventually relents and you drive her home and deliver the shopping up the steps to her front door.
And you drive home (with the windows open to clear the smell) feeling like the KING OF THE WORLD.
If you’ve never tried this, you should.
#12 Give someone an orgasm (doesn’t count if it’s you)
Chances are they’ll repay you in kind. Don’t be a 68-er. (That’s where she gets you off but you owe her one.)
#13 Eat a vegetarian dinner
Unless you pay top whack for your meat, there’s a good chance it led an unhappy life and met an inhumane end. It’s the Elephant In The Room that we all choose to ignore. Myself included.
But imagine if every meat-eater had one less meat-based meal per week? Or, better still, if we all spent big on organic, well-sourced meat and eggs that had been subject to A-grade husbandry and slaughter.
And the animals had been well looked after and not kept in cages or pens. That would be nice.
#14 Look skywards
It’s impossible to be depressed whilst looking upwards. That’s what someone once said to me. If you’re angry or depressed, give it a try.
It actually seems to work.
#15 Turn negative thoughts about your neighbours into positive ones
This can be real hard. Especially when they haven’t taken the bins out in, like, five years. But are they really worth your negative energy? Leave them to their own.
Besides, they have cats; their house stinks. #BinKarmaBitches
#16 Read fiction
Do this for ten minutes before bed or for 15 minutes any time and smugly know that you’re making yourself better and more intelligent.
Ben Ford is the author of SuperFitDad, a lifestyle blog that focuses on health tips for busy dads.