10 Ways To Stop Sucking So Much

Flickr / Christian Kadluba
Flickr / Christian Kadluba
In the spirit of the New Year, when the way you were all of last year suddenly isn’t good enough anymore, here are 10 things that you can (probably) do today to feel better about yourself, earn more money, and burn belly fat. (Note: You will probably not burn any belly fat doing these things. Nor will you earn any money.)

1. Clean Your Fucking House.

There is nothing more satisfying than getting rid of every unhelpful, useless, superfluous thing in your life. But you can’t break up with your boyfriend, because your rent is too high for that. As a therapeutic replacement, try cleaning your house. I know it may seem like having an attractively cluttered apartment full of eclectic shit makes you Seattle-caliber interesting. But this isn’t high school, and this isn’t college. As a semi-pseudo-grownup now, it’s time to get your shit together. Failing that, it’s time to make it appear that you have your shit together, and having a decently clean house/room/refrigerator box in the alley (if you rent in New York) successfully fools the casual observer into believing that you do, indeed, know how to adult. If you’re really clean, you can probably trick them into thinking you file your own taxes correctly, too.

2. Do Some Fucking Work.

Do you have a job? Good. You should probably be doing some work right now. While it may be tempting to leave everything for the weekend and play catch-up in your pajamas on Sunday night, experience has shown you that the surest recipe for disaster is underestimating the superhuman abilities of a truly lazy person (you) to procrastinate the absolute fuck out of every single work-related thing in your life. It doesn’t matter if you love your job or not—it’s still going to suck sometimes to do the things you need to do to get paid, and more often than not, you’re still going to find yourself horizontal with a bottle of white wine in your laundry room while your work emails burn a hole in your inbox. In light of this, why not make it easier on yourself and just do it now? That leaves you free to watch Netflix alone tonight.

3. Make Some Fucking People Happy.

I’m a strong believer in the power of doing close to nothing to try to make people happy. We all can’t be Bill Gates-level charitable, and in some ways, that can be disheartening. “I can’t put my billions to work searching for the malaria cure, so why even bother?” But this, friend, is flawed logic. Most hospitals, children’s homes, women’s shelters, and other places for people in need have some sort of work available for volunteers, and it usually doesn’t require any skills (i.e. cleaning, packing supplies, reading to old people, etc.). The higher end of these volunteer jobs involves entertaining the patients or residents, and as a 20-something aspiring-something with a Liberal Arts degree currently gathering dust in the back of your parents’ garage, you are undoubtedly very entertaining. Try putting all those useless things you worked so hard to learn in college to use—juggling oranges, beer pong, competitive cup-stacking, playing the accordion, stand-up comedy. All your quirky “talents” never actually landed you a girlfriend, so why not use them to make an old person smile? Or you could just make your hall mates some cookies. That’s easier.

4. Save Some Fucking Money.

I like to play this fun game whenever I get paid: Make a list of the things you “need.” Then circle the one thing on that list that you actually need, go buy it, burn the list, and put the rest of your money in savings. While admittedly difficult, it is actually possible to do this, presuming you buy ramen in bulk, wash your hair with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, and freeload off your friends at any and all social functions they can goad you into attending. It’s not “fun” to be “that friend” who’s “always saving for something,” but I guarantee that at the end of next year, as your friends watch your plane disappear over the horizon on your way to whatever adventure you managed to fund by living like a much poorer person than you actually were, the green monster of jealousy will eat them alive. And they will stalk your Instagram for the next six months and put bananas in their margaritas and wonder why they bought all that ethnic dishware.

5. Bake Some Fucking Bread.

If you want to feel better about yourself, make bread. Do it. It helps. Make the kind that’s really hard to get right, the kind you have to knead a certain way and set a timer for and put the right amount of yeast in or else it turns into dust-tasting pancakes. Make it over and over again until you stop screwing it up and get it to rise and bake perfectly, and then slice it up and invite your friends over to eat warm bread. For the gluten-free: Figure it out your damn self. For the actually gluten-intolerant: I’m sorry. You’re just going to have to learn how to churn butter or some shit.

6. Find Your Fucking Passion.

Everybody has a thing. Sometimes it’s a weird thing—cross-country unicycling, owning an organic mango farm in Fresno—and sometimes it’s a normal thing, like really wanting to be a nurse. For some reason, though, most people I know don’t ever get around to doing “their thing.” It ends up being their sometimes-hobby, and that makes me kind of sad. Sometimes, you really can’t get people to pay you for your passion, but in my experience most people don’t ever try that hard to figure out a way to make that happen. Maybe it’s all that “20 Highest-Paying Careers” bullshit I keep reading on Forbes. Everybody’s going to tell you to be a doctor, to study Computer Science, or to get started on your 401(k) as soon as possible. Repeat after me: Fuck those people and take the time to find out what you want, not what will get you paid or get you better retirement. If you spend your free time reading Thought Catalog, you can most likely afford to take the time to find your passion. Don’t waste that privilege.

7. Read a Fucking Book.

Not for a class, not for a grade, not even to be able to use this line at the bar: “Yeah, just finished Ivan Denisovich. Really got me thinking about the legacy of glasnost policy.” Try not talking about every book you’ve read as if it makes you mildly important/informed/intellectual. Try not reading something because it fits on some list you have in your head called “Books That People Who Appear Smart And Socially Successful Talk About Having Read.” Yeah, Ryan wears Ray-Bans and has a really hot nerd girlfriend, but I bet it’s not because he actually read all that Margaret Atwood. I bet you know that, too. So go read a goddamn book and then don’t tell anyone you read it. If nothing else, it’ll make you feel better about yourself, I swear.

8. Put Your Fucking Phone Down.

You have a problem, I have a problem, we all have a problem. Good luck with this one. There’s absolutely no doubt that it will make you happier in the long run, but God damn will it suck in the short term. Do this: Let everybody who matters to you (including your boss) know that you will only be available from 10-4, or whatever works for your schedule. Keep your phone with you between those hours, and then lock it in a drawer while you go live an actual life. What to do, you ask, to fill those long, bleak, phoneless hours? See numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9.

9. Build a Fucking Table.

Or a drawer. Or a shelf. Or whatever. The key is building something that you will definitely use and making it into something you’re proud of. It’s a therapeutic as well as a functional activity: It takes physical work and a little bit of reading, it uses tools and basic math, and it requires some level of skill. The same principle applies as for making bread. For the urban-raised and truly inept (if you feel that you’re more likely to end up with a nail through your sternum than a completed table), I would suggest starting small, maybe with a birdhouse kit or some shit you find in the kid’s aisle at Toys “R” Us. Note: Assembling Ikea furniture does not count, you heartless basic bastard.

10. Be Fucking Nice To Yourself.

If you hate yourself, you’re not going to be a very nice or productive person. It’s a fact. Look it up in the Dictionary of Fucking Life. The only way to be truly happy is to accept, on some level, that being a slobby-procrastinating-lazy-sometimes-asshole is, actually, a pretty OK way to be, and you deserve any kindness that you can give yourself, because it makes you more likely to be kind to other people. At the very least, remember this: You are (I’m assuming?) not a felon. That’s something. TC mark

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