Twenty-three. It’s hardly a magic number. It is, however, the number of degrees the Earth’s axis tilts towards the Sun. It’s the A-road that’ll take you from London to Brighton. It was LeBron James’ original LA Lakers jersey number. Psalm 23 is the Bible’s most-quoted. And, in The Big Lewbowski, Jeff Bridges only ever bowls down his local alley’s 23rd lane.
It’s also, for better or for worse, the year we now live in. And, despite this decade’s somewhat rocky start, we’re hoping it’s twenty-third time lucky. So, to help you on your way, we’ve put to paper 23 tips and tricks to give 2023 its best, most bountiful chance.
1. Find your signature cocktail
We know, you think you’ve already found it. But believe us — there’s a world beyond Negronis, Martinis and Old Fashioneds. So make 2023 the year you order beyond the ordinary, and sip something more exotic, more interesting, more you. Maybe it’s the ‘Division Bell’. Or the ‘Missionary’s Downfall’. Or maybe even the ‘Fluffy Duck’. They’re all real drinks — and they’re all just waiting to be tried.
2. Move your calendar off your phone
The diary isn’t dead! But it’s quickly losing life. So, before it slips into obscurity, and smartphones end up having all the scheduling fun, why not try committing your calendar to paper for a year? Studies have shown that, when we write something down, we’re more likely to remember it — so, in addition to looking suave and urbane, you’ll never miss a date again.
3. Talk to your extended family more
Whether it’s your parents, your distant cousins or your great-grand uncle (twice removed), it pays to stay in touch with your wider family. Don’t bombard them with calls — but maintaining these fantastic dynastic bonds will ensure you keep your clan close and tight-knit. You only get one family, so don’t take them for granted.
4. Find one cookbook that works for you
There’s a certain charm to cooking from a book. But, rather than bowing your bookshelves under the weight of many, take time this year to do some research and find one delectable, palatable publication that you can sizzle, simmer and scoff your way through from the day you buy it to the end of December.
5. Unsubscribe to all but one streaming service
How many of these countless platforms do you give money to monthly? There’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV+, Peacock, Hulu, Paramount+ and HBO Max (to name just a handful of the subscriptions on offer). For 2023, just choose one, and cancel the rest. There’s easily enough content on each service for a whole year of viewing. And, this way, you’ll savour the shows you do watch.
6. Try a more obscure sport
If you’re struggling to stick to your overly-optimistic, excessively-exercise-y new year’s resolutions, then why not whip your workouts up into something a little funner? It could be ‘Korfball’, it may be ‘Padel’ or ‘Pickelball’ — but an odder, more obscure sport is more likely to capture your imagination (as well as build up those muscles).
7. Make time to wet shave
How’s that foil shaver treating you? How many times, this week alone, has it nipped, nicked or grazed your face? That’s because, for all its ease, an electric razor is not a precision tool. So make this grooming resolution for 2023; take your time, invest in the best bits of sharply cut kit, and get the smoothest shave every time.
8. Buy the newspaper every weekend
They say that no news is good news. But a modern man should have at least a basic grasp on current affairs. So, even if you’ve banished news apps from your phone (and we wouldn’t blame you; the sheer onslaught was getting slightly intolerable), buy a weekly newspaper instead, carve out an hour or two and read it cover to cover. Nothing beats a crossword, either.
9. Try to travel more sustainably
While the previous few years have seen us locked down and grounded, 2023 thrums with the promise of international travel. But, as appealing as those £19 budget flights may be, try to invest in more environmentally-sound modes of travel. We’re talking electric car hire, rail travel or adventuring by boat.
10. Improve your public speaking skills
In 1973, an extensive scientific study found that public speaking was the most common fear among modern men — and that included the (considerably more rational) fear of death. So, this year, why not conquer this common consternation? You could buy a book, take a class or simply start speaking up more in meetings at work. But it’ll build up your confidence considerably.
11. Go slip-on with your shoes
It sounds slightly trivial — but trust us. Over the course of a year, all that lace-fiddling stacks up. But do away with the endless eyelets, and your mornings will gain a newfound efficiency. There are plenty of shoes to choose from — Chelsea boots, loafers, espadrilles — which will all help you unwind this knotty daily problem.
12. Read before bed — rather than scrolling
You’ve heard this one before — and yet you still just have to check Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and more before you head to bed. But being exposed to blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, and makes it incredibly hard to switch off and doze soundly. Put your charger in another room, and get some decent sleep.
13. Actively slow down your Sundays
How often do you find yourself checking your emails on the weekend? If you are guilty of this — and we know that most of you do dip into your inbox out-of-hours — try to at least leave Sunday as a day of relaxation. Do this by distracting yourself with a new soothing hobby; anything from pilates to pottery.
14. Wear a watch every single day
Keep those phones in those pockets — because nothing presses pause on a productive day like checking the time, and accidentally getting sucked into a vortex of ever-pinging, endless notifications. Wear a watch, however, and you can check the time without tempting fate or Facebook. Plus, there are some handsome options out there.
15. Drink enough water every day
It’ll help you exercise more efficiently. It’ll boost your brain function and energy levels. It’ll keep any annoying headaches at bay. It’ll significantly ease your digestion. It’ll lubricate your joints. It’ll regulate your body temperature. It’ll help maintain blood pressure. There are more benefits, but you get the point. Now go turn on the tap.
16. Go and see more independent movies
The franchise factories of big-budget filmmaking are undeniably entertaining — but it’s occasionally a good idea to go and enjoy an independent film. These standalone, cinematic palate-cleansers are a break from the predictable; offering glimpses into worlds unknown, and stimulating different, diverse parts of our creative minds.
17. Buy better gifts
An important one. Because, if you’re really being honest with yourself, when was the last time you were truly proud of a gift given? As adults, we run on present-picking autopilot — going for easy wins rather than sentimental or off-kilter gifts. Take more time to find someone the perfect present, and you’ll both feel better when the wrapping’s ripped off.
18. Invest in a good pair of pyjamas
We don’t devote enough time, pomp or ceremony to our bedtimes. Too often, days end with a quick scroll, a hastily-set alarm and a threadbare pair of boxers. A matching pyjama set (we’d go checked, pinstriped or paisley) will change all that. As you pull them on and button them up, you’ll wind down — and sleep better.
19. Invest in a new method of coffee brewing
Are you a cafetière man? A drip-over devotee? Or do you — shudder the thought — drink exclusively instant? Whatever way you take your coffee, use this year to experiment with another method of brewing. There are plenty out there (moka pot, siphon, AeroPress, Chemex), and a new ritual may see you fall in love with the stuff all over again.
20. Try to support smaller brands
Because now, more than ever, they need your help. But don’t start buying things for the sake of it. Instead, identify one of your major interests or pastimes, and find independent brands that support and share these values. Budding chef? Buy a small-batch knife. Coffee buff? Visit a self-employed ceramicist. Barbecue enthusiast? Find your local butcher.
21. Clean out your wardrobe
But go into this clothing cull with a clear plan. Audit your wardrobe this way: if you haven’t worn a garment for over a year, assess why that is and make a considered call. If you’ll likely never wear it again, donate it. There’s a double benefit here; as it may lead to the rediscovery of once-loved pieces you’ve been neglecting.
22. Go and see more live music
There’s nothing else like it. The atmosphere of live music, shared with fellow fans in proper venues, is a life-affirming thing. And yet, like travel, it’s something that has slipped during the past couple of years. Use 2023 to remedy that. Choose three of your favourite bands, see when and where they’re touring — and buy tickets.
Put a plant on your desk
Like drinking more water, this is a supremely simple change that’ll pay dividends all year. Add a little live-giving plant to your workstation, and you’ll enjoy benefits from clean air and reduced noise levels to increased productivity and boosted creativity. We’d recommend a ‘Parlour Palm’, ‘Zanzibar Gem’ or ‘Devil’s Ivy’.