A New You 

45 ways to reinvent yourself for 2013.

Flyer staffers Greg Akers, Jackson Baker, John Branston, Chris Davis, Michael Finger, Louis Goggans, Bianca Phillips, Hannah Sayle, Chris Shaw, and Bruce VanWyngarden offer suggestions for jump-starting the new year.

Watch Movies That Make You Cry
It's emotionally cleansing to have a good cry every once in a while, and there are few better consequence-free methods than watching a good tearjerker. It's a Wonderful Life gets me to an increasing degree with each annual viewing, to the point that I'm afraid in about 10 years I'm just going to cry throughout the whole movie. You can't watch the Memphis documentary Undefeated and not cry at least two times. — Greg Akers

Go to a Play That's Not a Musical
People like musicals. They'll skip great plays like Becky Shaw, Hot L Baltimore, or Hurt Village, but see Legally Blonde three times. If that sounds like you, and let's face it, it probably does, you should make plans to see what you're missing. In 2013, Theatre Memphis is producing the gutsy cop drama A Steady Rain, and Circuit Playhouse and the Hattiloo Theatre are teaming up to stage Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, a humanizing portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. — Chris Davis

Pretend To Buy Art
Make believe you've been given the opportunity to purchase one work of art at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art or the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Visit the museum and decide what it will be. It really forces you (in a good way) to study the art on display. Tip: Don't actually attempt to buy it. — Michael Finger

Tip Better
If you aren't sure why you should tip better, ask anyone who relies on tips as a main source of income and you'll get an earful. But you should also consider tipping in cash and tipping your server directly — the only way you can be totally sure he or she isn't being cheated out of valuable tip money. — Hannah Sayle

Listen to New Memphis Music
Here are five new bands that any Memphis music lover should get to know in 2013:

Toxie. This post-new-wave group featuring members of Magic Kids is set to release its debut single on Goner Records this month, so look for Toxie to get some well-deserved attention early in the year.

The Sheiks. Memphis' best new rock-and-roll band is also going to be featured on the soundtrack to the Craig Brewer-produced documentary The Invaders. A sizable feat for a band that self-released its first album in October.

The Manatees. After taking the local club scene by storm over the past two years, the Manatees see the fruits of their labor finally pay off with a handful of singles coming out early in the year on a plethora of underground labels.

Nots. These ex-Bake Sale members thrash through art-damaged rock-and-roll with reckless abandon and even more attitude. Nots has a demo cassette available.

Moving Finger. This husband-and-wife duo, along with ex-Noise Choir member Patrick Glass, re-create the blue-collar punk rock that bands like the Pagans and Blitz became known for. Expect a debut record early this year. — Chris Shaw

Push-ups!
Set a goal of doing your age in push-ups every day. Even if you have to do them from your knees. Or in small bunches. It should not take much more than a few minutes. — John Branston

Eat Less Meat (or No Meat)
If you want to make one change that will benefit both your health and the environment, cut back on meat or give it up altogether. The health benefits — lower cholesterol, less risk of heart disease, lower risk of obesity, better longevity — are boundless. But if you don't do it for yourself, do it for the planet. A University of Chicago study found that going vegan is more effective at reducing global warming than switching to a hybrid car. — Bianca Phillips

Tell Your Family You Love Them
Accidents occur daily and only God knows who will be involved. Simply saying "I love you" can turn a bad day into a great one for someone. Resolve to tell your family members the best three words they can hear from you. Do it often. — Louis Goggans

Change Your Spots for a Week
Pretend you're a conservative (or whatever you're not) and for just one week, go to websites that have an opposing political point of view. Grin and bear it as you wade your way through arguments that are repugnant to you. It probably won't change your politics, but it will give you some perspective on how the other half thinks. And that's not a bad thing. — Bruce VanWyngarden

Leave the Country
Get out of the country. Go visit some place where you can use that foreign language you learned in school. Or if you didn't study one, start learning one, and go visit a country where the natives speak it. It'll broaden and change your life. — Jackson Baker

"INVE$T IN GOOD TIME$"
This quote, from the graffito poet laureate of the downtown Tennessee Brewery, reminds one to be free with money when it's in support of entertainment. An investment in leisure is an investment in self-fulfillment. Or, as Rebecca Black lyricized, paraphrasing Epicurus: "fun, fun, fun, fun." — GA

Eat an Eyeball
Americans have a funny relationship with the animals they eat. Most waiters have watched helplessly as angry patrons lose it because they didn't know the fish was served head-on. "I don't like my food looking at me," they shriek. Grocery stores sell us boneless, skinless, odorless, artificially colored meat packed in Styrofoam trays. Maybe we'd have more respect for our food and the sacrifice it makes for us, if we looked it in the eye from time to time, and I know just the place to start: The ojo (eyeball) taco at Tacos Borolas. Gross-sounding, but unbelievably good. — CD

Quit Bitching About Memphis
Nobody likes a whiner, but in this city, the collective whine has just about reached its peak. You know how in horror movies the villain is always scarier when you find out "the call is coming from inside the house"? The same applies to complaining about our city: It's bad when it comes from the national media, but it's worse when it comes from us. — HS

Rent a Segway ...
... and take a tour of downtown. Memphis Segway Tours at 149 Union will set you up and send you off. — MF

Walk the River Walk
Start at the northernmost point of the RiverWalk and venture south. You might be surprised where (and how far) you'll go. — MF

Grow Something
The only thing that tastes better than a fat, perfectly red, round tomato is a mottled, cracked, partly bug-eaten tomato you grew yourself. Especially with some basil you also grew yourself. Introduce seed to dirt. Water as needed. — CD

Be a Memphis Tourist
Pick a local tourist attraction you haven't visited in years and go. It's surprising what you'll remember — and what you missed the first time(s) around. — MF

Buy Local Art
Shopping local is great when it comes to eating and supporting small businesses. But you should also buy as much locally produced art and music as possible. It improves your quality of life, but, even better, it boosts the artistic economy. Local artists and musicians are rarely doing as well financially as they deserve. Name recognition and well wishes don't keep their electricity on. — GA

Take Your Parents to Lunch
Have a nice conversation with your Ma and Pa, instead of always hanging out with your lame friends and co-workers and staring at your iPhone the whole hour. — MF

Adopt a Pet
Go to the animal shelter and adopt a dog or cat. Pick the oldest and/or loneliest-looking critter you can find, because their days are probably numbered. Not only are you saving a life, you'll have a grateful companion for years. — MF

Try a Vegetable You "Hate"
Can't stand brussels sprouts, broccoli, leeks, eggplant? Give them another shot and your childhood nemesis might become a newfound love. Studies show that our palates can change considerably over time. Or consider taking home a green you don't recognize at the farmers market, and you might be pleasantly surprised. Try some new foods in the new year. — HS

Take Something Apart ...
... and learn to put it back together. It doesn't have to be anything complicated. Disassembling something and learning how to reassemble it is a skill lost on generations of plugged-in and tuned-out Americans. Before you toss that broken toaster oven to the curb, take it apart. At the very least, it's a brainteaser. And at best, it could save you having to buy another one. — HS

Watch More TV
We are in a golden age of television. Current must-see-every-episode shows: Mad Men, Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Justified, Treme, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Modern Family, Luther, Sherlock, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report. And I haven't even watched Homeland, Downton Abbey, Community, Political Animals, or much of Louie yet. — GA

Volunteer
Immerse yourself in at least one charitable endeavor or public service enterprise. It's not just for the sake of others or to save the world that you should do this. It's like meditation: It frees you from always thinking "me" — or "meh," for that matter. — Jackson Baker

Leave Half
Eat anything you want but leave half of it. I thank former baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax, still fit at 77, for this one. — John Branston

Adopt a Zoo Animal
No, you don't get to take it home, but your money supports their habitat and cost of food. I'm semi-proud to say that my wife and I adopted the Finger Fish exhibit at the zoo for years and years. I still have the nice adoption certificate someplace. — MF

Get Smart About Money
Sit down with a financial adviser — whether it's a broker, someone at your bank, or even a friend who's financially successful. Ask questions. Does it make financial sense for you to buy a house? Or a car? Are there obvious ways to save money that you're overlooking? Are there ways to lower your monthly payments you haven't thought about? How's your credit rating? You might be surprised. — BV

Ping-Pong!
Skip the newest tablet computer and invest in a Ping-Pong table. More fun at half the price. — John Branston

Bike the City
It's true that you never forget how to ride a bike. But if you haven't been on one in a while, you might have forgotten how good it feels getting around under your own power. Besides, if you're only a driver, you're a tourist in your own city. To know a place, you've got to get close to the ground. With Shelby Farms, the Greenline, and more bike lanes going in all the time, there's never been a better time to push pedals. — CD

Take a Skydiving Class
Hey, you only live once. Go to skydivingmemphis.com. — MF

Picnic at Elmwood Cemetery
There are no better picnic companions than the dead. They don't poke fun of the way you chew your food or complain that you're talking too loud. They don't care if you have mustard all over your chin. (They also can't tell you when you have spinach stuck in your teeth, but that's the only downside.) Enjoy some peace and quiet — and ponder the mystery of life — at Elmwood, one of the city's oldest cemeteries. — BP

Use a "Little Library"
In the age of Kindle and iPad, real books are becoming lost in the shuffle. But for those who still appreciate bound volumes, there's a free way to get books — and unload them. Little Libraries look like wooden birdhouses, only they're filled with books. The honor system is employed. "Take a book, leave a book" is the policy. There are Little Libraries outside the Crosstown Arts office on North Watkins, near the corner of Peabody and Cooper, and in Harbor Town. — BP

Pick a Sport
Settle on a sport that you can play (or learn to play) adequately and arrange to play it on a regular basis. Exercise is work; playing a sport is fun. The exercise is a bonus boon to mental and physical health. — Jackson Baker

Save Money
When the economy is this unpredictable, stashing away a few dollars — even a small amount each week — is essential. It can be difficult at first, but once you get in the habit, it comes easier. And it will come in handy someday. Count on it. — LG

Go to the Library
Check out four books at a time from the library, so you will read at least one of them. Do it once a month or more. If you are not getting $10 a year in library fines, you aren't reading enough. — John Branston

No Fried Foods
Although there's nothing like a good hamburger or piece of fried chicken, fried foods put you at a greater risk of high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Consuming fried foods may feel good at the time, but in the long run, not so much. Substitute grilled, baked, broiled, or sautéed foods in your meals. They can taste just as good and are a lot healthier. — LG

Download a Running App
Whether you run marathons or just jog from the couch to the fridge between commercials, there's a running app for you. One I recommend is 10K Runner ($3.99), which gives daily running instructions that gradually push you from couch to 10K. Throughout each run, a virtual "coach" keeps you posted on pace and halfway points and congratulates you at the end. Next up for me: 21K Runner, which picks up were the 10K app leaves off. Other handy running apps: RunKeeper Pro (tracks GPS, distance, calories, etc.) and Ghost Race. — BP

Be Frugal
Used cars plus public schools plus no credit-card debt equals personal and/or family financial stability in hard times. — John Branston

Settle Down
Start today to focus on ways to strengthen your marriage or core relationship. If you're single, stop trying to be a lothario or femme fatale and start looking beyond surface appeal to find real companionship. Life gets easier when you do. And it involves a whole lot less wear and tear, as you really should know by now. — Jackson Baker

No Sodas
One of the leading causes of obesity is over-consumption of soft drinks. Guzzling too many also heightens your chance of cavities, diabetes, and kidney ailments, among other things. About one in three adults in Memphis is obese. Can the soft drinks and live better. — LG

Get Rid of All That Stuff
You know that sweater your favorite aunt gave you that you've never worn because it's neither good-looking or gender appropriate, but you can't give it up because your favorite aunt gave it to you? Get rid of it. And get rid of the chair you picked up off the side of the road thinking it would be nice fixed up. And what's up with those unopened art supplies you bought after reading something on the Internet about unleashing your hidden creativity? Have you ever even tasted bread from that automatic bread maker? Or miracle pasta from the miracle pasta machine? Curb it! — CD

Be Charitable
Give to the homeless and needy. The city's poverty rate is 25.4 percent, nearly 10 percent higher than the state average. More than 2,000 people experience homelessness on any given night in Memphis. Giving clothing, food, or temporary shelter or putting a few dollars in their pocket are small things that can make a big difference. — LG

Hit the River
Sitting at Memphis' doorstep is one of the world's greatest natural wonders. People travel the world to see it, but most Memphians never get their feet wet or experience its grandeur. In 2013, find a way to get out on the Mississippi River. Rent a kayak or a canoe, go on a friend's boat, or even take a short tour on the Memphis Queen. It will give you a whole new perspective on Old Man River. — BV

Adopt a Shelter Pet
Every year, Memphis Animal Services euthanizes around 70 percent of the animals that come through its doors. Adorable wet-nosed pit bulls, loyal and loving labs, fluffy Yorkies, and tiny puppies and fuzzy kittens — no animal is safe because space is very limited. For every purebred animal that is purchased, an innocent life is lost at the animal shelter. If you're in the market for a pet, go to the shelter. — BP

Go Fish
Whether it's fly-fishing the streams of Arkansas, plugging for bass in local ponds, or chunking for monster catfish in the Mississippi, there are a zillion places to wet a line in the Mid-South. It's relaxing, it's time spent outdoors, and it's fun. — BV

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