2011 is about to fold, never to return ever again. And it’s that time of December when one usually ponders about the year gone by. 365 is a lot of days! It’s 8760 hours. And that’s a whopping 525,600 minutes. What have you been up to for these 8700 hours, man?

2012

2012

Did you accomplish any major feat that got you and your friends so excited, you drank a whole bottle of vodka? Did you learn something so well that couldn’t stop boasting about? To top it all off, did you meet the love of your life?

In short, was 2011 a good an ass kicking, super ecstatic year with enough memories to last a lifetime?

Or was it a mundane, fixed, scheduled year. Much like 2010, 2009, 2008… and the many others already gone by?

Mine was pretty rough. And boring.

In the first half of the year, I was busy cramming stupid math theorems and vomiting out their proofs in long math exams. They got me pretty depressed. Then, I went from 1200$ a month to 10$ a month because I became super philosophical, idealistic and lazy. I lost faith in the ability of money to bring me happiness. I fought a lot with my girlfriend. And I didn’t learn one single useful skill apart from procrastination, complaining and loafing around.

However, what’s done is done. It’s going to be a new year and I will pick up some new habits this time. I’ve realized you cannot expect a really awesome life if you aren’t willing to work hard at it. Destiny is in your hands and all that.

So, here are 15 tips for an ass-kicking and memorable 2012:

Clean

To start with, I think we all need to do some cleaning around our homes and selves. Remove/Erase/Annihilate useless stuff to make space for brand new things. Start with:

1. Old clothes – I’m sure you have tons of things you haven’t worn in ages – get rid of them. It’s very very cold these days so be a human and donate them, it might save a life or two.

2. Unnecessary junk – Old CDs, DVDs, books that are uselessly gathering dust, electronic crap you haven’t touched in ages, etc. Life should be simple you know, things often complicate it.

3. Your hard disk – Have 22 GB of movies, 10 GB of  music and 2000 photos in your hard disk? Delete them and save yourself the trouble of data loss or virus attacks. I’ve suffered and it’s a total waste of space, time and energy. I deleted almost 60 GB of media yesterday and my laptop came back to life! Plus, with information overload all ready happening in this digital age, you’ll be better off with as little digital crap as possible.

4. Your mind – Before you go ahead and learn new things, I suggest you clean the old shit lodged in the deep recesses of your dirty mind. Clean it, purify it, breathe new life into it. Your brain is what sets you apart from other life forms. It deserves to be treated well.

Done it? I am sure you feel good already! There are lots of people who live with not more than a handful of items in their lives. In India, we call them Sadhus. Abroad, they call them minimalists. I’m not telling you to sell everything and become a monk. I’m merely suggesting that you donate, sell, give away, a few things which you haven’t used all year.

Learn

Now that you’ve made some much needed space, it’s time to fill the vacuum with better stuff. Stuff that adds to your personality and makes you cooler in some way. It’s time to put that brain to some productive use!

You could start by learning:

5. A new language – Girls totally dig it if you can speak phrases like “Tu madre es loca” at the drop of a hat. Learn a new language, there are plenty of language learning websites online.

6. A new instrument – Not necessary musical. It’s fun though. You could learn to play a harmonica, tuba, guitar or sitar. Or even your own vocal cords (it’s called singing). Obviously, learning online is not as fun as learning with a real tutor. But when you live in small towns where there are no good teachers, it’s the next best option.

7. Inspiring quotes or passages - If you’ve passed college, I quite sure you haven’t really put in effort to memorize anything. If you don’t exercise your memory, it can rust pretty darn quickly. Learn inspiring quotes and passages to keep the machine well oiled. An added bonus will be the inspiration that these time tested words of wisdom impart to you.

8. To cook – Ah, the simple joys of cooking. After a few weeks, you will think ten times before cursing any food on your plate. Be grateful, your stomach is full.

9. To write – Words are one of the most powerful things in the world. They can make (or break) you if you know (or don’t know) how to use them. What Gandhi said had already been said thousands of years back, yet it freed a country. It was merely because he knew how to use them.

Words are powerful. Learn to use them. Learn to write better. It will help you in writing better exams, job applications, love letters, business letters, cooler status updates on Facebook, or whatever it is.

When I was studying Math in college but outside of it, I learnt plenty of things too. Writing was one of them and am I glad I learnt it a little bit? It has made a big difference in how people perceive me.

Apply

Learning is not for everyone. It’s too time consuming, laborious, and if you’re doing it alone, boring. You need be extremely motivated to learn something properly.

However, applying what you already know is relatively easy. It’s a simpler form of learning. It’s the practical side of learning. It’s what they don’t teach us in school. Here’s how you can start applying basic knowledge of science, maths and English to learn new things:

10. Make something useful – It could be a solar cooker, recycled paper, DIY furniture, or whatever. Just search for it online and I’m sure there will be plenty of things you could make using simple materials, tools and skills.

11. Teach – My high school English teacher used to say that when two candles are held together, the flames burn brighter than they would if held alone. Similarly, if you share your knowledge, it only increases yours and your students knowledge.

So go out and teach for a few hours in a week. It’s going to make a difference.

Health

We all know that health is important yet we seldom take care of it. Why don’t we? Most of us feel that it’s time consuming – you have to take out time for exercise, control your diet and go crazy on bad tasting food.

However, staying healthy is much more simple. Follow these dead simple tips throughout 2012 and notice the difference in your physical, emotional and spiritual health:

12. Drink more water – Seriously. [box type="note"] There are one billion people in the world who don’t have access to safe drinking water. I’m quite sure you’re not one of those.[/box] Drink as much water as you possibly can right now. It’s the elixir of life – drink it while you can. It’s good for your hair, skin, bowels, brain growth, muscle growth, mood, sex life, breath, eyes and every possible thing in your body. Drink a glass of water every hour or two.

13. Eat more fruits – They are the most spiritually beneficial foods. Bananas make you happier by balancing serotonin levels (it’s a chemical in your head which makes you happy/sad). Apples keep doctors away. Strawberries, grapes and peaches are excellent aphrodisiacs. Instead of popping multivitamins, pop more fruits, they are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

14. Chew your food properly – This is one habit which you seriously should consider taking on. It will help you control your weight and derive more benefits from the food that you eat. You see, when you chew food, it breaks down essential nutrients, proteins, fats and carbs in your mouth making it much more easier to digest.

Instead of gobbling food, chew it till it becomes watery.

15. Meditate - Spend some time in silence, thinking about uplifting things. Practice an attitude of gratitude. Repeat something positive in your head. The Bhagvad Gita says meditation is the surest path to eternal ecstasy. Doctors say its great for your overall well-being. Meditate.

Of course, there are plenty of other things that you could do in 2012 and still have an ass kicking year. The point is, you have to do it yourself and you have to do it now. There’s never a good time.