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The Best Thing I Did in 2015 That You Can Do in 2016


Inspiring Ideas from Bottom Line’s Experts

With the new year upon us, we asked a wide range of our Bottom Line experts to share one thing they did in 2015 that went so well that they recommend readers try it in 2016…

I became an Uber driver. When I was a kid, I wanted to be either a ­movie usher or a taxi driver. I became a policeman instead, but this year, on a lark, I decided I’d try one of my childhood dream jobs. There aren’t many movie ushers anymore, so I signed up to drive for Uber, the ride-share service that lets people use their own vehicles as taxis. I drive only a few hours in the evenings, but I’m enjoying the heck out of it. I’ve met a lot of interesting people and had some great conversations—sometimes about things I wouldn’t get to chat about any other way. One guy spent 30 minutes telling me about how he outruns the police in his souped-up car. In nearly a quarter century on the police force, I never got a suspect to open up to me like that. Every now and then I get a drunk knucklehead passenger, but that’s rare. And I net around $20 an hour after paying for gas.

Source: Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, a law-­enforcement consultant and 24-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, now retired. He also is a former department chair of the Criminal Justice Department at Union Institute & University.

I slept more and lost weight because of it. Sleeping eight hours a night rather than less helps us function on a higher level in almost every way. We think more clearly, have more energy and manage our time better…and our sex lives improve. It isn’t an overstatement to say that our bodies need sleep as much as they need food and water—but while few people would spend their lives chronically hungry or thirsty if they could help it, many spend their lives unnecessarily tired. Until this year, I was one of them. I had been going to bed at 11:30 or midnight and waking up at 7 am. Now I get to bed at 10:30 or 11:00. Within a few weeks of starting this new schedule, I lost the five pounds I’d been trying to lose for years, and I’ve kept the weight off…and I just feel better!

Source: Steven Lamm, MD, prac­ticing internist, faculty member at New York University School of Medicine and medical director of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, both in New York City. He is author of several books, including Fighting Fat: Break the Dieting Cycle and Get Healthy for Life! and No Guts, No Glory.

I rode a horse in the mountains. I started my eight-mile ride in the small town of ­Alpine, Wyoming. Our group rode across the Idaho border and up into the Rocky Mountains. It’s a very special experience to climb onto a horse and travel up a mountain trail. You don’t just see incredible scenery…you see the world from a ­different perspective. It’s a trip back in time—just over 100 years ago, horses and horse-drawn vehicles were how people got around. These days, many Americans haven’t ridden a horse since childhood, if at all. It’s an experience that is worth seeking out, and it’s safe as long as you hire an experienced guide.

Source: David Sherer, MD, anesthesiologist and former physician-director of risk management for a major HMO in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area. His most recent book is The House of Black and White: My Life with and Search for Louise ­Johnson Morris.

I visited an art museum. I used to visit museums all the time, but between family and career responsibilities, I somehow managed to go nearly a decade without setting foot in one. This year, with my child off at college, I found that for the first time in a long time I had free time. My husband and I made a date to spend an afternoon at our local Saint Louis Art Museum. It was truly inspiring to stand amid so much beauty and creativity. It made me want to go out and create something myself. Back before I had a child, I used to enjoy photography. Now I’m planning to take that up again.

Source: Joanne Waldman, director of training for Retirement Options, an organization that certifies retirement coaches. She is a professional certified coach, licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor and founder of New Perspective Coaching, a nationwide retirement-planning practice based in Chesterfield, Missouri.

I created a space where I could organize my hobbies. I expanded a storage shed so that there’s a distinct area for the equipment I need for each of my activities. There’s a place for my camping gear…my fishing gear…and my scuba gear. In the past, when I found time to enjoy one of my hobbies, I had to waste some of that time digging through my attic or basement for the stuff I needed. Worse, I’d usually forget something. I’d get to the lake and realize that I’d left my spare fishing line at home. Now that each hobby has a specific spot, I can quickly and easily grab everything I need and hit the road.

Source: Danny Lipford, host of the nationally syndicated ­Today’s Homeowner with Danny ­Lipford television and radio programs. He has been a ­licensed contractor based in Alabama for more than 36 years.

I sought out joy in the face of ­adver­sity. My year did not start off well—I severed a nerve in my left hand in a freak accident. I felt crushed when my doctor told me, “Your hand will never be the same in function or feeling.” But rather than wallow in self-pity, I asked myself, What do I really need to do for myself? I decided that the answer was to go on a vacation. A month later, I was in Belize, a tiny country in Central America full of friendly faces and spectacular scenery. I have taken four other delightful trips since then, combining business and pleasure when I have the opportunity to do so. For years I have been telling myself that I don’t have time for travel, but it turned out that it was just a matter of finding a way to make it happen. Now when I look back on this past year, I don’t just think of my accident. I also think of excitement and adventure.

Source: Linda Sapadin, PhD, clinical psychologist and success coach in private practice in Valley Stream, New York. She specializes in helping people overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior and is author of How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age.

I made sure my breakfast includes a vegetable. Vegetables are part of most lunches and dinners, but they often are overlooked at that very important first meal of the day. That’s a missed opportunity—vegetables provide necessary nutrients, and most of us are not eating as much of them as we should. Besides, vegetables can be delicious at breakfast. For example, try adding broccoli and mushrooms to your omelet. My favorite vegetable-inclusive breakfast is an egg on toast covered with sautéed spinach and a squirt of lemon juice. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach are rich in folate, vitamin K, ­lutein, beta-carotene and other nutrients, and they are particularly good for the brain. Studies suggest that consuming leafy greens regularly can significantly slow cognitive decline as we age.

Source: Martha Clare Morris, ScD, professor and director of the Section of Nutrition & Nutritional Epidemiology at Rush University, Chicago. She specializes in dietary and other preventable risk factors in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic diseases in older adults.

Date: December 15, 2015 Publication: Bottom Line Personal
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