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Things men should do for 30 days

By William Leigh
Things men should do for 30 days
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Us fellas aren't renowned for our fondness of commitment unless it's to the pub, sport and good food. We could, however, all do with pushing our boundaries, stretching our imagination and testing ourselves as individuals.

For some, this involves pushing ourselves to physical extremes — climbing mountains, trekking through remote jungles or diving through deep, dark cave systems.

For the rest of us slightly more normal folk, challenging ourselves is still important — and a great way to learn about yourself is just to try a few things for 30 days — a manageable amount of time by anyone's standards and one in which you might just find something you like.

The old adage is that it takes 21 days to kick a habit and 21 days to develop one — so give some of these a go for a month and see where you end up.

Go veggie
Not vegan, just veggie — kicking it all would be too much of an effort — you'd end up hungry most of the time and chewing on celery sticks with no blue cheese in sight might be a burden too great to bear.

Ova-lactarian vegetarianism, where one can eat eggs, cheese and other dairy would be the one to try. Your attitude to cooking will change, your appreciation of meat will too and you'll also add a fairly good amount of dishes to your culinary repertoire.

A bit of experimentation is a very good thing when it comes to the kitchen and learning how to whip up a varied array of veggie dishes could win you brownie points with potential love interests. And just imagine how great it would be to sink your teeth into a steak after 30 days of not eating meat.

Go celibate
That's right, give it up in all forms. Challenge a friend, preferably an honest one, to a gentleman's wager to see if you can both fulfil. And this doesn't mean just giving up sex with anybody else (not a challenge for a fair few of us) but to give it up, er, alone as well.

Some claim that going without will help you attain a state of mental clarity, inner peace and get you more in tune with your own spirituality. They may be talking rubbish, but you'll have to go the 30 days to find out. If anything, it would be a genuine test of willpower, self-control and discipline, even if it might be slightly, ahem, frustrating.

Keep a diary
It's probably wise to get one with a lock or keep it in a very secure container a long way away from prying eyes but try keeping a journal or diary for 30 days, recording everything you do. You don't have to get poetic, epic or even write more than a few words about your activities, thoughts and the people you meet. We'll even let you have rudimentary sketches in there just for kicks.

But try it — aside from being an interesting exercise it will also make a fascinating read later on in life. And who knows what's going to happen in the next 30 days? Your life could change entirely and how amazing would it be to have that time recorded. Keeping a diary like this can give you a more positive outlook on life too.

Live without a mobile phone
We managed it once and yet it seems we've become surgically attached to these devices. Gone are the days when you really need to be on time, when there was a little mystery to romance and you didn't update your Twitter status every time you drew a breath. Most of us do feel disconnected when we forget to take our phones out, but when we go on holiday they're often the last thing we want to see.

You'll amaze people with your ability to write phone numbers down on paper, to use phone boxes and to respond to emails when you get in front of a computer. Oh, and you'll learn to read a map. A good old fashioned map never runs out of battery and works all the time.

Give up TV
And the cinema, computer games and if possible, the computer. You'll discover a wealth of other things you never knew you enjoyed; your social interaction will become much better; your literacy will increase as you'll probably end up reading more books, newspapers and magazines.

The TV is often an easy option, requiring little brainpower — the plethora of vacuous reality programmes on now is mind-numbing. Too many of us these days pop the TV on while we're having dinner and miss a whole swathe of social interaction with our friends and partners (although, in some cases, that may be a blessing).

Switch the box off, take it out of the house and give TV abstinence a go. Besides, you'll be doing your bit to help the environment too. And if you don't need to use a computer, turn that off too.

Take a photo of yourself every day
A fairly easy one this, but with interesting results. Choose a spot — maybe a wall in your garden or somewhere with a view — out of a window overlooking a road or a park perhaps. Set up the camera on a tripod or a table, or wherever you can but make a note of exactly where it is and then take your picture. Try and do it at the same time if you can. And that's it.

After 30 days you'll have a striking visual record of the changes you may have gone through and a fascinating view of the action behind. You don't have to limit yourself to 30 days. One man actually did it for six years and posted the results on YouTube.

Be kind to everyone
It might seem silly and surely there are some of you out there who are super-nice all the time, but we all know we could be nicer. It's often quite difficult and there are times when, particularly for city people, saying hello to bus drivers is frustrating and exhausting. How hard is it to be civil? On a rare occasion, it is rewarding.

By being positive, kind and pleasant you'll change the way people see you, you'll change your outlook, your mindset and your mood. And while you're being nice to everyone around you, take on the second part of the challenge — being nice to strangers.

Whether you decide to give up your seat on the train, buy a homeless person a cup of coffee, stay in on a Friday night and give the money you would have spent to charity, volunteer at your local charity shop or even help old ladies cross the road (without swiping their handbags), you'll feel good. But that's not why you're doing it. They'll feel great with a little bit of their faith in humanity restored.

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User comments
what a load of *** , honestly who writes this stuff