The A-Z of New Year's Resolutions
Resolve to do 26 better things this 2016.
A is for Adopt an Animal
Missing love in your life? Find a furry four-legged best friend at Hong Kong Dog Rescue. This rescue organization finds homes for hundreds of dogs a year, and you could be the next one to bring up a cuddly companion. Adoption days are held every Sunday from 2-5pm at Whiskers N Paws.
B is for Breathe Better
Stop just complaining about Hong Kong’s scary pollution levels and put your money where your mouth is. It may cost a pretty penny, but a high-quality air purifier is a good investment, especially in Hong Kong where clean air isn’t exactly easy to come by. Your lungs will thank you. Until you go outside, that is.
C is for Cook Like a Chef
Tired of store-bought congee and craving some homemade coq au vin instead? Hone your kitchen skills and learn to butcher and bake like a pro with bona-fide culinary lessons at The Mixing Bowl. This cooking school holds courses for all levels so don’t worry if you’re still cracking shells into your scrambled eggs: The instructors here will have you whipping up fierce meringues in no time.
D is for Declutter
If your apartment’s drowning in clothes that were last fashionable in the late 90s, it might be time to declutter your home... and your life. Bring your quality cast-offs to Green Ladies, which gives you back a percentage of used clothing sales, or simply donate them if you’re just looking to free up some space. Alternatively, H&M gives you a voucher for each full bag of clothes and textiles you bring into the store. Score!
E is for Explore Entrepreneurship
There’s a reason why it seems like everyone and their mom is starting a business in Hong Kong: The city is a great place for entrepreneurs, with a thriving startup community and plenty of tools and training courses at your disposal. TEN, The Entrepreneurs’ Network, provides a support channel for entrepreneurs with networking opportunities and courses that range from raising capital to identifying your market niche. Our market niche is fresh pea shoots. They’re in season!
F is for Find Fitness
It’s an oldie, but a goldie—a new year means that it’s time to renew your resolutions to get that six-pack or tone up that underarm flab. Join a gym if you’ve got cash to spare, but we’re partial to getting fit for free: Hong Kong Harbour Runners is a community group that connects those who love to pound the pavement, getting fit while exploring Hong Kong’s cityscape and making lasting running buddies.
G is for Go Green
Every year you say you’ll recycle more, and every year you fail. 2016 is the year to don the green hat and walk the extra few steps to the recycling bin. Can’t handle the trek? Then sign up to HK Recycles (from $590 per month), which will come to your house and collect your recycling for you. All you have to do is sort it. You can do that, can’t you?
H is for Healthy Habits
Eat less, exercise more, obviously. But that’s easier said than done. Sometimes a simple word of encouragement goes a long way in shaping your choices throughout the day. Subscribe to wellness websites such as mydailyinsights.com or mindbodygreen.com for daily, only slightly smug inspiration straight to your inbox.
I is for Ink It
You’ve been thinking of getting a tattoo for as long as you can remember—and you’ve finally got a good idea for a kickass tat. Instead of crying over spilled ink (literally) at some dodgy street-side parlor, ring up Rob Kelly at Blackout Tattoo for a professional artist who’ll turn your fantasy into a reality. Whether you want a Game of Thrones dragon or BB-8 drawn indelibly onto your own body, Rob will make sure your tat stays sharp and classy.
J is for Jam for Joy
Just like Bob Marley, we’re jammin’ all over town. Art Jamming is one of the best painting parties in the city, with free-flow acrylic paints and canvases so you can unleash your inner Picasso. Alternatively, round up your musician friends for an all-out jam session at Peel Fresco Music Lounge on open mic Tuesdays, or find the joy in making your own homemade jam: Cook about 950 grams of hulled, chopped strawberries in a pan with around half that of sugar (add more to taste) and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice until thickened and bubbling at the surface, which should take about 8-9 minutes. Transfer to a jar and voila! Homemade strawberry jam. Serve on buttered toast and try not to eat it all at once.
K is for Kick it in Kowloon
How many times did you hang out in Kowloon last year? Do you still call it the “dark side”? Shame on you, man. Cross the harbor for once in your miserable life for some of Hong Kong’s best eats and fun. Take the Tsuen Wan line. Yes, that’s the red one.
L is for Land a Lover
Tinder is so last year—time to man (or woman) up and land a lover who’ll last more than a split-second on a one-night stand. The foundation to any great romance is a great first date—skip dinner and a movie and head instead to the Hong Kong Astropark, where you can fall in love under the stars…
M is for Mind over Matter
Worried all the time? Welcome to the modern condition. But finding time to meditate can be hard, so head on a full detox holiday to The Palm Retreat in Koh Samui, whose program is designed to restore the mind, body and spirit. The only problem? You’re in Thailand, so it’s going to be very difficult not to sneak in a calorific mango sticky rice...
N is for Nix the Negativity
Can we all agree that 2015 was a bit of a crappy year? Well, we’re in a whole new one now so you can stop being so pessimistic. Plan an adventure! Go see a friend you haven’t hung out with in ages! Remember that it’s fun to do silly things!
O is for Opt for Organic
So you’ve spent the whole year searching out all-natural food labels and eating only farm-to-table produce—it’s time to take the next step and start growing your own. The guys at Time To Grow can teach you all about setting up your own mini farming ecosystem on your rooftop or balcony, complete with planters, organic seedlings, soil and a harvesting plan. So the next time you run out of basil for homemade pesto, instead of dropping a small fortune on a few wilting leaves simply pick ‘em from your balcony.
P is for Pick up Pottery
Pottery: It’s mind calming, effortless but rewarding and you can pretend you’re in the movie “Ghost.” Building a beautiful bowl or ceramic mug is easier than you think—just ask the experts at The Pottery Workshop, who’ve turned many a pottery noob into a molding magician. Courses are available for groups or individuals ($2,500 for 7 sessions) and yes, you get to keep the bowl.
Q is for Quit
Want to stop smoking? Us too! Call the Integrated Smoking Cessation Hotline at 1833-183.
R is for Read Regularly
There’s nothing wrong with magazines (read more HK Magazine!) but few things beat a good book. Learn to become a trained storyteller to read to kids or manage a storytelling program with Bring Me a Book Hong Kong, an organization that advocates family literacy.
S is for Sack the Stress
Boss an asshole? Boyfriend a passive-aggressive tool? a) quit your job b) dump your boyfriend c) work out all that stress with boxing classes at Jab MMA.
T is for Take Care of Your Teeth
Look, we get it. Visiting the dentist is as torturous as sitting through Episodes I-III of “Star Wars,” but you have to face the chair unless you want to be unkissable forever.
U is for Unplug
Research has revealed that people spend an average of eight hours and 41 minutes a day on media devices, which is why we’re making it our top resolution this year to unplug. Do whatever you need to do to unglue your fingers from your phone: Ban devices in the bedroom, at dinner, when you’re out with friends, and especially when you’re watching a sunset with someone important to you. Chances are you’re missing a great makeout opportunity because you’re trying to decide between the X-Pro and Amaro filters on Instagram.
V is for Volunteer
Countless hours spent watching “Friends” reruns would be much better applied at HandsOn Hong Kong, which has a variety of volunteer programs for you to choose from. Help students with disabilities, volunteer at a food bank, read to the illiterate or help spread environmental awareness… we guarantee the good feeling will last much longer than unwrapping that hoverboard you got for Christmas.
W is for Writ like Whitman
Feel the need to write the Great Hong Kong Novel? The Hong Kong Writers Circle is here to help. Founded in 1991, this organization connects writers from all genres and levels to hone their craft, offering regular seminars, writing workshops, readings and social events. Critique groups also allow you to receive feedback on short- or long-form works from publishing professionals. Our suggestion: needs more explosions.
X is for Ex your Exes
Been through a crappy breakup(s)? Delete their numbers from your phones so you’ll never drunk-dial them ever again. Go find someone new who isn’t a douchebag!
Y is for Yoga like Yoda
Give a sun salutation to the new year at The Yoga Room, a boutique studio which focuses on perfecting technique through personalized instruction. With more than 100 classes on offer each week, you’ve got no excuse not to brush up your tree pose.
Z is for Zip Away
So over Thailand, Vietnam and Laos? Make this year one of more exotic exploration. Here are five great places to go this year:
—Kapas Island, Malaysia.
Perhaps the best kept secret in Malaysia. Go for the white sandy beaches and picturesque palms.
—Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar.
A beautiful and highly untraveled system of islands in the Andaman sea. Especially good for divers.
—Dunhuang Caves, Gansu Province, China.
Ancient temples and Buddhist art spanning a millenium of creation, sitting at a nexus of the Silk Road.
We’re not the only city to combine east and west: Istanbul literally straddles Europe and Asia. AND there’s baklava.
—Shanghai Disneyland, China.
Slated to open in Spring 2016, the House of Mouse comes to the mainland and is set to be the largest theme park in China. You have to see this, even if you don’t want to. Also: there’s gonna be a Toy Story Hotel!