2016 is nearly upon us, and now is the perfect time to reflect on your year and start making adjustments as needed in order to make the coming year that much more awesome. Here are 21 simple things you can do to be a standout when everyone's done singing Auld Lang Syne. Don't think of these as resolutions; resolutions were made to be broken. Think of these as personal challenges.

  1. Don't be afraid to do things alone that people typically do in pairs or in groups. Eat out. Go to the movies. Play miniature golf. Just do it. You'll actually feel yourself becoming liberated from everyone's expectations.
  2. Stop it with the cliches. No idea journaling (unless you really have that many amazing idea that you really are that prone to forgetting). No meditation (if that's not a thing you'd naturally be doing). You do you.
  3. Cultivate a unique hobby. You'd love to be that guy who's into falconry. Admit it, that's a cool calling card.
  4. Be a snappy dresser. Not as easy as it seems for those among us who are fashion challenged. One of my favorite wardrobe hacks is to actually go into any given store and throw myself at the mercy of a benevolent salesperson. I will advise them, in so many words, to play dress up with me and help me figure out what looks and fits best. It's always worth it.
  5. Carry around a book. Bonus: Read the damn thing. Nobody reads enough, and when they do, it's rarely a hard copy.
  6. Have a land line and use it as your primary contact number. This will not only blow people's minds, but will also liberate you from the oppression of being in constant communication with everyone.
  7. Forget 2 dollar bills. This calling card is yesterday's news. You definitely want to tip in Sacagawea gold dollars. Who does that?
  8. Have a cool desk. Include items that are talking points that you actually have some kind of personal connection to. You'll wind up having something extracurricular to talk about with people, and you will become more likable by default.
  9. Be willing to speak up in defense of your unpopular opinion. Use well-reasoned arguments that are free from emotion. Don't get mad or obscene. People respect people who can calmly defend their point of view.
  10. Help someone. Anyone. At work, in your neighborhood, on the street, wherever. It's just a good thing to do that builds good karma.
  11. Embrace the vintage. Have an awesome record or CD collection. Few people do anymore. Yes, CDs count as vintage. I hope you feel as old as I do right now.
  12. Like things because you like them, not because everyone else likes them. You may have learned this lesson from a Judy Blume book at some point during your youth, as I did. It's good advice. Authenticity is the single most important trait a person can have.
  13. Don't rationalize. Everyone is guilty of doing this from time to time: "Well, if I just do <thing you absolutely shouldn't do, probably not ever> just this once, it will be fine because <insert literally any reason here, whether it makes sense or not>." And since everyone does this, it's a great reason to make an effort not to.
  14. Own what you know. Be an expert in at least one thing. Being a jack of all trades is nice, but being the master of one is priceless. You can be good at as many things as you like. Be an expert in at least one.
  15. Have an impressive vocabulary that you use with ninja-like restraint. You don't want to come across as an intellectual snob who's trying too hard, but a nice, thick word every now and then -- used correctly and well placed -- is awesome.
  16. Don't worry about what people think of you. This doesn't mean remove your censor entirely and go around telling people off. It does mean that you should be aware of all the time you spend wondering what someone else will think about every small move you make. Making an effort not to shape your identity based on what you think other people will find pleasing is an important step on your journey to authenticity.
  17. Make the right amount of eye contact. Not a creepy amount. You'll know when it's a creepy amount, because you'll start to feel creepy. But the right amount of eye contact goes a long way towards building better relationships
  18. Learn how to make a handful of origami items. It's a neat skill and an excellent way to keep your hands busy during idle moments. It can even be relaxing. Bonus points: write a random inspirational meme or funny quote on the paper before you begin folding it and give it out at your discretion.
  19. Drive a car that falls outside the standard palette of popular car colors. Whenever I see a unique color of car on the road -- like yellow, or bright pink, or purple, or even bright blue -- I quietly salute the driver for daring to be different.
  20. Just for one day, tack on a quirky addition to your outfit. Suspenders? Bowtie? Color contacts? Beanie? The sky is your limit. People will talk, but it'll be amused, positive chatter. Emphasis on "just for one day".
  21. Try a social media blackout. It's standard to maintain a LinkedIn account these days for professional purposes, but experiment with ditching the optional ones like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Whenever I try looking someone up on any one of these to find that they don't exist there (or don't appear to, anyway), my first reaction is one of curiosity and awe. You've just become that much more interesting, simply by virtue of being impossible to stalk.