1. Fight the flab
Yup, it’s the big one. If you’ve got all the muscle mass of a packetfresh jellybaby, head for The Frame Bootcamp. It’s not a gym, and there’s no being shouted at in the freezing cold, but they will make you dance, sweat, jiggle and burn: sometimes all at the same time. Take it from us and our aching legs, it works. Aerobics on a trampoline? A kettlebell class set to pop music? Boredom isn’t really an option, just prepare to get buff in 2013.
Frame, 29 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EY and 27 Beethoven St, W10 4LG.
2. Retrain your brain
Can you learn how to be creative? Keep your cool? Make better conversation? The School of Life think so and have set up a timetable of classes to prove that our old habits aren’t hardwired. Think of it as self-help minus the windy guff (and without Amazon badgering you for the next year with a list of suggested reads). January’s pick of the bunch? ‘How to Find a Job You Love.’ Bingo!
The School of Life, 70 Marchmont St, WC1N 1AB.
3. Find your funny
Class clown, office joker, pub raconteur: the funny thing about stand-ups is that they’re rarely any of the above. Plenty of us could have a serious talent to amuse and this is where workshops at places like London Comedy Course in New Cross and the Comedy School in Camden come in, teaching you the mechanics of comedy, improving your delivery and (hopefully) making you funnier.
4. Write that play
Are you still nursing that long-held belief that everybody’s got a play in them? London has the world’s best theatre scene and there’s plenty of support if you hunt it out. Soho Theatre is running a series of monthly workshops on ‘The Essentials of Dramatic Storytelling’ (starting January 21), while Faber Academy’s ‘Write a Play in Three Months’ is aimed at new and developing playwrights.
5. Grow your own
An increasing community of Londoners with tiny amounts of outdoor space are managing to produce a pot or two of their own fresh food. Check out the website for the urban food growing network, and you’ll see that you don’t need a garden, a window ledge will do.
6. Art it up
All this culture on your home turf –but when did you last stop to take in a piece of life-changing genius? On First Thursdays, 170 east London galleries stay open till 9pm so you can go on a massive exhibition crawl through the neighbourhood. Or you can head for The National Gallery; there are free tours of their collection daily at 11.30am and 2.30pm. Ditto the V&A at 10.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 3.30pm and Tate Britain at 11am, noon, 2pm and 3pm.
7. Come dine with me
Pop-up restaurants, secret supper clubs… London loves eating out. But what about cooking for yourself? This could be your year to pull a Lorraine Pascale and head to cookery school. Waitrose’s cookery school in Finchley has courses for everyone from kitchen pros to those who need a garlic crusher explaining to them.
8. Get handy
Being rubbish at DIY is a real chore. It’s also incredibly expensive once you’ve hopelessly botched a so-called simple job and had to get in the professionals. The Goodlife Centre offers courses for the wholly useless and semi-skilled alike.
9. Give something back
For 2013, the charity Nesta has some great London initiatives: the GoodGym, for example, matches a jogger with an elderly person, so they can literally run errands for them, or a ‘work out’ can mean doing someone’s gardening. Casserole is their neighbourhood food-sharing team – just make a little extra for those who can’t cook for themselves.
10. Find God
Has the comedown from the festivities left you in an existential black hole? Try the original, all-in-one lifestyle change – become a monk or a nun. Join the Benedictines at Ealing Abbey or Tyburn Convent, handily located near Marble Arch. After a few decades of humble servitude, silence and a bit of singing, the only bad habits you’ll have picked up will be on laundry duty. Who are we kidding? We just survived the apocalypse! Cheers!