9 Ways to Be a Better Person in 2018

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Here’s what we’ve learned about living your best life in 2018, using lessons from some of our most-read Styles stories of 2017. We encourage you to be a better prepared, less anxious and more showered person in the new year. (And if you need more help after this, check out our tips for 2016 and 2017.)

CreditJulia Rothman

1. Make your bed.

This small act will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment, which, the thinking goes, will lead to other similarly virtuous deeds.

“Want to Have a Good Day? Try Making the Bed First” by Katherine Rosman

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2. Wear weather-appropriate shoes.

Melania Trump was reminded of this best practice when she spurred the internet’s ire by departing for hurricane-ravaged Houston in stilettos. (She wore sensible shoes upon arrival.) It’s never a bad idea to put your best foot forward, literally and figuratively.

“Melania Trump, Off to Texas, Finds Herself on Thin Heels” by Vanessa Friedman

Related: “Are High Heels Headed for a Tumble?” by Bonnie Wertheim

CreditJulia Rothman

3. Wash your hair.

You know how there are always stories telling you you’re shampooing your hair too much? Well, as with everything, a backlash is brewing. Dermatologists and hairstylists blame the blowout bar phenomenon, saying that dry shampoo will buy you an extra day or two, but nothing more. Remember that your scalp is skin and, just like your face, it needs regular washing.

“Are You Not Washing Your Hair Enough?” by Bee Shapiro

CreditJulia Rothman

4. Schedule sex.

As the Sweet Spot co-columnist Cheryl Strayed advised a reader who felt deprived: “I know this sounds incredibly unsexy, but I’m a fan of appointment sex. It doesn’t rely upon magic to make it happen. It’s on your to-do list. (Which doesn’t mean that magic won’t be made.) Like so many worthwhile things in my life — writing, exercising — I’m not always in the mood to have sex, but afterward I’m always glad I did. It’s the just-do-it model of doing it. And it works.”

“The Love Is There. The Sex Is Not. (Well, Only Once a Month.)” by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond

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5. Accept the things you cannot control.

We reported on the wedding of 98-year-old Gertrude Mokotoff and 94-year-old Alvin Mann, who, like so many couples before them, met at the gym. The groom, who also earned a bachelor’s degree in history last year, shared this advice on living a long life: “Of course, one part of it is medical science, but the bigger part is that we live worry-free lives; we do not let anything we cannot control bother us in the least.”

“She’s 98. He’s 94. They Met at the Gym.” by Vincent M. Mallozzi

CreditJulia Rothman

6. And if you still feel stressed, distract yourself with a real-life fairy tale.

If you are in dire need of some fun and frivolity, just look across the pond. In 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will bless the world with a thoroughly modern royal union.

“Meghan Markle Is Going to Make History” by Vanessa Friedman

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7. Embrace your age.

Let your hair go gray and leave those wrinkles alone. It may just be the start of a revolution. If we want to ensure a less ageist culture, then the battle begins in the mirror, wrote Ashton Applewhite. “For movements to have power, their members have to embrace the thing that is stigmatized, whether it’s being black, loving someone of the same sex, or growing old. That means moving from denying aging to accepting it, and even to embracing it.”

“Working to Disarm Women’s Anti-Aging Demon” by Ashton Applewhite

CreditJulia Rothman

8. Pack condoms.

Because you never know when the world might end. “Survivalists absolutely adore condoms,” wrote Alex Williams. They’re light, compact and can be used as a canteen, fire starter, elastic band, slingshot, fishing bobber or signaling device.

“How to Survive the Apocalypse” by Alex Williams

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9. If you suffer a setback, just keep going — and going out.

Make like Hillary Clinton after her election defeat, when she popped up at a Broadway play, an Italian restaurant and a hotel cabaret.

“Wait. Is That Hillary Clinton? Let’s Go Say Hi.” by Laura Holson