You’ve got the look, the job and a sense of who you are and where you’re going — or, hopefully, at least one of these. Here are three tastes and habits to cultivate that might add to your life and career:
Developing a fitness habit that ensures you’ll regularly engage in the kinds of exercise that work for you is crucial — not just for looking your best, but for being it, too.
“Staying active and healthy is good for your professional well-being. I definitely feel you’re a more present, engaged person if you keep yourself physically active and keep the oxygen flowing to your brain.”
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a great athlete — or even a good one — to start getting healthy.
A competitive runner in college, Flanagan became “pretty sedentary” in his mid-20s and 30s, eventually putting on nearly 50 extra pounds.
“Let’s put it this way, my BMI was not great,” he said, referring to his Body Mass Index, a measure used to determine if a person is in a healthy weight range.
In 2012, Flanagan gave CrossFit a try and is now a regular — and teaches a weekly class as a side hustle. “Most of my colleagues have other full-time jobs and coach on the side because we enjoy it,” he said.
His experience highlights a few key aspects of great fitness choices:
- Mix it up to stay inspired: As the name implies, CrossFit offers “an unusual mashup of different activities,” Flanagan said. From Olympic weightlifting to gymnastics, the workouts vary greatly. A good personal trainer or yoga instructor can also keep you engaged by mixing up the routines.
- You do you: If CrossFit isn’t your thing, find a local league or pickup game for whatever sounds like fun — Ultimate Frisbee, dodgeball, basketball, soccer or even kickball. More solitary? Try walking, running, swimming or online fitness classes.
- Start now: No need to wait for your (inevitable) New Year’s resolution to work out more — get started ASAP and enjoy all the holiday festivities with less guilt and a better BMI.
Find an appreciation for art
Exposing yourself to art can have profound effects on your life and perspective. Here are some simple steps to take if you’re just getting started or looking to boost your art IQ:
- Do your research: Check out Artforum.com, ARTnews.com or local sources for weekend listings of gallery openings and museum exhibits in your area. Find one or two that look interesting every month and drag a friend out with you.
- Be guided: Take a guided tour at museums. Read the descriptive handouts at galleries. Use the Google Arts & Culture app to explore collections nearby. “If you’re looking at 150 white paintings, you’re not going to get anything out of it unless you get some context,” said Signe Howard, a former art dealer at New York’s Pace Gallery. “You’ll learn about the canon, the context and the background of the artist, which contributes to your understanding and appreciation.”
- Make a day of it: Galleries and museums are often located in the same part of town. “Pop into a bunch of [shows], have lunch and become knowledgeable really quickly,” Howard said.
- Make an evening of it: The best-kept secret is that gallery shows are always free and open to the public. “I couldn’t believe the money we’d pour into these shows and literally anyone can come for free to see them,” Howard noted. “It’s a mini-party with wine, and you’re looking at art. It’s a fun, free way to spend a night.”
- If you’re ready to buy, follow your heart. Work with a gallery, find an individual artist whose work you like or peruse online art marketplaces like Artspace.com or Saatchi Art. “Never buy art unless you love it,” she said. “Never buy for an investment — always buy with your heart and start by buying prints or photography. You don’t have to be a multimillionaire to be a collector.”
- If you do buy, buy smart: If you’re serious about purchasing, go online to check prices on similar pieces. Search the artist to see if they’re associated with a gallery, or look online for nearby auction houses.
Be A Winer
Developing a taste for wine isn’t just about getting tipsy. Understanding the diverse world of wine can be a richly rewarding experience.
- Get the inside skinny on varietals, regions and vintners. Get a copy for you and your friend of “The Wine Bible,” by Karen MacNeil: It’s widely regarded as the book on the subject, and you can become oenophiles together. Or try out an app like Decanter’s Know Your Wine, which offers information and quizzes to “increase your knowledge from grape to glass.”
- Go shopping: Neighborhood wine shops as well as big retailers like Total Wine, Publix and Krogers typically have tastings with various wines to try. Several apps can dramatically up your wine-buying game when you’re standing in front of a wall of bottles for sale. Vivino and Delectable let your phone scan thousands of wine labels to provide you with ratings, reviews and tasting notes. With these apps, you can also skip the store entirely and have wines shipped straight to your couch.
- Samples are available: If you’re dining out and there’s a sommelier, or knowledgeable waiter or bartender, ask the person to recommend something.
Then ask to taste a sample of it. Most places will gladly offer you some. Don’t abuse the privilege, but you’re under no obligation to purchase. Trying a sample gives you an opportunity to leverage someone else’s expertise as you discover your tastes.
Improving your fitness and refining your taste for art and wine will add immeasurably to your pleasure in life. Add some music to the mix or maybe study another language, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a modern Renaissance woman or man.
This article originally appeared on Forbes