8 ways to be a better person in 2017

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2016 was a bit of a stinker, let's have a good 2017.

Here are a few tips that might ameliorate your existence next year:

1. Step outside

Fewer and fewer of us, it seems, see enough of the great outdoors.

Yes, that VR headset you got for Christmas is amazing, but walking through woodland is not only good for your physique, it helps with your mental health.

2. Join a sports club

Endorphins are great. Meeting people is fun. People at sports clubs are used to being sociable and approachable.

You don't know how good you could be at a sport until you commit to it - and think of how your body will thank you for it too.

3. Vote

You aren't represented politically unless you vote. Politicians have no reason to care for you unless you express your views at the polls and show your support for a policy, a party or a person.

If you're not engaging in the process, you're letting your demographic down and people with similar political opinions by not representing yourself.

Young people, this one especially goes out to you - you don't have the right to complain about a government enacting a law unless you voted against it.

4. Curate your news feed and choose your sources of information carefully

2016 was, for a lot of reasons, the year of fake news.

The way you combat this is by choosing news sources that you know scrutinise and fact check over those that peddle conspiracies for clicks - ie. the Washington Post or the New York Times over Infowars, for instance.

You also check a sprinkling of newspapers that you'd rather not read usually - with an open mind to the points they make and stories they cover.

If you're a Guardian reader, read the Times. If you're an Express reader, read the Independent.

If you feel comfortable in a news bubble, break it.

Facebook is a terrible source for news - you only have papers pushing stories that suit their own agenda onto your feed, and unlike choosing a newspaper on a rail, you rarely see a contrary opinion next to your publication in your curated newsfeed.

Ask your politically other-minded friends what they read and switch publications with them for a week.

Debate is healthy. Reading outrage-bait to your own agenda is decidedly not.

5. Read and study

When you look back on your life, are you going to value that 3rd rewatch of a Friends/How I Met Your Mother/Eastenders episode?

Or are you going to value reading Junot Diaz's story of Dominicans growing up in America and under Trujillo, or reading about Karl Marx's life or Donald Trump's or Henry Kissinger's, or learning a new skill you can apply regularly?

Entertainment is not a sin, nor is trash TV - just think how boring your life and opinions will be if it's all that's in your diet.

6. Try to eat less meat

Ok, if you're a carnivorous sort of person then we understand that you think meat is delicious. And we're not asking you to stop entirely - just eat less.

Eating less meat is better for the environment and for your health - it's a no brainer, especially if you're into monkey brains.

7. Turn the lights off when you leave a room

Energy saving is always a good thing to do and we all know we'll leave a tap running when we shouldn't or leave the hob on.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

8. Do the crossword

Keep the brain ticking - 'older you' will thank you for it when you're sharper than these young whippersnappers.

More: Three things to improve your brain power in old age

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