Across the globe today, billions are engaged in an essentially identical inward mental process. Reflecting on the year that has passed, they are asking themselves: what single action can I take in 2013 to improve my life, to get more done, to be healthier, to be the best me that I can be? That's right: they are setting their New Year's resolutions.
Of course, most of us are old enough to know that New Year's resolutions don't always work. If they did, we'd be skinny, non-smoking, health-food-eating millionaires by now. But don't do the sane thing and give up: with guidance from a smattering of the best-known self-help classics, 2013 can be different.
• Whatever you're hoping to achieve next year, start by reading the undisputed, granite-jawed, fist-pumping, like-something-out-of-a-Pixar-movie master of motivation, Anthony Robbins. His Awaken the Giant Within (Pocket Books, Dh65), promises techniques that will unlock the vast power that lurks in your subconscious. Soon you'll be resisting that third piece of cake without even trying (oh go on, just have half of it).
• Giant awakened, let's turn to the office. We've all looked at a colleague and thought to ourselves: "Alan is so highly effective, how does he do it?" Find out in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Simon & Schuster, Dh89), Stephen Covey's legendary guide to the practices that make some people so annoyingly successful. 7 Habits was written pre-internet, so "relentlessly self-publicise on Twitter" is not on the list.
• Still not living the dream? Time for a crash course. Learn how to fake sincerity with Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People (Vermilion, Dh53), curb your shopping addiction by purchasing Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Plata Publishing, Dh71) and apply gender stereotypes to your ailing relationship with John Gray's Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (Harper Element, Dh53).
ŸIf you're still not sorted, then frankly there is no hope. The only option that remains is to turn to the paradoxically titled Boosting Self-Esteem for Dummies by Rhena Branch. You're going to need it, you wonderful, clever, loveable dummy.
* David Mattin