Corporate Sales Manager Suzy wants to read more books.
Prof Hart’s advice: Reading more books will make you a more intelligent and interesting person, but many people claim they don’t have enough time to read. I disagree. There is always time to read, you just have to be creative. Think of times where you don’t really need to concentrate and could do with being entertained- a long drive for instance. Many motorways are virtually straight, so it’s a perfect time to plant ‘Pride and Prejudice’ on the steering wheel and enjoy a few chapters. That previously dull drive to Aberdeen will fly by.
Commercial Director Will wants to stop buying clothes in sales that don’t fit.
Prof Hart’s advice: Purchasing clothes in a sale is a gamble. You’ll frequently end up with a shirt that’s too big or a pair of trousers that are too tight. You may think that the answer is to buy clothes at full price that fit, but you’d be completely wrong. Sales items are bargains, so what you need to do is modify your body shape to fit them. Trousers too tight? Run 15 miles a day and your legs will soon be a skinny as rakes. You’ll be in those slacks in no time. Shirt too baggy? Join a gym, take a course of steroids and pump iron until you’ve doubled the size of your upper body.
Corporate Fun Manager Ali wants to stop smoking.
Prof Hart’s advice: Smoking kills, but many people find that they have nothing to do with their hands and mouth once they’ve quit and end up turning back to the cigarettes out of boredom. Keeping your mouth and hands occupied is a priority which is why I recommend starting a Punch and Judy show. Keep the puppets on your hands at all times and if you feel a craving, start performing. You may even want to incorporate an anti-smoking message into your storyline to remind you why you’re doing this.
Corporate Accounts whiz Paul wants to play at open mic nights with his band.
Prof Hart’s advice: If you’ve got musical aspirations, booking a spot at an open mic night is the easy part, it’s making the right impression with music industry big wigs that counts. Once you’ve got your names on the bill at a venue it’s time to start working on your stage show. There’s more to making it in music than writing good songs. What you need is a gimmick. Nobody had heard of Ozzy Osbourne before he bit the head off a bat live on stage, so do something similar to that, but with a bigger animal, a dog for example.
Corporate Fun Manager Isabel wants to exercise more.
Prof Hart’s advice: Motivation is the key to keeping fit. Going to the gym can be a long hard slog, but the results far outweigh the pain of hours spent on the treadmill. Rather than being a fat ball of lard wobbling around on mobility scooter, you can be as lithe and sprightly as an athlete. It’s important to reward yourself to keep your levels of motivation high, so after long gym session treat yourself to a KFC family bucket or gorge yourself on chocolate.
Corporate Account Manager Ian wants to drink less alcohol.
Prof Hart’s advice: Everyone loves a drink, I know I do. A swig of whiskey with breakfast sets you up perfectly for the day, a couple of beers with lunch is good for the digestive system and there’s no better way to unwind after a hard day at work than with a heavy session finishing with you passing out in the gutter. Although you may think that drink is at the root at many of your problems, you’d be wrong. If your hangovers are ruining your working day, quit your job and stay in bed. Can’t drive because you’re over the limit? Sell the car, get taxis everywhere and invest the money you save behind the bar of the local boozer. If volume is the problem try only drinking spirits.
Professor Christopher Hart lectures at the University of Southern England.