‘Clean out my garage.’ Adam Fowler
Want to get rid of the rubbish? Contact local charity Take My Junk (www.takemyjunkuae.com), which will collect your stuff and distribute it to local labour camps. If you just want to sort through your belongings, there are people out there who share your pain – there’s even a Clean Your Garage Day in the US on September 10. How to go about it? ‘Move EVERYTHING outside, sorting stuff into areas for keep, trash, donate,’ recommends successful www.43things.com blogger Yediyd. ‘Move only the ‘keep’ items back in and get rid of the rest immediately, then work out a system for storage.’ The trick behind making sure you never have to tidy it again? Never Veer From The System. Need more motivation? It’s dangerous not to tidy your garage: surveys show that 39 per cent of people trip over items in there. Pre-empt that stubbed toe.
‘Pay my debts.’ Jo Zapanta
According to the latest data from Swiss bank Credit Suisse, the average UAE adult’s debts have quadrupled in the past decade, from US$7,110 in 2000 to US$28,483 in 2010, due to increased consumerism and access to easy credit before the recession. How to get rid of it quick? Keren Bobker, a senior consultant at finance group Holborn Assets (www.holbornassets.com), has some pointers. ‘Start by working out what you have to pay each month, then allocate monies to debts,’ she says. ‘Withdraw an amount of cash for spending each week. This is the top way to save cash. Save up for big items and don’t use a credit card for day-to-day spending – leave it at home. Buying something on a credit card and paying it off over a long period significantly increases the cost.’
‘I want to learn salsa.’ Namita Ramani
Dancing is good for the soul. Fact. Here at Time Out, we recommend dancing more next year, anywhere – at home, in clubs or walking to work (apart from during Ramadan, of course, when dancing is forbidden). If, like Namita, you are specifically interested in salsa, head to Pharaoh’s Club at Wafi on Tuesdays at 8.15pm for a Dhs40 class with Phil Bedford. ‘You’ll use approximately 600 calories an hour depending on the speed of the music and skill level,’ he explains. Other enticements, according to Phil, include social connection, laughter and stress relief. ‘My biggest buzz is taking people who can’t dance and getting them to be great at salsa – it’s amazing for their confidence.’ Finally, it will give you access to a global network of friends, or ‘salseros’, wherever you go. Olé!
‘Find the partner of my dreams.’ Lucy Morgan
There’s a myth that it’s difficult to meet people in Dubai. This is poppycock. The truth is that this city is one of the most outgoing in the world, with expats away from home and their inhibitions, many ready to socialise with anyone of any nationality. Aside from taking up a mixed sport such as touch rugby – try Duplays (www.duplays.com), which offers hundreds of leagues – there are several popular ‘social sites’ that no longer carry nerdy connotations. Try www.friendfinder.com, which has its own video channel, or Dubai Lime (www.dubailime.com), which regularly receives updates about people looking for partners. Don’t like the idea of meeting online? A survey by Match.com shows most married couples still meet through work (36 per cent) or through friends or family (26 per cent), followed by online dating sites (17 per cent) and bars/clubs/social events (11 per cent), with 11 per cent meeting via other means (including their place of worship!). So, be nice to your friends and workmates: they may be a link to your ideal match.
‘Improve my social life.’ Maria Asaad
As with partners, the time-honoured way to meet people outside work in Dubai is via an activity or hobby – the activity you’ve chosen will be an instant an icebreaker. Scuba diving (which makes speech, well, impossible) may not seem like the ideal way to strike up a friendship. Yet because it’s a non-competitive sport involving long journeys on boats and pairing up with ‘buddies’ who are then responsible for your life, participants tend to get chatting above water a lot more easily than, say, drinkers in a noisy, attitude-choked club. Desert Sport Diving Club (www.desertsportsdivingclub.net) claims to be the only independent club in the emirate. Don’t like water? Again, there are lots of online groups that provide socialising opportunities: www.alloexpat.com/dubai comprises a range of chatrooms for expats looking to meet up, while
www.socialcirclesuae.com organises everything from bowling to painting parties.
‘Discover my passion.’ Sundar Pratap Singh
Dave Crane, Dubai’s resident ‘life designer’, is happy to provide Sundar with a few tips. ‘Start by making a list of all the things that make you happy,’ he advises. ‘Also, grab a copy of your CV and put a star next to any job or activity that made you feel fulfilled. From the shortlist, write down at what point you loved the job (it may have only been during a single activity). Analyse what happened and why you loved it, because the same thing will have repeated itself throughout your life.’ Dave then suggests you ‘find your hedgehog’. ‘This sounds like a mad concept, but is probably one of the most ingenious business ideas I’ve ever seen,’ he says. ‘It’s based on the same system that gives the docile hedgehog protection against predators through its spikes.’ You need to think about two things: what you are best at, and what you’d love to do every day and never get bored. ‘The place where these two interests overlap is your “hedgehog”, or business model: that’s where you discover how to become happy every single day.’ Want more? At Dave’s website, www.automaticlifecoach.com, you can sign up for two free eBooks and NLP audio on Guaranteed Success – just fill in your details to download the free materials. Also, follow ‘davecrane’ on Facebook; his blog, www.davecrane.tv, offers more tips.
‘Do more travelling.’ Johara Sohail
If you’re going to stamp the passport more often next year, start by hitting up those destinations deemed most on-trend for 2011. Albania, Syria, Italy and Tanzania all made it onto Lonely Planet’s recently announced hot list, with high ratings for topicality, excitement, value for money and, for at least one of them, finally being free of the ‘Axis of Evil’ tag. Looking for bargains? Check out our travel deals every
week, as well as www.etihadairways.com every Monday and Tuesday, when the airline runs its cheapest e-deals, and www.flydubai.com, which plans to double its fleet and add more routes in 2011.
‘Look after my partner better.’ Loly Al
Despite all the financial doom and gloom, Dubai registered an 8 per cent rise in marriages in 2010 compared with 2009, and a decline in divorces from 20.5 per cent in the first three months of 2009 to 19.1 per cent in 2010. But that still doesn’t mean Dubai is the best environment for enjoying a happy relationship. ‘I’m fully booked throughout January – what does that tell you?’ says Helen Williams of LifeWorks Counselling Dubai (www.counsellingdubai.com). ‘Relationships fail here for a number of reasons: people are living away from their family and therefore their typical moral value system,’ she explains. ‘“Too much, too soon” is another problem: couples get serious just a few weeks after meeting, then suffer issues of trust because they don’t really know each other.’ What’s the number one thing people can do to treat their partners better in 2011? ‘Take better care of yourself, establish balance in your life and you will automatically know how to take better care of your partner,’ Helen explains. ‘Just be true to yourself.’