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10 Things to Do in the New Year

Whether you're resolving to travel, spread sunshine, or achieve in-box zero, these tips will help.

For Random Acts of Kindness Day, commit a random act of homemade brownies.

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1. Treat your taste buds. February is Black History Month. You can taste some of that history in the foods of the great African American culinary tradition. Read about some of the best places in the West to experience that cuisine at AAA.com/blackhistory.

2. Prep your car. Winter brings rain, snow, and ice to roads, making driving a challenge. Get prepared by taking your car into a garage for a checkup. AAA Members who patronize a shop in the AAA Approved Auto Repair network receive a 10 percent discount and a warranty on all work. To find a location near you, visit AAA.com/autorepair.

3. Organize your in-box. Get the New Year off to a good clean start by taming your email: Sort messages by sender, unsubscribe from mailing lists, create labels, and then file, separating out emails that require urgent responses. Mass delete the rest.

4. Plot your escape. In 2018, U.S. workers left 768 million vacation days on the table. This year, be sure you take advantage of your paid time off. You might start on Jan. 28—National Plan for Vacation Day—by visiting AAA.com/travel.

5. Shine your light. On Feb. 17, Random Acts of Kindness Day, let someone go ahead of you in line, bake brownies for the mail carrier, or cede a space in a crowded parking lot to another driver—the ultimate good deed.

6. Embrace your hygge. Winter is the season for hygge (pronounced HOO-ga), the Danish word for the sensation of extreme coziness and deep contentment. Get in the spirit: Curl up with a soft blanket and a cup of tea.

7. Catch your rays. Cozy is good, but don't stay in all day. An estimated 10 million Americans experience seasonal affective disorder in fall and winter, when daylight hours wane. Beat the blues by spending 30 minutes a day outdoors.

8. Check your charge. In cold weather, an aging battery may make it difficult to start your car engine. With AAA Battery Service, a tech will come to you, test the battery, and install a new one if needed. Learn more about AAA Battery Service.

9. Protect your e-profile. Jan. 28 is Data Privacy Day. Guard yourself against cyber crime by changing the passwords of your online accounts. Choose a short sentence you'll remember (such as "ilooovemyN3Wcar!"), make it at least 12 characters long, and create a unique one for each website.

10. Crack into your dinner. Easterners can keep their lobster: Westerners would rather have Dungeness crab. The season for these sweet, briny sea scrabblers is now in full swing.

This article was first published in December 2017 and last updated in Winter 2020. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.