SOLUTION: You’ve proven yourself incompetent with icebreakers, so it’s time to try something new. Give up on the bar scene and join a sports league or dinner club for singles instead. Or ask a similarly hopeless classmate from flirting class for his or her digits.

PROBLEM: Your self-help class on “Finding Your True Inner Self” has you reflecting and discovering even more about who you are than you did while reading Eat, Pray, Love. The resulting revelations are profound, and your friends notice a difference. There’s only one problem: they’re not too enthused. In fact, they’ve stopped returning your calls. As it turns out, your true inner self is a total douchebag.

SOLUTION: First, resist the urge to wear Ed Hardy at all costs. Then lose yourself as quickly as you found yourself by immersing douchebag-you in a new hobby that involves working with others, like rock-climbing. Your success will depend on others, and that will force you to re-learn selflessness and the talent of sucking up. Don’t make that person belaying want to drop you, bro.

PROBLEM: You enroll in an expensive, eight-week intensive study of Scotch whiskies. Everything was going well until your classy, delicious journey came to an end. Now your head is pounding, your gut is protruding, and your liver is swollen.

SOLUTION: It’s time for a detox. Sweat out two months of whisky through a new regimen of Bikram yoga classes, and take a cooking class in vegetarian, vegan, or raw cuisine. Take advantage of the healthy lifestyles Portland has to offer and you’ll be well-rested when your next whisky-education session starts up.
The road to a better self can be treacherous, but it’s nothing you can’t handle if you prepare for the worst. Here’s to a (somewhat) better you in 2010!

Ashley Rigazio is perennially in danger of excess self-improvement. She can be reached at

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