How to Embrace a Monk Mode Lifestyle for Greater Personal Fulfillment

You’ve probably heard of “monk mode” before, but you also probably don’t know how it can help you become the kind of man that you’ve always wanted to be.

“Monk mode” is a trendy idea for increased productivity, more effective work, and improved mental health, but did you know that monk mode can also lead to better relationships, more direction in your life, and greater personal satisfaction?

For a lot of men looking to take their lives to the next step, monk mode might be the answer.

But how do you do it? How do you actually embrace a “monk-mode lifestyle”?

You understand the value of shutting off distractions, but you don’t actually have systems in place that allow you to live a less distracted life. You work hard, but your ducks are not in a row. You try, but you’re still kind of a mess.

I get it. I’ve been there myself, and I’ve also figured out some really effective habits and systems that help me live a life with minimal distractions.

In this article, we’re going to talk about what monk mode is and the 10 essential habits that will help you create a monk-mode lifestyle.

So, put your phone on airplane mode, and let’s dive in.

What is Monk Mode?

“Monk Mode” is a lifestyle choice that has become very popular in recent years, especially for entrepreneurs, knowledge workers, or really just anyone who puts their self-development as a high priority.

Monk mode is what you do when you need to get things done. When you can’t afford to have distractions anymore.

Basically, living a monk-mode lifestyle means:

  • Following strict adherence to a regiment
  • Working hard
  • Minimalist-esque lifestyle choices
  • Few distractions and vices
  • Heavy restrictions on said distractions and vices

But how can monk mode help you feel a greater sense of fulfillment?

What do you actually have to do to get into monk mode?

How can you follow a monk-mode lifestyle and stick to it?

These are the 10 essential habits that are required for someone to adhere to a monk-mode lifestyle.

1. Keeping Your Word

You can’t make a big life change – like embracing a low-distraction lifestyle – without making this new lifestyle your top priority.

You can’t be living a monk-mode lifestyle… until you don’t get enough sleep. Until there’s a party you want to go to. Until you finish your first big project and then don’t know what to do next.

Monk mode – like anything else in life that is worth it – is about sacrifice.

For a new habit to stick, you need to follow it even when it’s not the most convenient thing for you to do. You need to go to the gym when you’re not feeling good. You need to read when you’re tired. You need to go to bed early even when you have energy.

To make a new habit stick, it’s not one of the most important things in your life.

Even if you have a family or kids or a partner, you can still embrace a monk-mode lifestyle without destroying your relationships – but more on that later.

2. Staying Off Your Social Media Accounts

Social media is the antithesis of monk mode.

They just don’t work together.

But let me tell you something – as an entrepreneur, there’s a lot of value on social media – if you have value to give.

That’s why, here’s my recipe for monk mode and social media:

Monk mode is about focus. If you are in the early stages of your journey of trying to get better control of your attention, living a monk-mode lifestyle is going to require intense focus and dedication to the craft. That’s why monks live in a monastery (and we’re going to talk about creating your own monastery in a bit).

Monk mode works, but not if you’re checking Instagram every day or browsing X like it’s the daily news.

Eventually, you might be able to work your way back to social media – which can be helpful if you’re using it for your business – but you need to spend time when you’re completely isolated from the outside world.

That leads us to the next point – because the truth is that social media is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to toxic media.

3. Stop Watching the News

The news is worse than social media, in my opinion.

At least with social media, there’s a sensation of familiarity. There are people that are important to you. Friends, coworkers, family members, etc. These are important things. I get it.

But the news?

Swiss writer Rolf Dobelli once wrote that “The news is for the mind what sugar is for the body”, and sugar is terrible for monk mode. So is the news.

If you want to truly embrace a lifestyle where you’re at peace, focused on yourself, and bettering the people around you, you need to be less of a globalist for a little bit. Change yourself before you worry about changing the world.

Even if you do decide to become more of a global citizen in the future, you probably should still stay away from the news.

The human mind simply cannot handle the weight of every global tragedy at once without becoming that of an anxious, scarcity-ridden fool.

Turn off the news and never turn it back on.

4. Protecting Your Calm

I think this is a huge one.

A lot of you guys are going to try to live a monk-mode lifestyle, and you’re even going to do it well – at first.

This is what happened to me.

I was doing amazing. I was peaceful, I’d fallen into a great relationship, I was doing work I was proud of, and I was sleeping better than ever (this is one of the benefits of monk mode I don’t think a lot of people talk about).

Life was good – until I hit a real rough patch.

I had a bad fight with my girlfriend, some periods of low productivity, and I got angry. Then, I got even more angry because it felt like all the work I’d done on myself was for nothing. I felt like monk mode failed me or that I did something wrong.

I was livid.

In time, I realized that what I was doing wrong was that I wasn’t protecting my peace.

I was living a routine, peaceful life, but there was time for me. I didn’t really have “self-care” anymore. I wasn’t really taking time to focus on my own peace.

It’s not enough to build yourself up. You must also become resilient to non-compliant stimuli around you.

5. Talk Less

The essence of monk mode is “quiet”.

Silence. Thinking. Mindfulness.

If you do all the things on this list – turn off social media, protect your peace, turn off the news – but you still never stop talking, you’re not going to improve your quality of life very much. You won’t sense of greater personal fulfillment until you embrace silence.

This is tough to hear for a lot of people.

As someone who writes a lot, I’ve dealt with this myself.

When I’m constantly writing, talking, thinking, etc, there isn’t any stillness. Even if I don’t see any people or don’t watch the news, I’m not really in “monk mode”. I’m still being the same person I am when I’m living a conventional life, and my sense of fulfillment doesn’t change.

This is because I’m using noise to run from the truth about who I am.

This is what most people do for their entire lives.

If you want truth, peace, and fulfillment, look inward. Aim to create stillness of mind.

Listen more – you’ll probably learn something important.

6. Be Careful About What You Put in Your Body

If you wake up, eat a doughnut, slam 5 cups of coffee, drink a Red Bull, and then go about your day, you’re going to feel anxious.

Many Americans have sugar for breakfast, fast food for lunch, and then alcohol with dinner. It’s no wonder we feel like crap.

You are a result of what you put in your body, and if you put terrible stuff in your body, you will feel terrible.

Monk mode is not just about what you do, it’s about what you consume. This extends beyond the consumption of food, but right now we’re focused on food.

This is also why I might suggest something like fasting – which is what a lot of monks do. You also don’t have to fast for days or weeks on end until you find “enlightenment”. I’ve experimented with intermittent fasting, and I feel a lot of clarity when my body is “empty”.

It helps my mind feel empty – which leads to greater focus and fulfillment.

I won’t tell you exactly what to eat or put in your body, but I do what you to think about it carefully for yourself. 

7. Create Time in Your Daily Life For “Deep Focus” or “Deep Work”

If you don’t have a job that requires you to set aside periods of “deep work” throughout your day, you will find it hard to adhere to a monk-mode lifestyle.

You need a “North Star” to work toward. Something that makes you like contributing to the world. Something that makes you excited to work.

This could be writing, doing code, martial arts training, or, if you’re really not into deep work or you’re not a knowledge worker, just meditation.

You need to do something that forces you to use that focus and energy that you’re building.

See, focus is like energy. It starts pure and good. You start with limitless potential, and you can use your energy however you like.

If you feel high-energy and you choose to do nothing (you procrastinate), you’re just going to make yourself anxious.

If you are choosing to adhere to a monk-mode lifestyle, it’s essential that you schedule “deep work” into your day.

8. Seek Out Thinkers Who Inspire You to Be Better

Thinkers and writers who inspire you are the foundation of a monk-mode lifestyle.

If you’re going to go down a path that few people choose to go down, times are going to get dark. You’re going to feel lonely. You’re going to want to give up.

You’re going to need to find people who can push you to keep going when you feel tired, scared, and uncomfortable.

This is the harsh truth of a monk-mode lifestyle: the pursuit of inner peace is not always internally peaceful.

Times are going to get dark.

When that happens, you need to find others who can light up your life. People who can encourage you to stay focused. People who can remind you of the value of what you’re doing. People who will remind you of why you started in the first place.

You do this by reading books, listening to podcasts, reading blogs – whatever way that you like to consume new ideas. It’s imperative that you make a habit out of reminding yourself why you do what you do.

9. Bounce Back When You Slip Up

This is a tough one, but it’s probably the most important habit on this list.

When you embrace a monk-mode lifestyle, you’re going to change a lot of things about your life and yourself. You’re going to stop going to random social gatherings. You will be more careful about how much alcohol you drink or unhealthy food you eat. You will avoid social media, toxic people, and heavy internet use.

Your life will have to change a lot.

It’s important to remember that change is hard and you will more than likely have good days and bad days. Days where it’s easy, and days where you just feel like laying on the couch, watching 8 hours of Netflix, and drinking 8 liters of Coke.

I get it.

And look – if you do slip up, you need to not spiral. You need to bounce back.

A habit is not only maintained by your ability to maintain discipline but also by your ability to bounce back when you slip up.

That’s what resilience really is.

10. Find Friends Who Are On the Same Path

The easiest way to stay accountable when you’re going down a lonely path (monk mode is inherently lonely at times) is by building a network.

You’re going to find people who are interested in the same lifestyle as you are. Friends – but probably different from the friends that you have now.

That means you’re going to have to meet them in different ways and build relationships in different ways.

Instead of meeting people at a bar or a club, you meet them at a fitness class, a writing workshop, or a personal development group.

There’s a reason why monks live in a monastery, not the woods. You need a community of people who want to see you succeed and who are going to make it possible.

You need supportive friends and family.

If you don’t have that now and you’re serious about the monk-mode lifestyle, you need to rework your social circle.

There’s nothing more fulfilling than being surrounded by the right people.

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