“We are what we repeatedly do, excellence, therefore is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
For better or for worse, the man you are is determined by the habits and rituals you follow on a daily basis.
If you want to be a better man, you must start by developing better habits.
If you want to be a man of strength, integrity, and power–a “manly man” as many people call it–you must first develop habits that support these traits.
Because it’s the little things you do each day that determine the kind of man you are.
Unfortunately, most of us get programmed with habits and routines without us consciously choosing them. We haphazardly fall into patterns of behavior that stunt our growth and prevent us from becoming the men we want to be.
Wake up, hit snooze, rush to work, skip the gym, eat fast food, jerk off to porn, watch too much TV, smoke some pot, and go to bed.
These are the habits of the average man.
But if you are reading this… I know that you are not average.
And if you want to know how to be a better man, I’m going to teach you 11 simple habits that will do just that.
It’s time to take back your life and be the man you were born to be.
And it all starts by taking control of your habits.
1. Take Control of Your Mornings to Control Your Life
“Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them.” – Unknown
Of the 400+ guests we’ve had on the Knowledge for Men podcast, almost all of them have discussed how important it is to have a powerful morning routine.
From NYT Best-selling authors, former Navy SEALs, and millionaire entrepreneurs, every single one of them has a high impact morning routine that gets them ready for the day by priming their mind and body.
And if you look at the greatest men throughout history, they all had powerful morning rituals that helped them get centered and focus on the day ahead.
Those precious hours that you have prior to starting the day are one of the biggest factors in determining the success of your day and one of the most important habits to master if you want to be a better man.
The first step is to pick a time at which you can consistently wake up and commit to it every single day, weekends included.
You don’t have to wake up at 5 am or even 7 am. However, you must develop the habit of waking up at the same time each and every day (without hitting snooze) and diving into your most important tasks.
Like former podcast guest and 8-figure entrepreneur Bedros Keuilian says:
When you hit the snooze button you are saying to yourself that a few minutes of terrible sleep are more important than your goals and dreams.
After you wake up, I encourage you to devote the first 1-2 hours of your day to yourself. Invest that time into activities that will help you be a better man and improve your life in tangible ways.
- Working on a side project
- Reviewing your goals
Will all help you grow and be the man you want to be.
The morning is the time to work on yourself. On your goals, your aspirations, and your dreams.
Start taking back your mornings and you will take back your life.
2. Hone Your Body, Unleash Your Primal Energy, and Become a Beast
To be a man of strength, you must be strong (obvious, I know).
But many men miss this crucial aspect of masculine development.
I know guys who have $100 million/year businesses but can’t make it up a flight of steps without getting winded.
To become a strong grounded man, you must develop your body and your mental toughness just as much as you develop your career and marketable skills.
“Blood, sweat, and respect. The first two you give, the last one you earn.” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Once you begin waking up earlier, start your day with some sort of exercise. Whether you run, lift weights, bike, swim, or play basketball get your body moving early.
Exercising early is a habit that most successful men share, but to truly reap the benefits you must be consistent.
Here are a few easy tactics you can use to make working out automatic.
Find a Workout Buddy
Once you have a workout buddy you will be much more motivated to make sure you show up every morning. Showing up is the hardest part, once you get there it’s no problem.
By having someone that will hold you accountable each morning you will be much less likely to hit snooze and probably speed up your results.
Plan Your Workout
Have you ever walked into the gym without a plan? It’s like walking into the grocery store without a list, it can spiral downhill pretty quickly.
Instead of falling for the “Unplanned workout trap”, plan your workout the night before. Decide what time you will wake up, how long you will exercise, and what your workout will entail.
Set A Fitness Goal
To stay consistent with your fitness ritual create a goal so you are always motivated and have a reason to get out of bed. Whether it’s a goal weight, body fat percentage, or competing in a triathlon….make sure you have a goal.
As with any goal, once you complete it make sure to reward yourself. It could be new gym gear or a reward in your personal life. Once you’re done celebrating reset your goals to stay consistent.
Start your day early with exercise to create a daily ritual that will give you energy, confidence, and motivation to crush the day.
3. Practice Regular Gratitude and Put the Victim to Bed
I want you to imagine the most manly man you can think of. Whenever you hear someone say, “Just be a man”, picture the person who comes to mind.
Now let me ask you…
Does that man spend his days complaining about how unfair life is? Does he waste his time stuck in negative mental patterns, worrying incessantly and whining about everything?
Of course not! Real men don’t waste their time or energy on negativity. They focus on only two things:
- What is going right in their lives (what they are grateful for).
- How they can take action to fix what’s wrong.
To be a better man, you must start by cultivating gratitude for everything that you have and eradicating negative thinking from your mind.
If you can read this, you have a lot to be grateful for… Even if you don’t feel like it.
“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” – Tony Robbins
Gratitude is a very effective yet underutilized ritual and set your day up with a positive tone.
Spend 5-10 minutes practicing gratitude every day.
Not only will this help you become happier and more effective, but this practice will help you identify opportunities that you otherwise would not have noticed.
In a quiet atmosphere spend the time to reflect on the following:
- What you are thankful for (family, relationships, friends, job, pet, etc.)
- What you have accomplished (think of the recent promotion, reaching your fitness goal, or finishing a side project)
- What CHALLENGES are you grateful for? (What are you facing right now that will make you a stronger and better man when you overcome it?)
You can practice gratitude in a multitude of ways, the important thing is that you appreciate all that you have so you can welcome more of it in your life.
Be grateful for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because men are made not only by the good things they experience but by the challenges they overcome and the obstacles they conquer.
4. Take a Cold Shower to Build Your Mental Resilience and Become Comfortable with Discomfort
“Standing under freezing cold showers every morning, — I did that. I got up to seven minutes most mornings and it actually works. It immunizes your body and your body starts getting used to the cold. It really works.” – Liam Neeson
James Bond did it, the Spartans and Apache warriors did it, and you should do it too.
Nothing like some testicle shrinking cold water to help you overcome fear, immunize yourself to discomfort, and be a man who possesses mental toughness and self-discipline.
Oh, and not only will cold showers make you a better man, but they also come with numerous health and performance benefits including:
- Increased energy
- Increased testosterone
- Strengthens willpower
- Reduced stress
- Increased alertness
- Increased immunity
A large part of what makes a man a “real man” is his ability to embrace discomfort and do what needs to be done especially when he doesn’t feel like it.
Cold showers help to build this attitude.
They suck. But they have the power to transform your life.
5. Meditate to Clear Your Mind and Control Your Emotions
“Meditation can reintroduce you to the part that’s been missing.” – Russell Simmons
Strong grounded men must take time to find their center and their peace before attacking the tasks of the day…And meditation is the best way to do this.
You don’t need to go sit in a garden and chant a mantra for hours on end to make the most of a meditation practice. You simply need ten minutes of quiet and solitude every day.
Meditation has been a struggle for me as I’m a person who loves a fast-paced environment.
If you’ve never meditated before, I encourage you to check out Sam Harris’s app “Waking Up” or HeadSpace. Both of these platforms provide an excellent introduction for beginners and will guide you through the first month’s of your practice until you find a more personal way to go about it each day.
Like anything new, it will feel weird and awkward at first. But stick with it as you will gain a ton of mental clarity and awareness in your life.
The regular practice of meditation will help you clear out distractions and help you recognize impulses inside you.
You’ll start to disassociate and thereby gain greater control over the negative emotions–like anxiety, fear, depression, and anger–that hold you back from being the man you want to be. You’ll be more calm, cool, and collected and start to show up each day with presence and clarity.
Two traits of all truly great men.
6. Expand Your Mind By Absorbing the Best Ideas From the Most Successful People
“Miss a meal, but don’t miss your reading.” – Jim Rohn
A strong body without a strong mind is like a Ferrari without an engine… It might look nice but it isn’t going anywhere.
Make it a habit to read every single day. Shoot for at least 30 minutes but preferably one hour if possible.
I’m not talking about Barstool Sports, Yahoo, or Buzzfeed. I’m talking about reading valuable books on a wide variety of topics from the greatest authors in the world.
Whether you read fiction to feed your creative mind or nonfiction to educate yourself on a certain topic, make reading a consistent daily ritual.
Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, and indeed all great men (of whom I’m aware) were voracious readers. The reason is simple.
By reading the right book, you can condense decades of experience into a few hours and learn valuable lessons that can, quite literally, transform your life.
Now, I want to make one thing clear…
Being a man of strength and power requires more than simply consuming information.
You can read every book out there, but if you aren’t taking what you learn and putting it into practice, it won’t matter.
So yes, read every day. But commit to taking massive action on everything that you learn as soon as you put your books down.
Because great men are nothing if not men of great action.
7. Plan Your Day and Know Your Priorities to Conquer Your Goals
If you do not take the time to consciously craft a plan for your days, weeks, months, and indeed your entire life…someone else will have a plan for you (one that serves their interest, and not yours).
“No one ever wrote a plan to be fat lazy or stupid. That’s what happens when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget
When you start your day without a plan you are, by very definition, planning for failure.
As such, one of the first steps to becoming a better man is to become a man with a plan.
Plan out each day the night before. Know exactly what your priorities are and when you will accomplish them. Plan out your free time. Plan your workouts. Plan date nights. Plan vacations.
Have a plan for your life and consciously craft yourself into the man you want to become.
There’s nothing worse than looking back on your day, week, or year and realizing that–even though you felt busy–you accomplished nothing and made no meaningful progress towards the life you truly desire.
Set aside 5-10 minutes each night and 1-2 hours once a month to plan your life and ensure that your goals and actions are in alignment.
8. Save Your Income to Create Freedom, Power, and Opportunities
There’s more to being a man than having a fat bank account, but you and I both know that money matters. It’s hard to show up in the world powerfully and completely if you are constantly stressed about finances (trust me I have been there).
You can earn a million dollars a year but if you are an idiot with your money you won’t be any better off than someone earning a fraction but saving more.
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” – Warren Buffett
Don’t just save to save, have a plan or goal for each dollar you earn. If not you will spend it on impulse buys or an extra night out. Once you have a plan automate your money so you never have to worry about willpower again. Whether it’s a 401K or automatic savings with your bank set it up so you don’t have to transfer it yourself.
When you automate your paychecks you will get in the habit of paying yourself first and ensuring you are saving or investing every single paycheck.
For more information about managing your money, increasing your income, and joining the “new rich” be sure to check out my ultimate guide to financial mastery.
9. Get Your Thoughts, Fears, and Goals Out of Your Head and Onto Paper
One of the hallmarks of all great men, men who changed the world and achieved their wildest ambitions, is that they consistently took time to write down their thoughts on paper.
In fact, one of the greatest philosophical and “self-help” books of all time, Meditations by Roman Emperor and General Marcus Aurelius is nothing more than the compilation of his various journals and letters. And I have no doubt that his writing was one of the primary reasons he was able to organize his thoughts so eloquently and become one of the most powerful men of his time.
To become a better man, you must analyze your life. You must reflect on your wins and losses. You must strategize, synthesize the things you learn, and create plans for your future.
And a daily journal is the best way to do this.
“Keep a journal, record your thoughts, learn what’s happening with you. We get 3-4 thoughts a year that would change our life if we acted on them.” – Les Brown
When you journal you will have improved mental clarity and evaluate your life on a macro scale instead of being stuck in the daily stresses of life. When you get your thoughts and fears out of your head and onto paper, they lose their power. And when you get your plans and goals out of your head and onto paper, they gain potency.
Commit to this practice and your life will change forever.
10. Do One Thing That Scares You Every Single Day
Life begins where your comfort zone ends. If you want to know how to be a better man, how to be a man of strength and real power…the answer is simple. Get uncomfortable every single day and do what you must do even when it scares you.
Call the client you have avoided all week. Talk to the girl who always smiles at you in Starbucks. Have the tough conversation at work. To be a Grounded man, you must be decisive and attack problems quickly. The longer you put something off, the harder it becomes and the less likely you are to actually do it.
So today, commit to doing the uncomfortable things.
When planning your day the night before identify your hardest or “scariest” task to complete first thing in the morning.
Accomplishing your hardest task first thing will knock off your biggest priority, make it “less scary” and free yourself to focus on other goals the rest of the day.
“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” – John Maxwell
Remember, your comfort zone is where your dreams go to die.
Find ways to constantly do things that scare you to grow and become a better man.
11. Help Someone Else and Pay It Forward
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammad Ali
Being a strong grounded man is ultimately about being a good man. A man who cares about more than himself. Who does things because they are the right thing to do, not just because he will be rewarded. Who gives to others unselfishly and who tries his best to make the world a better place during his lifetime.
If you’re wondering how to be a man, a real man…the answer is simple.
Help others. Be of use and be of service. Take care of yourself, yes. But don’t get so caught up trying to buy the latest car or watch or house that you forget to pay it forward and improve the lives of those around you. Life is a team sport. We are all on this planet together, and the men that history remembers are not the men who serve themselves and think only of their own good. They are the men who are of the greatest service to the world.
So this week, do something to help someone else.
Call your family. Help an old lady with her groceries. Donate money to a cause you believe in. Volunteer. Pick up trash. do something to leave the world better than you found it.
The little things matter, you never know who is watching your good deed.
Try to commit at least one random act of kindness every day and you will be amazed by the man you become in the process.
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