Being a better man starts with you. It’s not something than can be imposed on you from the outside, something that can be legislated, or mandated by an outside authority. There is no point in waiting for the right time to be a better man. You don’t wait until you get married. Or you turn thirty. Or until you become a father. Or when you get that promotion. And it doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. You don’t have to be perfect. You’ll fail again. The point is the make the decision right now to live better and to be a better man.
“whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things”
Here are 5 simple things you can do to be a better man today. And do them again tomorrow and then the next day. And soon you’ll add one or two things and others might notice the change.
Get enough sleep
Huh? Yes, make sure you are well-rested. Sleep has incredible benefits. Tom Rath, in his book Fully Charged, recommends seven to nine hours of sleep every night, noting research indicates “you will be more likely to have a good workout, get more done at your job, and treat your loved ones better when you put sleep first”.
Just five minutes of mindfulness meditation, concentrating on your inhalations and exhalations, can be physically and emotionally rewarding. Meditation creates a peaceful mindset and has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, while increasing concentration and improving sleep (see point one).
Don’t believe the B.S. that men are stoic and don’t show emotion, that you can’t smile if you want to be a cool man. Research shows that smiling offers tremendous health benefits and releases chemicals within your brain that serve as a natural pain reliever, boost your mood, and can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
And smiling is contagious. It actually takes a conscious effort to resist returning a smile and so, when you smile at others, you’re also improving their health as well!
Many of us live unhealthy, sedentary lives. We sit all day at a computer and then sit down to watch TV at night. Movement improves our mood and our thinking, allowing us to be at our best and engage more fully with those around us.
You are what you eat. And what you listen to. And what you read. And what you watch. And what you play. And who you spend time with. You are all of these things and all of these daily inputs impact you and the man you are and want to become. Avoid unhealthy food, avoid loud and angry music, avoid magazines that inspire you to envy or covet, avoid violent films or video games, and avoid friends who encourage you to do the wrong thing. Replace them with energizing food, encouraging and inspiring media, and good friends. Put into practice these familiar words from a saint named Paul: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
Focus on these five things today and you’ll be a better man when you go to sleep tonight. And you’ll wake up energized to be even better tomorrow.