Phase Frame

How to thrive as a man.

New Year’s Resolutions For Men

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Unlike most of the cynics out there, I’m a big fan of New Year’s resolutions because they do two things: 1) they remind us of how often we fail and 2) they remind us that we still have room to get better. Life is a process. And PhaseFrame is about gaining control of that process and directing it.

In the PhaseFrame universe we are always trying to be the best men that we can be, but we don’t hold ourselves to non-human standards. It’s ok to screw up some of the time. It’s ok to fall down. We pick ourselves up and keep aiming for the stars. The important thing is the pattern: the overall direction that our life is heading. We are patient with ourselves, but we also have high standards for ourselves. And our standards are not for anyone else: everything we do, we do first and foremost for ourselves.

With that context, here are ten New Year’s resolutions for men that are worth taking on now, and always:

1) I will stop complaining and start acting
If your partner isn’t giving you good sex and doesn’t respect you, and you’re a lazy ass, then get yourself fit. Get the things you are responsible for done. If you see something that needs to be done, you do it. Once you’ve gotten yourself under control, and you’re taking care of business, see if your wife responds positively. If not, you don’t complain. You act. You make the world you want. That may involve moving on from your partner.

2) I will build something fun
If you have kids, build a tree house or a soap-box car. If you have property, build a pond. If you have some trees and a hill, build a zip line. If you’ve got some neighbors that enjoy building, talk to them about a group project. Three neighborhood men could work together to build three basic garages a lot faster than one guy on his own. Speaking of which…

3) I will build my offline social network
Men are notoriously bad at having a strong social network and so we’re more prone to getting stung when a relationship with a woman ends. Mistakenly, we think that the more we invest into the woman, the better chance the relationship has to survive. But it’s not quantity that matters, it’s quality (one awesome thing each month massively trumps hours and hours of clingy suffocation). The more you put your energy and passion into building your social network, rather into chasing girls, the more attractive you become to women both before and during the relationship. Never sacrifice your social network for the girl. Remember: 10% her, 90% everything else. Building your offline social network does two things: A) it allows you to be happy independent of women and B) it exposes you to more women with common interests.

4) I will read at least one book per month
Reading feeds the mind and the soul. It’s important to balance between fiction and non-fiction. The male brain is particularly stimulated by understanding “how things work” so it’s easy to fall into the trap of just reading non-fiction. But fiction can give you great insight into human psychology and relationship dynamics, plus it can awaken your soul and introduce a certain passion for life that wasn’t there. Most importantly, make reading fun: don’t feel like you have to stick with a book if it absolutely bores you to death.

5) I will limit my porn usage
Many guys these days are dealing with porn addiction (some surveys suggestion that 98% of male college students). While I’m not against porn in and of itself, porn addiction has some very negative effects. It causes ED by desensitizing the brain to sexual stimulation. It causes short-term memory loss. It causes men to forgo responsibilities. It diminishes the simple joys of life. Many men report that getting control of their porn usage makes life vibrant again.

6) I will go on at least one adventure
Pick something you’ve been putting off for a long time that you really want to do. Something that will lodge in your memory and give you plenty of stories to tell. And just make sure that no matter what, you make it happen. Prioritize your life.

7) I will take up at least one challenge
One possibility is to choose a fear to overcome. Do you have a fear of heights? Jump off a 30ft cliff into water (make sure it’s safe first!). Have you tried getting fit and failed? Find a local MMA team and train with them. Are you notoriously bad with your hands? Build something out of wood. Take it one step at a time. Have you never cooked an exquisite meal? Commit to choosing and preparing one world-class dinner per month.

8) I will not make choices to please others
From an early age, many of us are trained to make choices for production value: to please parents or teachers, etc. When this carries into our adult life, it can have damaging effects on our relationships. Your social value is going to be directly related to your ability to stand on your own two feet and make decisions and follow through with action. You attractiveness to women will largely come down to your ability to confidently have goals, make plans and create the world you want to create. Stop living to please others. Start being your own captain.

9) I will not value myself based on women
On the one hand, most of us love having women by our side. So it’s important to know how the world works and to do what’s necessary to keep a good woman by our side. On the other hand, it’s important that we be independently strong and confident and that we not become devastated when we lose a woman. Sure, it’s ok to feel loss and sadness. We’re not machines. We’re human. But at the same time, with a good social network, a good skill set, and well defined long term goals, we can be happy with or without them. Remember, it’s all about your frame: the woman in your life is coming along for the ride. She very well may ask to get out of the car at some point (through words or action). And you need to be able to keep driving forward either way.

10) I will treat my health as a hobby
In our society, everyone wants a button to push. An easy solution. In the affluent West, unless you are intentional about what you consume, you will not be healthy. Our brains are programmed to binge when resources are abundant. We find ourselves in a permanent state of abundance, and so we are naturally programmed to over eat… especially high-calorie, nutritionally empty carbs like you find in most snacks. To get healthy, you have to be informed and you have to care. Eating mindlessly is a hard habit to break. For me, the breakthrough was realizing I could eat all the food I wanted if I limited my options to plants and animals (steak, chicken, turkey, salad). This requires that you be selective: hamburgers without the buns. Grilled chicken instead of breaded chicken. The major transitional point in my life and overall happiness as a man came when I made the decision to make my health my number one priority… even more important than my job. If I had to show up to work late in order to stay fit, I was going to do it. I can’t state strongly enough how the world just opens up to you as a man when you are treating your body with the respect it deserves. Get outside and walk every day. Avoid grains and sugar. Eat lots of meat and vegetables. Turn berries and dark chocolate into your dessert. Mostly drink water. Avoid soda. Simple principles that go a long, long way.

Bonus: I will choose a new skill to learn and dedicate at least 30 minutes per day to mastering the skill, with the knowledge that it may take years of failures and plateaus before reaching the goal

Written by James

December 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

One Response

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  1. Great stuff man! I’m adopting all 10.


    December 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

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