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Let’s Kick 2022 Right in The NUTS And Own It – A Quick Guide for Men Stuck in a Rut.
There’s always lots of talk of change and new beginnings around New Year, especially after the frankly shite couple of years that coronavirus has bought us. It is debatable that 2022 will be any better, given the quality of leadership that we have in the UK and across the world. New Year’s Day is always a logical and convenient date to start your new life, it’s a fresh start and a brand-new day, month, and brand-new year. New Year’s resolutions have a bad rep in some quarters, and you can see why, how many of us have broken a resolution barley after the hangover has gone?
The problem is not the fact that it’s a New Year’s Resolution, and you’re almost expected to abandon it at the first opportunity. The problem is that it is a proper miserable time of year to make the huge the changes that you set your heart on over the quiet bit between Christmas Day and New Years Day. Many people are waking up on NYD and start thinking about that dreaded return to work in the next few days. The weather is nothing short of bollocks, and that summer holiday, or any sight of the Sun seems decades away. Throw in coronavirus and a daily of helping of bad news on the TV and radio and it’s a wonder that anyone even gets out of bed, let alone keep up their very good intentions!
I could just end it there now that I’ve utterly depressed myself, but I’ll press on, if only to convince myself that the birds of spring will actually sing again, and the green will return in a few weeks.
Many of us have relied on our initial motivation to get us through this period and keep up with whatever resolution we came up with, the trouble is motivation won’t last as long as you need it to. The key is routine and discipline, now that’s not as sexy or as interesting as motivation but it is the truth. It is about building in those small positive habits and phasing out the larger negative ones, easier said than done, but impossible if you just sit back and let life happen to you.
I’ll let you into a secret (a badly disguised secret for those who know me), I absolutely detest this time of year! I’m good with the autumn and the dark nights up to Christmas Day, but anything after that, probably up to the end of March can get in the sea. I have to work very hard to get my body to work in any normal functioning way, and it takes load of energy to keep a positive frame of mind throughout this season. Motivation alone is just not going cut it, nor is will power. When all your motivation, will power and a large chunk of energy is used up just to get the day started, it is hardly surprising that many of us have very little left to smash that resolution a couple of weeks into January. I know I’m not alone in that!
I have over the years used various techniques to get over this period and use the time effectively and grow. These tips aren’t anything that you haven’t heard before, and I’ve not invented anything here, it is just what I must do to maintain some balance and enjoyment in my life.
Whatever you want to achieve this year, however big or small, the fact that you want to do it will likely involve change and a great deal of effort. If it didn’t involve these things, you would just do it! Change can be hard and very overwhelming, however, if that change is positive and you can control it as much as possible, it is almost always worth it.
The beauty is, it doesn’t matter whether it is a New Year’s Day, or any other day of the year, the starting point doesn’t matter, what counts is what you do!
Here are my tips on how to maintain that control and give yourself a much better chance of sticking to your resolution or goal and achieving what you set out to do.
- Know Exactly What You Want – Create a Vision
This must be the very first step in any process, how do you know what to target if you don’t actually know what the target is? Your end point can be anything you want to be and can be as far into the future as you want, but it has to mean something to you. Try and visualise what success looks like, see if you can close your eyes and visualise it, can you feel it? I know that sounds like bollocks but trust me it works. When things get hard and you want to take the easy route out and give up, this might just be the thing that keeps you on track.
I strongly recommend that you at least write your vision down, and make sure that you return to it to remind yourself. Even better, tell someone about it. Hopefully they won’t laugh at you, but if they do use that as further fuel when you need it. I remember telling some of my extended family my vision (admittedly after several cans of Amstel at a family party). Yes, I felt like a tit, but it was out there and made me far more likely to achieve it, just to save face.
Have I achieved it? Nowhere near, but it is still there and whenever anyone doubts my ability to achieve my vision, the picture becomes a little bit brighter in my mind. This is where you can generate the added motivation that you will need from time to time.
- Work Backwards from the Vision – Break it Down
Despite what many Gurus say, you can’t simply close your eyes and manifest your vision into reality, you do actually need to do something. Hopefully your vision is very ambitious and way beyond what you would ever currently expect of yourself. That alone will be overwhelming and feel unachievable, but if you work backwards and break it down you will start to see the steps that you need to take. In my case I have a five-year vision, which when I wrote it seemed impossible, however I have worked it all the way back to the here and now, with smaller manageable tasks which achieved will always contribute to the overall vision. I know where I need to be in three years, two years and where I need to be at the end of 2022. Not just that, I have broken the year into quarterly segments.
At the end of each quarter I know exactly what should have happened to achieve the overall twelve month goal. Each quarter is broken down further into each month and each week. Once you’ve done that you can now see the route forward and can see how to remove the many barriers in your way.
- Tiny Habits & Daily Streaks
If you’ve haven’t walked any further than the chippy once a week over the past few years, you’re not going to suddenly complete the London Marathon, not alive anyway. You would train for it, you’d start with getting comfortable with running around the block, then 5k, then 10k, then a half marathon. You would need to create new positive habits that would get you putting on those expensive running trainers in all weather conditions. Tiny habits get you from the very start to achieving your goals. Habit 1 could be getting out of the house every day and running a mile and when that gets easy habit two would be running three miles and so on. Maybe you want to get better upper body strength and posture, a tiny habit could be completing one or two push ups as soon as you get up in the morning. That would quickly grow to five and then ten+ push ups every single day. How much better would you feel and look after a month of that?
I strongly recommend you read a book called Tiny Habits: Why Starting Small Makes Lasting Change Easy by BJ Fogg. It is available in the usual places and is an easy read.
- Set High Standards for Yourself
This one seems obvious but it’s so important and one that many men (me included) let ourselves down. Sorry if I get a little preachy with this one but I do get pissed off when people let their standards slip or have none to begin with (I do run a male grooming business to be fair).
It’s been easy to let things slip over the past two years, especially with lockdowns and the reduced social interaction that we have endured. This one you must control yourself as no one else can do it for you. I mean standards of dress, appearance, and attitude. How do you want the world to view you? As that scruffy bugger with the unusual stench? Most of us don’t want to be that person, and it so easy to not to be. You don’t need to be spending a fortune on clothes, but there is nothing better than investing a little bit of money, time, and effort into going shopping and getting some gear that you feel the mutts nuts in. Supplement it with a new leather wallet from Roots of Canada or a stunning leather weekend bag from Dotch Leather, it gives you that small element of class and it shows that you care and lets others know that you are investing their time and attention in.
Obviously, I will always recommend that you set yourself high standards when it comes to personal grooming, but you don’t have to spend a shed load of cash and take hours up in the morning pruning yourself. At ArchieSoul Men we have a huge range of quality grooming products that are designed for normal men going about their daily business. These are not normal products by any means, and you feel special by using them.
Even if it’s just finding yourself a new scent that suits the man you are or working on becoming. We have a great range of solid colognes from Duke Cannon, Emerson Park and Walton Wood Farm and a scent for everyone. How about a new hairstyle with a hair product from Ace High which won’t make your hair feel sticky like many of the high street products will?
Attitude is also an area that you can control, it doesn’t cost much to be nice to people, of course there are millions who don’t deserve that courtesy, but this for your benefit not theirs. The days are much more productive when you’re not festering over the bloke who cut you up this morning, or the fact that McDonalds have ran out of hash browns. To put it bluntly, don’t be a dick.
- Space – Culture & Celebration
So, you’ve outlined your vision, you’ve set your medium and short term goals, you’ve created the tiny habits that are snowballing into big ones, and you’re motoring along. You’re working hard on yourself so that you look and feel the best you can be, and that new solid cologne that you’re using is turning heads in your direction. You’ve avoided a ton of grief by letting the lack of hash browns go and things are looking good. Remember though sometimes doing absolutely nothing is more productive than doing stuff for the sake of it. One of the things that I always forget to do is the basics, like listening to music, enjoying a movie, and just spending time with loved ones without the phone or laptop. Being burnt out is not going to get you towards your goal but being rested by giving yourself the time to think and SLEEP will.
Finally, if you’re building a shed load of momentum, you will be ticking off all of those short-term goals with ease. Remember to allow yourself a celebration or reward for doing that, otherwise the vision becomes too far away again. I always have to remind myself of this, every penny made in ArchieSoul Men is reinvested back into the business, of course it is going towards the long-term vision, but every now and again it needs to give something back to remind us why we are doing it. Even if it pays for a nice meal out with the family, it at least shows that we are still on the correct path. Decide what your milestones are at the beginning and write down how you are going to celebrate them, importantly follow it through!
To all of our brilliant customers and friends who have found us in 2021, a massive thanks! It has been an honour to serve you and we are looking forward to seeing you again in 2022.
John mcf —
Nice words my friend ✊