The following article is written by Tanner of Masculine Style.

Depending on where he is in life, inertia can be a man’s best friend or greatest enemy.

As men, we are all better off developing the right kind of masculine inertia. By this, I mean forward momentum in the right direction.

It may involve things like the kind of shape we’re in, what career we’re pursuing, how brave we are, how our relationships function, our ability to benefit the lives of those around us, our self mastery, or a myriad of other things.

I could create a list of over 100 different ways in which I could improve my life. It would be overwhelming and almost terrifying, but I could create it.

For any guy, when looking at that list of 100 improvements, it’s often easiest to think that he should focus on the largest and most important improvements first. These will have the greatest impact on him morally, socially, physically, and emotionally.

A man who is 150 pounds overweight is naturally going to gravitate towards a desire to exercise and eat better, more than a desire to watch an hour less of TV every day. The former will help him with his biggest problem, while the latter is just a simple step in allowing him to have more control over his own life.

However, I would argue that this same man is better served by turning off the TV than trying to immediately revamp his entire diet. There’s less inertia working against him in this particular area. Getting his self-improvement momentum going here will help him to keep it going in other areas.

Manageable Improvement

My personal approach lately has been to take on 30-day challenges. It all started when I read an article about the advantages of taking cold showers. It just happened to coincide with the first day of May, and I figured I’d try it out.

That first time was miserable and, other than being irritated about how cold I was, I didn’t feel any different. But, I knew that one experiment wouldn’t be enough to really see a change. I told myself that, during the whole month of May, I’d finish off every other shower as cold as I could stand.

That would give me enough time to see whether or not it was worthwhile. I missed two days, but I was dedicated to it enough that I saw results and now continue with this newly established habit every day.

photogen_cxf231June’s challenge was turning off all media before 9:00 and that level of strictness wasn’t as beneficial as I’d hoped, so I’ve backed off. July’s challenge was getting up at 5:00 AM and, much to my wife’s chagrin, it’s been so great that I will continue to do so.

The point of my telling you this is to show what currently works for me when I want to improve. I pick a simple change and give myself 30-days in which I focus on it.

If I would have set a goal in May to get up at 5:00, and turn off everything at 9:00, and take cold showers, and add on the goals I have in mind for the rest of the months in the year, it would have been so unattainable I wouldn’t have lasted a week.

By breaking it down into bite-sized chunks, and not being in a huge rush to arrive at a particular point, I’ve been able to see some real improvement in my life (and have been able to identify the effective changes as well as the ineffective ones).

The Style Application

So what does all this have to do with style? Everything.

Every reader is here because he believes that these articles will improve his life in some way. One may not be able to directly pinpoint why, but he knows that bettering his appearance is a step towards other improvements.

The beauty of dressing better is that, unlike taking on a vigorous exercise regimen, mastering a new hobby, or completing a degree, a man’s efforts to improve his appearance have a relatively easy learning curve and an incredibly fast return on investment.

I pick a simple change and give myself 30-days in which I focus on it.

Building a new wardrobe or developing a new style can seem like a shallow, superfluous change – the pretense of improvement without the depth. There is some measure of truth to this, but only when a man’s lifestyle improvements stop at dressing better.

However, when he uses an improved wardrobe and a more grown-up aesthetic as a way to kick start his goal of self-betterment, his style becomes something so much more than just a surface expression.

This is why the vast majority of men who spend time learning how to dress better are those who are on the brink or already in the middle of a major life change – high school or college graduates, men new to the workforce or a new industry, newlyweds or the recently divorced.

All of these men realize they are going through a life upheaval and improving the way they appear can help them control and improve all of the other changes they are experiencing.

A Friendly Challenge

Whatever situation you find yourself in – whether you’re already headfirst into a new chapter in your life, or you feel like you’re treading water and have been for a while, I can guarantee you’ll feel a greater measure of control over your own life by setting a 30-day, wardrobe-based goal.

For those who are just getting started, it may be something as simple as dressing consciously instead of going to a default uniform every day. For the more advanced, it may be challenging yourself to omit your favorite sport-coat or T-shirt for a full 30 days as a way to force you to build up other areas.

Regardless of what you do, the inertia will be easier to get working in your favor and can be the beginning of a host of other improvements.

Thanks, Tanner.

And you? What challenge will you be taking on today? Let us know in the comments below.

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4 Responses

  1. AaronRichards14 on

    Cold showers, 5 am and letting my girlfriend throw away 15 items from my closet. Those are going to be my first week’s goals, this post came at a great time in my life when things definitely needed a kick in the a$$.

  2. James on

    Great post and great articles. I’d love to do challenges like get up at 5am or turn phone/tv etc off after 9am. However doing shift work sort of makes this impossible. As far as the 30 days thing goes – I prefer to break things up into 7 day chunks. 30 days is a long time if it is something fairly difficult.