“No pain, no gain.”
It's a phrase that's been uttered time and again.
This may not surprise you gentlemen, but I agree with it.
In fact, I went so far as to compile a list of really PAINFUL things I believe every man should do.
Some of these are physical, others are mental. One thing is for sure, though: They'll all make you a better man.
Let's jump in.
- Expose yourself to cold
- Train for a goal
- Bet against yourself
- See the doctor
- Floss a single tooth
- Break your phone
- Jump out of Bed – never hit snooze
- Slow down
- Use cash instead of cards
- Apologize for being an A-hole
- Be brutally honest
1. Expose Yourself To Cold
“Hell no, Antonio.” I know, it sounds dreadful but hear me out. Why would I advocate for such a masochistic activity? Well, I have the science to support it.
Firstly, cold showers burn the bad fat. Low temperatures prompt the body to burn calories in order to keep it warm. Secondly, for some reason, a study from the PLOS One Journal found that people who took cold showers were 29% less likely to call in sick for work or school. This can only mean that cold water triggers the immune system.
Finally, cold showers help depression! A 2008 study out of the Journal of Medical Hypotheses determined that exposure to the cold activates the sympathetic nervous system, increasing blood flow to the pleasure centers of the brain. What does it all mean in English? That these terrible showers are actually anti-depressants.
Let's step outside. You might run, you might even run when it's cold… but I'm willing to bet you clothe yourself for warmth, don't you?
Ditch those sweaters.
Go out and run through the cold in a t-shirt and shorts. A 2017 study out of St. Mary's University found that it can help! They ran tests on subjects running in temperatures between 8°C and 24°C. I won't bore you with the details, but it made the subjects physically stronger and more confident.
2. Train For A Goal
Have you ever asked yourself WHY it is you go to the gym? Did you simply tell yourself that it's good for you? Did you fall into the trap of working out robotically with minimal effort? It's time to change that.
The more specific your goals are, the easier they'll be to achieve. Apply this outside the gym as well.
How? By giving yourself specific goals. Tell yourself “I want to bench 250 pounds” and then take the steps to make it happen. The clearer the goal you aspire to is, the more attainable it will be. Once you achieve that, set another mission… and another one. Before you know it, you'll have the body of Henry Cavill!
What can embody “no pain, no gain” better than this?
3. Bet Against Yourself
This is all about holding yourself accountable. Let's say there was a task that you could accomplish in 48 hours… but you haven't done it in 48 days. It's a drag, and you'd rather do anything else. The problem is that it NEEDS to get done…
So what do you do?
Hand somebody you trust $100. Tell them that if you do not finish that task within those 48 hours, they're allowed to donate the money to a cause that you HATE. Painful, right? That's the point – you can bet you'll get it done in time.
4. See The Doctor
The statistics couldn't be clearer. Men just hate going to the doctor. We're more insecure than we like to let on, and it shows in our health. One reason (among many) is E.D. Did you know that 52% of men have to deal with erectile dysfunction? Yet, so many of them are too worried about being judged to get help.
I got news for you, gentlemen – this is YOUR responsibility, and while it can be painful to confront the harsh realities of health, it needs to get done.
5. Floss A Single Tooth
Why would any man do one tooth alone? It's because once you start with one, you'll go on to the rest. The moral of this point is not just about flossing, it's about creating systems in your life that get you organized. Systemization is actually a tenet that I stress in my company because it allows my team to stick with what works and make adjustments with ease.
This goes for your morning routine, your workout regimen, even assignments at work. The possibilities here are endless.
6. Break Your Phone
…Just kidding, but keep it turned OFF.
Adam Alter, the author of a book discussing the allure of modern technology, found out that young people would rather have their bones broken than lose their phones! It's a byproduct of “Nomophobia,” or the fear of losing access to your mobile device.
Yet, another experiment conducted through the MobileHCI found that going without push notifications on your phone for a mere 24 hours is enough to drastically increase your concentration and productivity.
7. Jump Out Of Bed – DO NOT Hit Snooze
There are loads of health benefits to waking up early, and most of it is psychological. First off, you'll be more likely to eat a good breakfast. Men who sleep in are more likely to skip the most important meal of the day in favor of some extra Z's. This will encourage them to take up unhealthy eating habits throughout the day as a result. By having a hearty breakfast, you'll be less inclined to stuff yourself later.
Men with this much extra time (from waking up at 5) will likewise be more inclined to take better care of their bodies. They use the extra time for healthy habits like hydration and exercise, as well as exfoliation and moisturizing. You just need to get over the hurdle of actually getting up!
8. Slow Down And Do Nothing
Some of us can do all this and more… and that's the problem. We've told ourselves that the only way to be efficient is to overwork ourselves – to do EVERYTHING. Gents, this is not the way. Rest and relaxation are equally essential facets of your life that deserve attention.
How much better would you be at your job if you set aside time to meditate? Not into that? Well, what about your favorite shows and movies? The point is to draw a clear line between work and play. Take that vacation and rest up, because you'll be better for it once you get back.
9. Use Cash Instead of Cards
The single best way to manage your money is to make it hard to spend. We can't see the cash leaving our bank accounts when we use cards – they're just so convenient! Picture using cold hard cash, though… You have to drive to the bank, physically remove $100-$200 from your account and then watch it diminish whenever you make a purchase.
It sucks, right?
Save money by making it painful. By setting up a few buffers against spending, you're well on your way to becoming a frugal guru.
10. Apologize For Being An A-Hole
It can be one of the toughest things men can do. Let's face it, we have our pride, and it can be tough to crack.
But remember; No pain, no gain. If you manage to overcome this obstacle, you'll be seen as a better man for it.
11. Be Brutally Honest
It doesn't come easy to anyone. We're often timid to the point where we're scared to say what's on our minds.
Honesty won't just make you feel heard, it'll foster a good reputation among co-workers.
I'm not saying you need to become a rude SOB out of nowhere, but make a point to voice your honest opinion more often – especially at the workplace. In meetings where you're just bouncing ideas off of each other, chime in whenever an idea occurs to you. At worst, it will be politely denied. At best? It'll be embraced.
Being a better man isn't always easy. Sometimes it can be a long, painful road. These habits are not easy to embrace – you may even fail a few times… but the results are worth it, trust me.