Self Improvement for Men: Everything You Need to Know

Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done.

Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.

Face Dragons is all about self-improvement for men. This entire website is dedicated to the topic, and after helping hundreds of clients and writing hundreds of articles on the subject, I want to break down the seven most essential self-improvement habits for men.

If you can take on just a couple of the self-development ideas below, the people around you will see you start to go through a personal transformation. Don’t be surprised if they start asking you how you did it.

Self-Improvement Can’t Be the Same for All Men?

Of course, people are different. They have different wants, desires, and expectations of life. Is it possible to have a single self-improvement formula that all men should follow?

Biologically, we all work the same. We are made up of the same stuff, and the chemicals in our blood dictate how we feel.

To create a formula to help all men improve themselves, you just need to figure out the goal of self-improvement and how to achieve that biologically.

Happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction, a sense of meaning. These words all point at the same thing – it’s the way we all want to feel. It’s the opposite of depression. That’s the goal of self-improvement.

Every personal development habit below will take you closer to that goal.

Self Improvement Habits

Make Money

Money

Everything comes down to how much money you make. Want to build a business? You’ll need money. Want to go traveling? You’ll need money. You want to send your kid to a good school? Money.

If you don’t have your money figured out yet, it must be your focus. Six-pack abs, setting life goals, and gaining knowledge need to sit on the back burner until you are making money.

There are only three ways to make good money.

  1. Be highly skilled
  2. Build your own business
  3. Create extra income streams that compound

You have the time to gain valuable skills if you’re still young. But if you’re not, it’s not likely that you can go back to school and get a medical or law degree – you need to look at the next two options.

Building a business is something anyone can do, especially if they start alongside their day job, but you need ideas and drive. The final option is creating extra income streams or passive income. Index funds, bonds, and saving accounts are all forms of extra income, as are rental properties, business investing, and online ventures such as blogs, digital products, etc.

Creating extra income streams is not about making millions from each source. It’s just about small incremental increases that start to add up when you have many making money at once. Start now so they can make you money in the future.

Improve Your Body and Mind: Working Out

Man lifting weight

Everyone knows that regular exercise is a habit you should have. It makes you look better, makes you healthier, improves confidence and energy levels – it’s the holy grail of self-improvement for men.

But there are many reasons people fail to show up to the gym.

  1. They don’t feel confident enough
  2. They don’t like running, lifting weights, or whatever they imagine people do at the gym
  3. They’ve had bad experiences before
  4. They have painful joints or other physical problems

These are all good reasons you might be avoiding the gym, luckily there are lots of other options, so you can still get in some regular exercise and all the benefits that come along with it.

Here are ten off the top of my head:

  • Play tennis
  • Learn a martial art
  • Learn to juggle
  • Become a photographer and go on photography walks
  • Hike
  • Learn a physical skill, like woodwork
  • Do DIY or gardening/landscaping
  • Join a sports team (soccer, baseball, football, etc.)
  • Join a dance class
  • Go cycling (or get a static bike)

Ten easy ways to exercise without needing to pay for a gym membership. I’m sure you can think of even more.

Facing Dragons

Me at Everest Base Camp.

Everest Base Camp

One of the most significant improvements a man can make is to stop shying away from challenges.

Whatever your definition of manliness is, you can’t deny that the man who gives into fear and backs down from challenges is less manly than the man who continues forward despite his fear. You see this on the battlefield, on the sports field, and in life.

Facing your dragons doesn’t mean giving in to recklessness. Going into a dragon’s lair, unarmed and unskilled, won’t end well. Facing dragons means taking on challenges and setting stretch goals that are on your level. That means you need time for preparation, practice, and learning before you can defeat your dragon.

Learning a language is a dragon. It’s a massive task to undertake. It’s a dragon that will take years of preparation to defeat.

But if you put off facing this dragon because it seems too big of a challenge, the same attitude will bleed into other areas of your life. You’ll avoid talking to the girl who intimidates you. You won’t start the business you know you should.

Would you rather be one of the men who loads up the horses and goes out on the hunting trip? Or one that stays in the village with the women?

Choose a Style

Preppy Style

The world doesn’t respond to who you are. It responds to who they think you are. When someone sees you wearing the clothing of a teenager, they’ll treat you like a teenager. When they see you dress like a man, they’ll treat you like a man.

You can dress well without wearing a suit and tie every day. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel every day and figure out what looks good on you, choose a men’s clothing style.

When you choose a style, you’ll know what to wear, what to buy, and, more importantly, what not to buy. Imagine waking up and opening the wardrobe to clothes that all go together and make you look good. Click the link above to see five men’s styles that will make you look good and make clothes shopping easier.

Life Planning

Plan to get out of a rut

Self-improvement is about being a better version of yourself, both inside and outside; it also means having more experiences.

So there’s the internal side, like reading and gaining knowledge, and the external side, like gaining a good physique and dressing well. There are experiences and skills, like traveling, speaking new languages, and building businesses.

There’s a lot to think about if you really want to become a better version of yourself across all three.

So you need a plan.

You may be able to stumble into success in one area of your life, but thinking that you can do that in every area is a mistake. There are plenty of ways to create a self-development plan.

Read this guide for creating a life strategy, it will give your life focus and identify the areas you should be spending your time to have a meaningful life, as well as what is making your life worse. Other valuable ways to plan out your life include:

Reading & Learning

Classic Martial Arts Books

Everyone knows that reading is a vital self-improvement habit, but few people can commit to it consistently.

Don’t make it so complicated. There are only a couple of steps you need to crack the reading habit conundrum.

  1. Make a list of 10 books to read in order in the next year
  2. Buy all the books
  3. Keep the first book next to your bed and put all the others out of sight
  4. Every night before bed, read
  5. That’s it.

This method will work even if you’ve failed so many times before.

First, you need to know what you’ll read ahead of time. You can’t think, “What should I read?” and start looking through books, or worse, going online when it’s your designated reading time. No, that’s a recipe for failure.

Instead, you have one book (the first on your list) right there by your bed. No thinking, no searching.

So why buy all ten books? Because after you finish this book, the last thing you want is to interrupt the habit you’ve made, so when you finish the first book, you take out the second and put it on your bedside.

I know you may be thinking, “I just fall asleep when I try to read in bed.” That’s OK.

Get in bed and read, and if you start to fall asleep after one minute, just read for one minute. At first, it’s not about how long you read. It’s about building the habit. You’ll naturally be able to read more the longer you stick to it.

Don’t forget to buy more books before you finish the last one on your list!

Energy and Mindset Management

How to Wake Up Early

So you’ve got to go to the gym, you’re facing your dragons, you read every night, you’re building a business, and looking good while doing it – sounds exhausting!

It won’t be so exhausting with the proper energy management and mindset. It will be inevitable. You just need to maintain some of these good energy habits:

  1. Diet – Choose a forever diet, something you enjoy and can stick to but also serves your body.
  2. Sleep – Remove habits that ruin your sleep.
  3. Hydration – Keep a water bottle with you at all times.
  4. Caffeine management – Simple advice is to avoid caffeine after midday.
  5. Alcohol management – Reducing alcohol intake always results in increased body function.

And habits that promote a strong mindset

  1. Lifting weights
  2. Practicing gratitude
  3. Releasing negative thoughts

Check out Andrew Huberman’s YouTube channel below for some scientific, evidence-based methods toward self-care and living a healthier, more energetic life.

Self-Improvement Books for Men

There are so many self-help books out there. Rather than give you another list of must-read books, here are three that really are worth your time. If you want to live longer, get more done, and look good while doing it, these three books will get you there.

Self Improvement for Men YouTube Channels

Sometimes, you don’t want to work so hard and just need to be spoon-fed some good information to help improve your life – that’s why YouTube exists! Here are three personal growth channels that have their own style and area of expertise.

  • Captain Sinbad – Nikhil’s videos are cinematic and guaranteed to get you hyped up. He talks about everything from business and productivity to mindset and motivation.
  • Better Ideas – Joey talks about specific habits to improve your life, but also ideas that make your life worse and how to avoid or overcome them.
  • Andrew Huberman – Andrew is a Ph.D. and explores a science-based approach to self-improvement.