How to be a better man in 2018

Take heed, gents…

You may subscribe to the idea that a man’s best qualities are based on size: bigger bank accounts, bigger biceps, bigger (… well, you know) are supposed to be positive indicators. But, in this day and age where the modern day man is more than just his physique and financial power, traits such as honesty, humility and integrity are more important when defining his worth. And if you feel like there’s some room for improvement (like everyone else, there always is) – and if your #NewYearNewMe resolution has been shot down the drain – then let us point you in the right direction. Here are four easy-to-follow ways in which you can be a happier, better and more successful version of you.

Listen, consent and sympathise

2017 will forever be known as the year when widespread sexual abuse allegations tore down Hollywood’s credibility and reputation. However, this controversy wasn’t limited to just Tinsel Town – across various social media channels, the #MeToo campaign revealed the stories of tens of thousands of women who have been victim to sexual harassment in the work place, on nights out, in the street and at many other locations.

Indeed, these revelations were truly monumental and have – in part – awoken the public conscious over how deep-rooted the issue of sexual abuse is. However, being aware of the problem is only one half of the solution; making sure we act appropriately is the other. So, if a woman (or man) says ‘no’ – whether it be for a drink or sex – the line is then drawn and you shouldn’t act upon it. Why? Because that person doesn’t owe you anything. So, know your boundaries and never, in any circumstance, cross them.

2017 will also go down in the history books as the year of heated race-relations in Donald Trump’s America – therefore, in this geopolitical climate of hatred and vitriol, you should be more aware of issues beyond those that directly affect you. So, if you’re a man you should stand up for feminism, if you’re straight you should champion LGBT rights and if you’re white you should support issues related to minorities. By being involved in conversations that go beyond your own interests, you’ll be part of a movement that’s trying to secure equal treatment for all – and that, gents, is what we should all strive for.

Talk more

Since birth, men the world over have been conditioned to act only in a traditional ‘masculine’ manner – one that can handle pressure, difficulties and hardships. However, somewhere along the way, we’ve interpreted the notion of being brave as being the same as bottling up emotions, keeping a stiff upper lip and refusing to talk about things such as mental health.

According to CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK, and in 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male. When looking at these stats, it’s unequivocal that the majority of the men are refusing to talk about their inner demons.

In the face of such harrowing stats, it’s time to reverse this trend and be open about any internal problems, especially in this age where social media provides millions with a platform to scrutinise, critics and abuse others on a regular basis. Talking to someone may not cure a mental illness, but it can alleviate some of the stress and eventually lead you to seek professional help and guidance. Furthermore, recognising and being open about your own experiences can also make you a better friend and guidance for those who are in a similar situation – something that is surprisingly rare in the world.

Put away the phone

Although one of the greatest inventions in the way that it’s made the world a more connected place, the smartphone is also one of the biggest home wreckers and dinner date turn-offs to have existed. By distracting you with alerts and constantly-updated Instafeeds, your Pixel or iPhone prevents you from engaging with those around you (most likely your partner, family, flatmates or that poor person at the checkout who has to deal with yet another screen-staring customer) and, as a result, not only hinders your social skills but can also have a negative impact on personal relationships.

The solution? Dialling down your digital addiction to a minimum. Start by turning off as many alerts and notifications as possible (do you really need to know what your mate @Steve1985 is tweeting in the middle of the day?), unfollow all unnecessary accounts and users (this will stop you from constantly refreshing your feeds in search of new content) and charge your phone in a separate room before going to bed in order to avoid wasting precious sleep time.

Streamline your focus

This is quite a broad and vague piece of advice, but narrowing down your priorities and streamlining your habits can make your life far easier.

Start with your work routine. Rather than checking and replying to all your emails until late in the evening, consider creating several folders (such as ‘priority’, ‘secondary’ and ‘irrelevant’), assigning every email accordingly and setting aside an afternoon or two to tackle all those non-urgent messages.

In terms of dressing, why not strip down your wardrobe? Rid of all the items that you haven’t worn for over a year (the likelihood is that you’ll never wear them again) and neatly store away the remaining ones. Next, consider investing in some timeless essentials, namely plain crew neck T-shirts, dark slim fit trousers, oxford shirts, leather shoes and boots, white canvas sneakers, navy blazers and heritage-style coat and jackets. By curating a capsule of versatile clothing, not only will you be saving time when deciding what to wear in the morning, but you’ll be preventing yourself from spending money on more experimental items that will eventually go out of style.

Although these are two ways in which you can make your day-to-day tasks easier, the idea of simplifying things can be applied to almost all aspects of life, whether it be prioritising who you socialise with or unsubscribing from all those newsletters you never read. By doing so, your mind will soon feel far clearer.

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