How To Get & Stay Motivated

It’s the time of year again – when you make promises to yourself to change or do things that are good for you and then February rolls around and they’re nothing but a blip on the radar. In this part of The Better Man Series, let’s talk about getting over the hump to be motivated as well as staying motivated to action.

Motivation is like a muscle – it has to be exercised to avoid atrophying.

As a man, a major goal in life should be to constant improvement in whatever aspects you deem necessary. When you give up this journey of curiosity and improvement is when the verve for life goes away and you’ll basically be dead – figuratively and literally – if you’re in your twilight years. Obviously, depending on your age, your goals can vary, but the mechanisms for getting and staying motivated are the same no matter who you are.

Over the years, in talking to people of all ages about betterment, I’ve encountered a weird issue – they feel bad for trying to improve their lives and it stops them from trying or aids in quickly abandoning their goals. They say they feel:

  • Selfish
  • Like they’re not helping others enough.
  • Bad because their family or friends make fun of them.
  • Too old, young, poor, skinny, fat, etc to do anything.

I’d argue that in order to make others around you better, you need to improve yourself, first. Only then will you be in a position to truly help others.

While your friends or family may never say this, or even know why they do it – making fun of you is just a reaction to them being scared that your progress is going to make them look and feel worse. And it’s 100% true, but that’s their problem, not yours. Don’t let them drag you down so they feel better about themselves.

As for being too (insert excuse here) – that’s just an excuse you’ve learned to justify your lack of motivation. You know it’s B.S., too.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

Let’s get into actionable steps to get and stay motivated.

Find your triggers

Start thinking about the things you run into in your daily life that inspire you to action. They could be anything, but here’s some common ones:

Once you’ve established the things that motivate you, it’s now time to make them, in some way, part of your day. This is key to ensure that wonderful Pavlovian response is triggered multiple times a day. Think of it like a quick caffeine jolt for your motivational engine.

Be around people who inspire you

Being around motivated people is inspiring and it’ll absolutely rub off on you. So find a way to be around them – invite them out to coffee, give a call, schedule a recurring monthly lunch, join a co-working space, etc.

If that’s not possible, then you can try watching or listening to speeches of people you find inspiring. Just find a way to interact with inspiring and motivational people on a regular basis.

Define & Set Goals

As man without goals will achieve very little. So set goals and start hashing out what you really want to do. The one thing I’ll warn you against, though, is not setting specific enough goals. Wanting to be rich and famous is not a goal, it’s the result of a goal (of goals) achieved. Wanting to be more in-shape is not a goal, it’s too vague. So keep them specific, like:

  • Bench pressing 200lbs
  • Going on a monthly date with my significant other
  • Learning a new language
  • Getting a promotion to a certain position
  • Buying a house by the time you’re __ years old
  • Starting a business

Don’t know what goals you want to achieve? Put together a “Anti-Goal” list of things you’ve tried or thought about trying and absolutely don’t want to do. Then start whittling it down by way of deduction instead of addition.

Don’t beat yourself up

The common issue I see with people who lose motivation is not giving their goals enough time or flexibility. If a goal takes longer than you anticipated, or your goals have shifted, or you have a setback – don’t beat yourself up over it.

You are your harshest critic.

People often get discouraged and think about giving up when these things happen, but instead of feeling down about it, understand that this is part of the process and be thankful for how far you’ve come and that these are things every motivated person has encountered, as well. If it was easy, everyone would already be doing it.

Have a plan of action

Figure out a way (probably many ways) to achieve whatever goal(s) you have and then break it down into actionable, bite-sized chunks. Then, and only then, can you take that motivation and start working on achieving your goals.

Standing at the foot of a mountain and not realizing that it’s going to take many, many smaller steps to get to the summit will do yourself a disservice and you’ll give up because you didn’t set a plan of action to get to the top.

Coincidentally, the more smaller steps you achieve, the more motivated it’ll make you. Movement begets more movement.

There are some systems available, if you’d like to take a structured approach. Getting Things Done is a system I personally use and a bit of a companion or supplement to that system is called Bullet Journaling – which I also do.

It’s easy to be busy everyday, it’s hard to make progress everyday.

Set aside time for review

Over the course of working to achieve your goals, you’ve got to ensure you understand how far you’ve come and celebrate the small victories. Without that, it’s easy to get frustrated and lose motivation.

Your goal(s) will take a while (almost always longer than you thought) to achieve, so you’ve got to set aside time celebrate these smaller wins the to give yourself the motivation to keep working to the ultimate goal.

I like to take the natural breaks of seasons/holidays to set aside time for reflection and reorienting. During the Easter holiday, 4th of July weekend and Thanksgiving weekend, I sit down, look at what I’ve done and first, be thankful for al that I’ve achieved and then decide if directions or mindsets need to be adjusted. It’s extremely helpful and refreshing and I can’t suggest it enough.

 

That’s it! I hope it’s been helpful and you start working toward your amazing goals this year!

Holiday Gifts Under $200 For Her

Here’s one of a few holiday gift guides for the women in your life that I’m putting out this year. Each of these will be a sure hit – no matter her age or preferences!

Sweet & Sparkling 8-Piece Candy Box

I had to include Sugarfina’s 8-piece candy gift set. You can never go wrong with luxe sweets during the holidays, especially when the presentation is so spectacular!

Perfect for: Everyone! Mom/MIL, Girlfriend/Wife, Sister, Boss, Co-Worker, Friend.

$65 – Sugarfina Holiday 8-piece Bento Box

Glass Decanter

A beautifully designed glass decanter that’ll hold a magnum size bottle of wine.

Perfect for: Mom/MIL, Sister, Boss, Co-Worker, Friend.

$65 – L’ATELIER DU VIN Bonde Glass Decanter

Gold Pineapple Tumblers

Make sure to buy 2 of these along with the 5″ gold straws ($15). Pineapples symbolize hospitality and are the perfect gift for those that love hosting parties and making cocktails.

Perfect for: Everyone, seriously! Wife/Girlfriend, Mom/MIL, Sister, Friend, Boss, Co-Workers.

$85 – 2 Pineapple 12 oz Tumblers & 4 Gold Straws

 

Chic Pajama Set

Give the gift of being comfortable in these stylish pajamas. And what woman doesn’t love Kate Spade?

Perfect for: Wife/Girlfriend, Sister, Friend.

$88 – Kate Spade Pajama Set

Gift Card for Frames of Their Choice

Whether she’s into sunglasses or opticals, prescription or not, Warby Parker’s gift card will hands-down be a winner. It comes in a cute box that includes a custom deck of mini playing cards featuring artwork by Andreas Samuelsson.

Perfect for: Wife/Girlfriend, Mom/MIL, Sister, Friend.

$95 – Warby Parker Gift Card

Shimmering Body Oil

Every woman I know loves this. It’s decadent, expensive, and worth every penny. The fragrance is light and summery and the shimmer makes a woman’s skin look beautiful and sunkissed.

Perfect for: Wife/Girlfriend, Sister, Friend.

$100 – Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil

Wireless Speaker

Everyone loves music and will enjoy this wireless speaker. It’s compact, delivers great sound, and should they want to add more Sonos speakers to their home, the brand’s app makes it really easy to sync and control all of them.

Perfect for: Wife/Girlfriend, Mom/MIL, Boss, Sister, Friend.

$150 – Sonos Compact Wireless Speaker

Set of 6 Hand Blown Wine Glasses

Wine glasses that would make any sommelier proud. Each one is blown from lead-free glass and has an ‘Aroma Line’ which is a discreet groove that helps open up the wine and it’s complexity when swirled.

Perfect for: Wife/Girlfriend, Mom/MIL, Boss, Sister, Friend.

$180 – L’Atelier Du Vin Exploreur Classic Set Of Six Wine Glasses

Red Hot YSL Card Case

This gift is a little over $200, but your girlfriend/wife deserves to spoiled and she’ll LOVE this sexy gift.

Perfect for: Wife/Girlfriend.

$250 – Saint Laurent Leather Card Case

 

Holiday Gifts Under $50 For Her

Here’s one of a few holiday gift guides for the women in your life that I’m putting out this year. Each of these will be a sure hit – no matter her age or preferences!

Soothing & Relaxing Eye Patches

You’ll never go wrong with a gift of relaxation.

Perfect for: Mom/MIL Sister, Friend, Girlfriend/Wife.

$24 – Klorane soothing eye patches

Electric Wine Opener

Opens 60 bottles of wine on one charge. My mom’s boyfriend got us this for Christmas a year ago and it’s been one of the most useful items in our kitchen! Unlike most electric wine openers, this one has a lot of power so there’s never any issue uncorking our wine.

Perfect for: Mom/MIL, Sister, Friend, Co-Worker.

$25 – Ozeri Nouveaux II Electric Wine Opener

Sweet & Sparkling Candy Gift Set

My favorite luxurious candy company! Champagne gummy bears and chocolates packaged in a super stylish gift box will be an instant hit with the ladies in your life.

Perfect for: Everyone, seriously! Wife/Girlfriend, Mom/MIL, Sister, Friend, Boss, Co-Workers.

$28 – Sugarfina Holiday Bento Box

Soft & Cozy Flannel Pajama Set

Regardless if she already has PJs, you can never really have enough. I look forward to getting a new one every year and she will too! This one is super soft and will keep her warm this Winter.

Perfect for: Mom/MIL, Sister, Friend.

$35 – H&M Flannel Pajama Set

Travel Size Hair Kit

Any teenager, twenty, or thirty-something year old woman in your life will know what Ouai hair products are. The Kardashians’ hair stylist launched her haircare line last year and it’s been a hit! This gift set comes in her line’s coveted clear handbag.

Perfect for: Wife/Girlfriend, Sister, Friend.

$38 – Ouai’s On-My-Ouai Kit

Holiday Scented Candle

You can never go wrong with giving a beautiful candle that smells delicious. My mom and sisters each own this particular candle – the scent is light and delicious.

Perfect for: Mom/MIL, Sister, Friends, Boss, Co-Worker.

$40 – Nest Holiday Candle

Mini Face Mask Gift Set

Remember what I said about giving the gift of relaxation? You can never go wrong. Every woman I know loves to pamper herself with a good mask. Here are 4 different ones for her try.

Perfect for: Wife/Girlfriend, Mom/MIL, Sister, Friend.

$49 – Kiehl’s Mix & Mask Minis

 

Holiday Gifts under $200 for Him

This season, I wanted to break up my annual gift guides by price and gender, so in this one, I want to talk about the gifts under $200 for the various men in your life. 

Essentials Box

My all-time favorite company for ties and pocket squares has this great Essentials Box that includes ties, pocket squares, socks as well as tie bars & collar stays for the man who likes to class it up or needs a little help in the accessories department.

$165 – The Tie Bar Essentials Box

Minimalist Pocket Knife

Well-designed, minimalist and with a simple construction with many handle options makes this one a winner in my book.

$99 – $179 – Grovemade Minimalist Knife

Clear Ice Cube Maker Kit

For someone into cocktails, this is a great addition to their bar that they might not have. It’s easy to give glasses, stirrers, shakers or booze, but a clear ice cube maker kit is a cut above the standard items one would give.

$80 – Neat Ice Cube Kit

Leather Dopp Kit

Like I mentioned in my Accessory Essentials Series, this dopp kit is fan-freaking-tastic and I’ve gifted it many times over the years.

$130 – Jack Spade Dopp Kit

Wireless Earbuds (iOS & Android)

The AirPods are truly the best wireless earbuds available right now (for iOS users) and the Jaybird Run are equally good for Android.

$159 to $265 – Apple AirPods or Jaybird Run

Best Backup or Rucksack

I’ve gone over the best backpacks or rucksacks before, and my top choices are definitely pricey, but for an everyday, go-anywhere, do-anything bag, this one is my top choice. I love that it comes in different colors in case your recipient may prefer something other than black.

$135 – Aef Fit Pack 2

Holiday Gifts Under $50 For Him

This season, I wanted to break up my annual gift guides by price and gender, so in this one, I want to talk about the gifts under $50 for the various men in your life. 

Keyring Multi-Tool

Every man will find this handy, regardless of his age or occupation. I like it because it easily fits on a keyring and is super convenient.

$35 – Leatherman Squirt PS4

Pocket Pen

Well designed, pocketable, and something most men don’t think about it but use more often than they’d think.

$20 – Fisher Space Pen

 

Cigar Pack

A humidity sealed pack with two cigars, a cutter, and matches for the aficionado, or those who’ve yet to be initiated into the cigar world. You can pick these up as either single purchases, or a part of a monthly subscription. Dorian has spoken to the CEO a few times and has sampled a few of their packages and says they’re top-notch.

$30 – Cigar Pack (2 cigars)

 

Leather Keryring

This unique leather keyring will keep up to 7 keys all organized and silent within its cowhide leather sheath in your pocket. Like I mentioned in my Accessory Essentials Series, use quality items and you’ll thank yourself (or the man you give this to will thank you, hopefully).

$45 – Orbitkey Keyring

 

Nose & Ear Hair Trimmer

It’s one of those things that most men don’t think of buying for themselves but will use way more often when they actually have it in their grooming kit. It seems weird, but a lot of clients have commented about it being one of the best sleeper-hit style gifts they’ve ever received.

$20 – Panasonic Trimmer

 

Classic Watch

Beautiful, classic styling and a great price – you can’t go wrong. I’ve covered this and many, many other watches in my best men’s watches guide.

$35 – Timex Weekender Watch

 

Braided Charging Cables

Charging cables can be a boring necessity, or they can be a classy addition to a man’s Everyday Carry. I’d suggest getting a 10ft cable – the extra length comes in way more handy than you’d think.

$10 to $50 – Native Union

 

High Quality Socks

One might think this is a boring choice, but if you haven’t tried the best men’s socks yourself, you’d be dead wrong. Give the gift of amazing comfort and a lifetime warranty with these awesome socks.

$10 to $40 – Darn Tough Socks

 

Coffee & Espresso Maker

Hailed as one of the best ways to make a single serving coffee, I’ve gifted this to quite a few people who are into coffee and it’s been a success every time.

$25 – Aeropress Coffee & Espresso Maker

Men’s Denim/Jean Jackets & How To Wear Them

After I released my Top 5 Fall Essentials article/video, I received a lot of questions about how to style different washes of denim jackets. I heard you loud and clear, so here’s some of my favorite ways to style them.

Light Wash

To avoid looking like you’re wearing a Canadian tuxedo, wear light wash denim jackets with chinos. You can pretty much get away with any color, but my favorites are navy, green, brown, and burgundy. My classic go-to formula is a t-shirt, chinos, and chukka boots. Crewneck sweaters or oxford button-downs are also good options as well.

$230 – Allsaints denim jacket – One of my favorite denim jackets currently available. I love the lighter wash and distressed touches and the slim fit is incredibly flattering, which is really hard to find in denim jackets. It fits true to size.
$20 – Topman striped t-shirt
$68 – J.Crew slim-fit stretch chino pant in green and brown (click here for their straight leg chinos)
$128 – Brooks Brothers suede belt in brown
$295 – Allen Edmonds plain-toe chukka boots
$318 – John Varvatos sunglasses
$5 – Perlon Watch Strap

Alternate Denim Jacket 

$90 – Levi’s denim jacket (in Queen) – You can never go wrong with this iconic denim jacket. Go with the next size down for this one because it’s not as fitted as the AllSaints one above and you always want a snug fit in the arms and body for all your denim jackets.

Dark Wash

If you only have the budget for one denim jacket, a dark washed one is what I’d choose. I love how dark the wash is because it’s easier to dress it up or down and it also has a slimming effect. I would avoid wearing jeans with a dark wash jacket unless they’re black because I don’t think it looks great and typically most men don’t know how to pair different washes of denim well. You can never go wrong with a pair of chinos and a crewneck t-shirt or sweater. If you want to dress the jacket up more, than pair it with some wool trousers and a collared shirt like I did in my fall accessory essentials article/video.

$118 – J.Crew denim jacket – Definitely go a size down than normal because you want a snug fit. Otherwise, the fit will be boxy which looks unflattering on every man regardless of your body type.
$24 – J.Crew t-shirt
$225 – J.Crew striped sweater
$40 – Uniqlo chinos in navy
$179 – Johnston & Murphy chukka boots
$415 – Tom Ford sunglasses 52mm

Alternate Denim Jacket 

$90 – Levi’s denim jacket (in Rinse) – Go with the next size down because you want a snug fit.

Grey Or Black Wash

Tall, dark, and handsome is how I describe the outfit you’ll be wearing with a grey (or black) denim jacket. Keep it all black – t-shirt, jeans, and boots. You can also go with a white t-shirt but I love how sharp an all black outfit looks with a gray denim jacket adding that perfect pop of monochrome color – it’s especially perfect for a night out.

$285 – AllSaints denim jacket
$75 – AllSaints black t-shirt
$168 – Diesel jeans
$750 – Prada chelsea boots
$415 – Tom Ford sunglasses in black

Alternate Denim Jacket 

$98 – Levis denim jacket

Men’s Leather Jackets & How To Wear Them – Bomber + Motorcycle

In this article/video, I wanted to do an update to my (4 year old!) men’s essential leather jacket story. A lot of the information in my previous article is still valid, so think of this as more of a supplement for why you should own a leather jacket instead of completely replacing it. As for the types of leather jackets I’m featuring in this video/article, you’ll likely notice that some are missing and that’s for a specific reason – I just don’t like them and they tend to not look great on most men. See the video below for an explanation of what styles I don’t prefer and why.

For the best ways to wear your leather jacket(s), check out the new video and my previous article and video here.

Biker Jacket

In my previous story, I mentioned that I didn’t like the biker style very much because they have a lot going on and should only be worn if you have a very specific rock and roll style. I still think this is true if you go with the traditional or classic-style biker jacket with the belt, chrome hardware and shiny leather. But, over the years, I discovered a slightly updated version that does away with the belt and replaces the shiny hardware and leather with matte options. Basically, this style of biker jacket removes all the things I disliked about the traditional versions, and now I’ve got to say, I’m much more of a fan.

As for how to wear them, I’d style with a t-shirt or sweater in white, black, or grey, dark wash or black jeans/chinos, and a pair of black boots. If you want to “dress it up” a bit, then pair with a casual collared shirt (leave untucked) in black, green, or burgundy, and some chinos or wool trousers.

$2395 – Burberry leather biker jacket – Burberry consistently makes some of my favorite leather jackets. You’ll pay for it, but if you can swing it, they’re totally worth the price and the fit is incredible. Remember, leather jackets are a BIFL piece.
$420 – AllSaints cargo leather jacket – all the hardware on this jacket is completely blacked out which I always prefer, but is tough to find. AllSaints’ leather jackets are worth the price and for the quality and construction, they’re a steal!
$420 – AllSaints leather biker jacket
$133 – AllSaints dark green shirt – this is the shirt Dorian wore throughout the video. The dark green color and cut of the shirt is super flattering for all shapes and sizes, especially if you’re thin or huskier.

Leather Bomber Jacket

I’ve said it a gazillion times and I’ll continue to say it, over and over again (all these articles feature bomber jackets) – regardless of your age and body type, from super thin to more rotund gentleman, every single man should have at least one bomber jacket in his closet because it’s a super versatile year-round item that can be worn a myriad of ways. Now whether you go with leather, suede or fabric options, that’s up to you. Frankly, I’d have each option, if your budget allows.

As for how to wear a leather bomber jacket, I always like to keep it simple. Pair with a crewneck sweater or t-shirt, dark wash jeans, and sneakers or boots. To make it more formal, I would pair with a white collared shirt, black tie, and wool trousers. The beauty of a bomber is that you can pretty much wear it with any kind of shirt – just pair with chinos, jeans or trousers on the darker side and you’ll never go wrong.

$500 – AllSaints leather bomber jacket – classic, classic, classic.
$500 – AllSaints leather bomber jacket in greyish blue – if you already own black, mix it up with this neutral-like color. Wear how you normally would with a black or brown jacket.
$465 – AllSaints leather and wool bomber – Dorian wore this in my Fall Shoes video and it’s such a sleek take on an all leather jacket. Super timeless and stylish.