In late 2016, after seeing myself in a video interview looking chubby, I set a goal for myself to get in the best shape of my life.

I’ve lost weight before. In my freshman year of college, I ballooned to 220lbs. By my senior year, I treadmilled my way down to 160lbs. But building a business took a toll on my healthy habits and I gained a good amount of weight back.

So I asked a personal trainer friend to look at my routine to figure out why it wasn’t really working again. I figured I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough at the gym. I wanted him to design me a new routine. He took one look at the spreadsheets I sent him and said this:

“Peter. You don’t have a workout problem, you have a diet problem. If you hit your macros and cut calories and didn’t work out at all, you’d lose more weight than you are losing now.”

I hated that I knew he was right.

Dieting is boring!

I wanted to feel badass trying out some new sexy workout (Kettlebells! Ropes! TRX!).

But the truth is much simpler: I need to stop eating like shit. When I focused on what was going to make the biggest impact on my goal – getting my diet in order – the results finally came.

I’m down 33lbs.

Why Most of My Clients Don’t Have a “Style” Problem

I see this “sexy solutions” mindset all the time.

Take, for example, my client and a lot my readers.

9 times out of 10, finding the right style isn’t their problem, it’s fixing the fit of their clothes.

Like I’ve preached time and time again, getting the right fit will fix 90+% of your style problems, not buying the latest pair of destroy jeans from Saint Laurent.

Last year I declared it was the Year of “Becoming the best version of you”, but I realized that that goal I set for The Essential Man was incomplete.

So this year, I want to focus on creating a bigger impact on your life…

Welcome To 2018, The Year of Big Wins

This year, instead of trying to be more productive or find the latest life hack, we’re doing a simple concept that most people ignore: finding the one or two big wins.

Whether you have a goal to improve your style, get your abs, or gain financial independence, discovering and taking action on the “big wins” are going to have the greatest impact on your goals.

You might know this as the Pareto principle. Often times these are “the basics”, like “fit is king”.

(I like to call these “The Essentials”.)

Whatever you want to call these “Big win solutions”, I want to challenge you today.

Reexamine your goals and be honest, are you chasing sexy solutions, or are you doing the few things that will make the biggest impact?

Here are 3 tools to help you find your big wins:

Understand The Crash & Burn Rule of ROI

I developed this rule after hearing an elite athlete talk about performance-enhancing drugs: The bigger and quicker the benefit, the harder and faster the side effects.

Sexy fast solutions can sometimes work in the short run, but if you want lasting change, you have to think about the long game.

To put it another way, easy come, easy go.

This is the difference between crash dieting vs a healthy lifestyle.

In terms of your wardrobe, it’s the difference between buying that trendy leather jacket that Zara is knocking off vs. developing your own style.

Examine your goals, are the solutions you’re doing promise results much faster than normal?

Do the results sound too good to be true? (Hint: they often are.)

Seek Solutions That Haven’t Changed Over The Years

This is a good way to further filter out sexy solutions that have a small impact in the long run.

If it’s something new that everyone’s doing, I’d consider it a red flag to proceed with caution.

When it comes to style, this is like when everyone dressed like beige hoodie era Kanye West with ripped jeans and Chelsea boots. 

With fitness, it might be intermittent fasting.

Personal Finance and building wealth? Buy Bitcoin!

New shiny sexy solutions are always tempting, but the “basics” survive decades of trends for a reason: they work!

There’s a reason why focusing on fit and classic designs still look great 50 years later. Why consistent calories in and calories out trumps making sure you eat at a specific time, and why increasing your income will net you a bigger win than buying the latest cryptocurrency.

Think Like an Underdog

Scroll through any professional illustrators Instagram, and I’d put good money that every single post of theirs will have at least one person asking what kind of pen they use.

Here’s the thing about these illustrators: they could outdraw you using a pack of crayons they give kids at restaurants.

John Mayer would still sound like John Mayer playing a $50 guitar from Wal-mart.

David Fincher could make an Oscar-worthy film using a 5-year-old iPhone.

They’ve all mastered the most important parts of their crafts, their tools don’t matter.

$20 Japanese pens, $2,500 Fenders, and $50,000 cameras are all sexy solutions.

The amateur who masters the fundamentals will always create better art than the person who overlooks the basics and gives all the credits to his tools.

Your Challenge Today

I’ve been planning a ton of new writing to get you those big style wins. In the meantime, I want to hear from you.

Share ONE goal you’re looking to hit this year. It could be style related, or it could totally be something else, like dating or career.

Brainstorm a few possible solutions. Using the tips above, identify which are short-term “sexy” solutions, and which will have a bigger impact on reaching your goal.

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peter@theessentialman.com'
Author

Hi, I'm Peter. I spent 11 years as a menswear designer here in NYC. Now, I help some of the most successful men look really good as a Private Personal Stylist and writer of The Essential Man. You can learn more about what I do by clicking here