After years of slow computers and a touch screen that barely worked half the time, I finally went and picked up a new laptop and phone.

The first thing that hit me was the dread of transferring all my data from my old gear.

My old phone had over 15,000 images in it. All uncategorized, of course, because let’s be real here.

60% of the storage was also filled with apps I forgot I even had. (Until that one day of the year where I need it.)

And let’s not get started on the mess that’s my desktop computer.

As I was flipping through my app-less phone with a completely empty photo folder, something hit me.

It felt nice starting with a clean slate.

I wasn’t stressed out about finding something I’ve stashed away.

I wasn’t infinitely scrolling through images and deleting photos I forgot I even took, in a desperate attempt to save a few megabytes.

And empty phone and computer was like a fresh new calendar.

And opportunity to start new.

Our past are stories that define us

I remember one time my girlfriend was telling me how nervous she was about a party we were going to.

We both didn’t really know anyone there.

I assured her she always does fine whenever we go out with friends, and she replies with this:

“I’m just really shy. I don’t start opening up until I get to know someone.”

I looked at her with a little smile on my face and said, “You don’t open up until you know someone? That’s not shy? That’s normal. Shy people are shy no matter what.”

It was like I just pulled back the curtain on The Wizard of Oz.

She started laughing because of how hilariously true it was.

The story she constantly told herself about her shyness was holding her back from going out, meeting new people, and possibly having a great time.

And the uncomfortable truth is, we all have stories like this.

All through college I was a proud “night owl”.

I worked my best at night.

I took only afternoon and evening classes because “it was impossible for me to wake up before 10am.”

Two years ago, as I was starting what would become The Essential Man, I found myself in a tough situation.

My schedule was completely packed, and my late gym sessions just weren’t working out for me. I was exhausted at the end of my days and kept skipping them.

So I decided to challenge myself and start waking up at 5am and head to the gym.

How could I?! I was a lifelong “night owl”. It was impossible!

So, I decided to do a real audit of my lifestyle. Was there anything affecting my sleep?

Am I drinking too much caffeine late at night?

Was I watching too much T.V., or staring at my phone? I heard that light from screens trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime.

And after a month of testing different theories, I came to one conclusion:

The reason I couldn’t wake up at 5am well rested was that I was going to bed most days at 2am.

So, I started going to bed at 9pm.

And what do you know? I started waking up at 5am, rested, alert, and ready to crush it at the gym.

I was suddenly a morning person.

Your stories can hold you back

After a year of doing The Essential Man, I’ve heard it all.

“I’m just not naturally stylish. So I shouldn’t even try.”

“I shouldn’t have to dress better. Girls should like me for who I am.”

“I’m fat and short. Nice clothes are only made for guys who are 6’2” with abs.”

When you joined my mailing list, chances are you got an email from me asking you what your style challenges are.

If you sent me a reply, there’s a good chance you and I had a conversation.

By now I’ve had thousands of these conversations and I can tell who’s going to really transform their style and life, and who’s going to unsubscribe from my list pretty soon.

How? By identifying red flags. Red flags tell me that no matter how much I want to or try to help, the person isn’t going to change.

Did you catch the red flags in the phrases above? Let me help you out.

“I’m just not naturally stylish. So I shouldn’t even try.

“I shouldn’t have to dress better. Girls should like me for who I am.

“I’m fat and short. Nice clothes are only made for guys who are 6’2” with abs.

I empathize.

I understand why they tell themselves this, because it’s easy and comforting. It puts the blame on someone else. It doesn’t require them to put in the work to truly change.

It’s why obese people want fat acceptance instead of tweaking their diet and working out.

Why people complain that “it’s only about who you know” instead of going out and building their network.

And why single guys will call girls who want guys that look nice superficial, instead of improving how they look.

Want to change? Rewrite your story

Think about the story I used to tell myself about being a night owl, look at that red flag.

“I’m a night owl. It’s impossible for me to wake up before 10am.

But how did I change? By rewriting the story I told myself.

“I used to prefer being a night owl, but I can become a morning person. By going to bed earlier, I can wake up earlier.”

the-essential-man-before-and-after-successes
Awesome Essential Man reader Before & Afters

The guys that have success in transforming themselves through The Essential Man all rewrote their stories.

“I’m just not naturally stylish. But dressing well is a skill I can learn.

“I shouldn’t have to dress better. But I want to show women the best version of myself.

“I’m fat and short. But there are a lot of stylish guys like me, I’ll focus on what they do to look good.

2017: THE YEAR OF THE BEST VERSION OF YOU

While “Best” is subjective, everyone’s definition has one thing in common: A desire to not settle.

The Essential Man has always been about becoming the best version of yourself.

I’m taking it to the next level this year.

I have tons of posts lined up to show you how to improve your personal style, and how it’s going to directly improve all areas of your life.

I focus on improving your style because I’ve seen, first hand, how much it affects how you feel about yourself.

When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, good things happen.

From one of my private styling clients
From one of my private styling clients

In your career. Your love and sex life. Your fitness.

Want to dress for that 6 figure job you want and get it? I’ll show you how.

Don’t just aim to look good on a first date. I’ll show you how to transform that dating profile to get more messages than you’ll know what to do with.

I won’t be doing this alone. I’ve been picking the brains of a ton of my expert friends in all these fields.

I’m giving you a clean slate to rewrite your story.

Are you ready to become the best version of yourself?

I’m not settling this year.

If you’re not either, let me know in the comments:

What do you want to improve this year when it comes to your style?

Imagine you hit that goal, what would that mean to your career? Your love life? You?

Let me know in the comments

(A special thank you to Ramit’s yearly theme posts for inspiring this one.)

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

  • Jeffrey

    Love this quote. Just wrote it in my notebook. “While ‘Best’ is subjective, everyone’s definition has one thing in common: A desire to not settle.” ~Peter Nguyen

    • Peter Nguyen

      Thanks Jeffrey!