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What Caring for Your Appearance Can Teach You about Success

Happy New Year, Guys!

As we enter 2016, I hope you're all preparing, just as I am, to get to work.

Real work.

Work on yourself.

Work on your life.

Work on your head, your heart, your body, your spirit, your relationships.

Too often, we are caught up in the daily minutia. Our plans of bettering ourselves get put on hold so we can handle the unimportant tasks of today.

But there are a few dates each year that are different from the rest.

These dates have a kind of power. They give us the opportunity to make big changes.  They bring the promise of second chances and rebirth and transformation.

The pivotal date can be a birthday, the first day of school, or, of course, the dawn of the new year.

Something about this milestone makes us prime for change. Cliche as it may be, we can't allow these opportunities to pass us by.

Why I focus on aesthetics

I know people have this perception that caring about your appearance makes you vain, narcissistic, and pretentious.

And for some, that may be true.

But for the rest of us, taking care of our appearance can be one of the most powerful self-improvement tools at our disposal.

When you look good, you feel good.  

It's as simple as that.

So below, I'm going to detail how caring for your personal aesthetic and the habits that facilitate that care will contribute to success in every aspect of your life.

Body

No matter what you do, you live in your body 24 hours a day.

You might as well make it a comfortable and functional place to live.

Ever wonder why nearly every self-improvement website and book contains an element of physical fitness?

Physical changes aside, going through the process of transforming your body will have tremendous carryover to other areas of life.

Weightlifting

appearance weightlifting

No one in the history of the world has ever built a great physique with a single epic workout.

The truth is, for most, it takes years to create the ideal lean and muscular physique.

And for this long-term plan to work, you have to follow the guiding principle of weightlifting – progressive overload.

If you fail to increase your performance in the gym, you fail to improve your physique.

But when pushing the human body to its limits, complications and setbacks are bound to arise.

So when things look bleak, you have to take a step back, learn to plan ahead, and develop strategies to overcome obstacles.

Heading into the gym, day after day, striving for incremental improvements will teach you the difference between exercising and training.

And knowing this difference is what leads to long-term progress.

What weightlifting teaches you about success

This method of clever adaptation learned in the gym can be transferred to every other aspect of life.

Whether it's your finances, relationships, or your performance at school or work, we can shape our lives every day just as we can our bodies in the gym.

Start applying the principle of progressive overload to business or any other obstacle in your path.

Rather than expecting to achieve massive success on the first day and then petering out when the going gets tough, apply what you've learned in the gym and make a small push forward each and every day toward your goals.

Every day you should be closer to where you want to be.

Bottom Line:  Lifting weights teaches you to be patient, to take minor set backs in stride, and to restructure your plan of attack to avoid stagnation.

Diet

appearance diet

Yeah, eating junk food feels good in the moment.

Food producers spend a fortune in research and development to ensure that their products are as appetizing (and addictive) as possible.

But the “food high” is very short lived.

Crushing a whole pizza will make you feel awesome for an hour or so, but you'll soon be left with a stomach ache and a nagging sense of regret.

When you make the conscious decision to choose healthy foods, however, you have the mental upshift of knowing that you're making good choices for your body.

And it's a synergistic habit.

The more healthy food you eat, the better you feel, and the more likely you are to choose more healthy food.

Flip that little switch in your mind and find the strength and motivation to eat what you know you should be eating.

What diet teaches you about success

Selecting healthy food teaches you how to make consistent decisions that may not be the most fun now, but add up to huge results in the future.

Think of how this applies to other aspects of your life.

You could work on your side business this weekend, or waste two days sleeping off Friday and Saturday's raging hangover.

You could spend time strengthening relationships with your friends, spouse, and kids, or lose every evening sitting on the couch and watching TV.

Just like junk food, the easy way will feel good in the moment but derail your long-term plans.

Once you start consistently making good decisions, you'll be riding a tidal wave of success that only gets bigger and bigger the more you feed it with beneficial choices.

Bottom Line:  Adhering to a diet teaches you to delay gratification and illustrates the power of a positive feedback loop.

Appearance

I've written about how improving your style can have a tremendous impact on your life.

And to build upon that, here are the things that developing your personal style and grooming can teach you.

Clothing

Evolution has allowed our brains to develop a huge time-saving system.

We make snap judgements about others based on their visual presentation.

We instantly formulate ideas about someone's occupation, level of financial success, home life, and place within the community based on their clothes.

Every day you're faced with the decision of what to wear and every day you have the opportunity to send any message you want.

People will treat you according to what you choose, so make this decision count.

If you're feeling groggy on Monday morning, you could pull on Sunday's rumpled, discarded clothes from the foot of the bed, but what message would that send?

How would this communication shape the course of your day, week, or year?

A much better choice would be to dress as if you were eager to tackle the week ahead.

Before you know it, you'll be acting with the energy you're projecting with your clothing.

What clothing teaches you about success

Being conscious of the visual message you're sending will help you control other aspects of communication as well.

If you want to be seen as more experienced in your field, you can take what you've learned about dressing the part and apply it to other actions.

If you want the boss to trust you with an important task, you can't let your insecurities show through.

When you feel intimidated (and would rather be safe at home in your pajamas), fake it until you make it.

Put on that suit and it will direct you to stand tall, speak confidently, and smile as you tackle your responsibilities.

Just as you eventually become the person you dress like, you'll eventually morph into the sum of the actions and feelings you let show through.

This isn't about hiding who you are – it's about practicing to become the person you want to be.

Bottom Line:  Dressing well requires self-awareness. You have to know who you are now and who you want to be, and then become an effective and selective communicator to share your message with others. 

Grooming

appearance grooming

Grooming factors into your overall aesthetic just as much as your physical shape and the clothes you put on your back.

When I'm unkempt, I don't even feel like leaving my apartment.

I simply don't feel like myself.

The mental boost I get from grooming is tremendous. With a fresh haircut, moisturized skin, and a clean, soft beard, I'm ready for anything.

But you can't just live like a slob for weeks at a time and expect to clean up in a single day.

Most hairstyles take consistency to train.

Clear skin is the result of  daily moisturizing and gentle cleansing.

Healthy teeth are the result of years of twice daily brushing and regular flossing.

If you only shave when it's absolutely necessary, chances are you'll walk into that big interview with fresh nicks and cuts and a nice swatch of razor burn.

Presenting a neat physical appearance signals a high level of thoroughness, dedication, and commitment.

I think we subconsciously know how much work goes into these areas and thus perceive well-groomed men as powerful, trustworthy, and successful.

Keep your hair neat, wear a signature scent, care for your beard, or get an irritation free shave.

Do whatever you have to do to stay sharp on a consistent basis.

What grooming teaches you about success

Impeccable grooming is all about a ritual, a routine.

The same is true for most aspects of life.

You won't fix your relationships by being nice for a single day.

You can't recover your career by working really hard…on occasion.

Businesses aren't built in a day.

Instead of working on these things only when you're up against a wall, free up mental capacity by incorporating them into a routine.

When you use routines to manage your time and ensure all areas of your life are being consistently tended, you'll be fully prepared to deal with the unavoidable curve balls.

Bottom Line:  Being well-groomed teaches you the value of consistency and routine and prepares you to manage adversity.

Developing daily habits

appearance daily habits

All the planning and dreaming in the world doesn't mean a damn thing unless it translates into action.

Take some time to mull over potential life changes, determine which are most important to you, and develop a plan to make the change a lasting part of your life.

From personal experience, I find that small, frequent, and manageable habits are far more impactful on long-term success than gigantic, fleeting actions.

Whenever I devour a self-improvement book, I'm riding on a high for a couple of days.

I take big actions but start to lose steam fairly quickly.

However, if I make a habit of reading a chapter a day everyday, I find that I'm more likely to enact small, daily modifications, the overall sum of which is real, substantial change.

That's exactly why developing the daily habits of caring for your appearance are so powerful.

You don't have to think about making major sweeping changes all at once – just small, consistent habits that will make huge improvements over time.

Daily habits really work

I'd already spent years tackling these appearance-based hurdles, so my New Year's Resolution in 2015 was a little different.

I still realized the power of daily habits so I used that to make significant changes in other aspects of my life.

Despite being talented and hard working, I knew I wasn't living up to my potential, and never had been.

After much introspection, I realized it was my tendency to remain within my comfort zone that was holding me back.

So last year, my resolution was to be BOLD.

That isn't exactly the most clear and measurable goal, but to me it meant that I would say “yes” to beneficial opportunities that I might normally turn down.

Each and every day, I would do something that made me uncomfortable, nervous, or scared. 

The result?

Aside from the posts you've seen here on Iron & Tweed, I:

It's amazing how consistently applying one simple habit can have such a profound effect on your life.

These are all opportunities I would've previously passed on because I “wasn't ready” or the “time wasn't right” (so I told myself).

Instead, I pushed myself to say “yes”.

2015 was my year of YES.

My year of deciding to live up to my potential for the first time.

My year of being bold.

And making a daily habit of being bold, of saying yes, of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, has been one of the best things I've ever done for my life.

So what are you going to change this year? Tell me in the comments below!

All the best,

Nate

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Steve Horton
    January 5, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Excellent article. Congrats on all your success in 2015, keep up the great work!

  • Reply
    Ian Murphy
    January 6, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Hi Nate,

    I enjoyed this article and have implemented a lot of the things you mention in my own sphere in the last year and the return on consistently work on yourself is huge.

    My recommendation is to take this information and implement on a 3 month basis i.e. for the first quarter of the year, just concentrate on a progressive overload weight lifting program 3-4 times a week. Second quarter, make adjustments to your diet such as not drinking calories and reducing fast food intake to 1-2 times a week, you’re not going to get to 8% body fat doing this but this is a good start. Third quarter, get introspective and decide what you’d like to do that would make you uncomfortable. For me it was doing stand up comedy, toastmasters speeches and improv classes, out of the changes I made these experiences were the most powerful in my mind. Final quarter, appreciate how far you’ve come over the last 9 months and make adjustments where needed and maintain the momentum. You’re constantly a work in progress.

    It’s not complicated but it is difficult.

    Keep up the good work.

    Ian

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 6, 2016 at 5:34 am

      I like your periodized approach! To often people try to make all the changes at once and then throw in the towel after a week.

  • Reply
    Lucas
    January 6, 2016 at 9:13 am

    As always a great post, you know, I always get really inspired when I see people like you that has a different message and they’re reaping the rewards of that, even more when you told your story of who you were before all this, resonates with tons of people, congrats!

    2015 was my year of 180 degrees change, as I discovered a lot of content like B&D, SGM, and your blog that changed me from a pussy, fatass loser to me now. That helped me a lot with my music too, ’cause otherwise I’d have given up as it’s a real struggle when things don’t go as planned. So yeah, started from the bottom and now we’re here, in both music(started from scratch on february) and life. Thanks man, a lot! Wish you the best.
    -Lucas

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 6, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      It really makes me love what I’m doing every time someone tells me I helped them make big changes in their life. The creative field can be a tough path at first. You don’t immediately see that exchange of work for dollars so it’s easy to lose steam. I’m glad to hear that you’re persevering. Good luck in 2016 and keep kicking ass!

  • Reply
    Ben Brewer
    January 6, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Hey Nate, thanks for the great article.

    What am I going to change this year? I’m going to continue the trend I started last year—to keep stepping outside my comfort zone (like you’ve done). Last year in April, I moved out of state away from friends and family. That was the first major step I took to change—and it scared the hell out of me. But now, as I look back at that decision, it was the defining point of my life and it changed me to the core.

    Now in 2016, it’s all about pushing the boundaries even further. For me, that means focusing on relationships. I tend to isolate myself and not let people in.

    To push my comfort zone in that area, I’ll be reaching out to people like you, and other bloggers who are focused on helping men take their lives to the next level.

    Also, I’ll be moving out of the country in mid-summer to take an English-teaching job—until I can support myself 100% from online income.

    Cheers and have a great New Year!
    Ben

  • Reply
    Tim
    January 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

    My goal in 2016 is to make it what I call “The Year of the King”. What that means is I want to focus on building myself towards being a king, so I will naturally attract to me my “kingdom” (plan to be a business owner and have a large family, that’s my dream kingdom). To do so, I need to build an obsession with improvement, success, competition, and taking on new responsibilities. By consistently holding myself to higher standards as soon as I begin to acclimate to the previous one, I will build a habit of improving and attracting to me the people and success I want. My unofficial mantra for 2016 is “an object in motion stays in motion”. So this year, I look forward to learning to be the king!

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 7, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Excellent goals, Tim! Consistently holding yourself to higher standards as you get used to the previous ones is progressive overload in action. You’ve got this year nailed down!

  • Reply
    Jonathan
    January 7, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Great article Nate. My goal for 2016 is to build my team. To build my kingdom and be amongst kings, leaders self motivated guys who want nothing but success for themselves and for their team. I truly agree with what you wrote and by taking action is the only way possible. So for me to become a true warrior/king I need to look the part by taking care of myself physically and mentally. Making sure I’m up to par with my looks keeping myself groomed. Taking it day by day will get me closer to my goals and developing a habit to continue being consistent.

  • Reply
    Harind
    January 8, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Brilliant Post! My 2015 was all about learning about myself and knowing who I am and where I want to be (as mentioned in this article). I still have a lot to learn and experience, but it’s great knowing that I have Iron & Tweed helping me along the way! Keep up the great work and hope your 2016 is bigger and better!

    Cheers

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 8, 2016 at 5:16 am

      You’re on the right track, Harind. Experience is the only way you’ll ever figure out what you truly want. It took me fifteen years of bouncing around from one shitty job to the next to finally get to where I want to be. Never give up!

  • Reply
    Luke
    January 23, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Hi Nate,
    I relate to this article, I wish more of my friends understood what you’re saying.
    How you look on the outside is a reflection on how you feel on the inside.
    Chances are if a guy looks like he doesn’t care about his appearance, he also doesn’t care about his health, relationships or managing his money!
    I can speak from personal experience that when I started to take an interest in clothes and working out my life improved in a hundred different ways.
    Even in meetings and tough negotiations at work people instantly give you more respect if you look the part.
    Loving your site: I thought I had some pretty cool style going but you knock it out of the park!
    – Luke

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 23, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Thanks, Luke. Your site is looking awesome! It’s very personal, well designed and laid out, and you’re an engaging writer. It’s hard to believe you’ve only been doing this for just a few months. Also, people seem to really feel a connection with you in the comments.

      • Reply
        Luke
        January 24, 2016 at 4:39 am

        I appreciate you taking a look at it Nate, thanks.
        I try to write from the heart and put a bit of my soul into every post the way you and Victor do.
        I figure that’s all I can do and hopefully people will like it and relate to me.
        Keep on crushing it man, every one of your posts is a must read for me!

  • Reply
    Ryan
    January 26, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Hey Nate, awesome post! Would you say being on TRT helped with regards to your resolution of being bolder?

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 26, 2016 at 5:52 am

      Absolutely! Even with the chemical aspect aside, TRT helped me achieve my lifelong goals which drastically altered the way I see challenges.

  • Reply
    OF
    February 15, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Wanting to change is one thing, actually changing is a whole different beast. At least, for me, it has been. I just discovered your site. Hopefully, it’ll help me on my journey to becoming a better man.

  • Reply
    Carlos
    March 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I really like your website Nate! It’s very important for the modern man nowadays to find that lifestyle balance in all areas of life

    Greetings from Spain

    Carlos

  • Reply
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