1. Improve your body
Putting effort into your physical fitness is less about looking jacked and having six pack abs than it is about what it says about your relationship to yourself overall.
If you put energy into how your body functions and operates, then any potential romantic partner that might be sussing you out can accurately trust that you are a man who is willing to take care of himself and attend to his own needs.
When asked what the #1 piece of business advice he would give to young entrepreneurs would be, Sir Richard Branson simply said, “Work out.” Because, to paraphrase his words, if you’re looking to build a world class business, it is absolutely imperative that you give love and attention to this fancy little meat sack that carries you through life. Without health, nothing else matters. It is on the first rung of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for a reason.
Personally, over the last year, I have been working out with a personal trainer (for weightlifting) twice per week, a gymnastics coach (primarily to learn how to backflip/do basic tumbling), and I have done at-home workouts (with resistance bands and a kettlebell) also on a weekly basis. The positive changes that I have experienced in my mind, my sleep, and my sex drive are massively apparent.
You don’t need to go to the gym and do resistance training in order to train your body. Trail running, dance classes, yoga, cycling, whatever. Simply pick up any physically active hobby that you love doing, and do it.
Put work into improving your physical fitness, not from a place of getting swole, but from a place of self-honouring and self-love.
Your sense of groundedness, mental and emotional health, and sex life will all improve exponentially if you truly make your body a priority.
2. Improve your mind
What does improving your mind even mean?
It means putting in the work to slow down your thinking, and taking responsibility for your thoughts.
You slow down your thoughts (upstream) by removing/minimizing as many of the stressors from your life as possible, and then have a mindfulness practice of some sort (which just means you carve out some time to slow the fuck down and be present with whatever you’re doing).
Now on to taking responsibility for your mind.
Someone who is unwilling to take responsibility for their minds (and their lives) is perpetually placing themselves in the role of the victim. And victim consciousness is so rampant in modern society that it’s easy for it to slip through most people’s radars undetected.
The man has jealous thoughts about his partner cheating on him, so he tells her that she has to change her life to cater to his insecurities. Or the woman who views all women as competitive and catty so she avoids having any female friends because guys are just easier to get along with. Or the man who crumbles in the face of the slightest sign of aggression in others because his father’s anger used to terrify him as a child.
All three of these examples are of people who are unwilling to face and own a certain part of their own minds (insecurity, competitiveness, and anger respectively) and so they aim to bend the world to their reality instead of doing their work and reclaiming these disowned shadow elements.
So what have you disowned yourself? What have you made wrong, or scary, or unloveable in your own mind? Acknowledge the disowned shadow element, have a dialogue with it, and then integrate it.
So, for the previous example of the man who is afraid of the anger of others because his father used to be angry, this man would need to first face his own capacity for anger. He would have to acknowledge that, given the right circumstance, he has the exact same capacity for anger that his father did. And then he would need to enact his anger (in mindful, healing ways) in order to make friends with that part of himself.
3. Improve your health
Good diet, drinking lots of water, prioritizing quality sleep, cultivating and honouring your personal boundaries, and investing in your social circle… the fundamentals are fundamental for a reason.
Do these and thrive. Or ignore them at your peril.
Good diet: Eat food at consistent times. Don’t have your meals too big. Have at least half of your meal be colourful, varied vegetables.
We’ll all heard this advice for years, and yet it’s still difficult to consistently prioritize. But as long as you’re making food choices like these ones 80% of the time, you’ll be doing just fine.
For more on this, check out my article The Better Sex Diet: Exactly What I Eat Every Day.
Drinking lots of water: Drink 2-4 litres of water per day. Find this tip hard to implement? Buy a BPA free water bottle that you like, and fill it up every morning and afternoon.
Prioritizing quality sleep: As much as the cult of productivity would have you believe otherwise, our bodies and minds need sleep.
Do whatever you can to get to bed at a consistent time (preferably before 10pm) every night, in a cool temperature, dark room.
If your mind is racing, write down your thoughts in a journal. If you (for some reason) have to look at screens within two hours before going to bed, wear blue light blocking sunglasses to protect your circadian rhythms.
Cultivating and honouring your personal boundaries: Being ready and willing to say no and hear no is a necessary life skill if you’re going to maintain your sanity.
You must be willing to face the disapproval or disappointment of others in order to do what is right for you in your life.
Being boundaried doesn’t mean that you should arbitrarily go out looking for ways to disappoint people… but an attractive man knows when to honour himself by saying no to things that don’t serve him.
Investing in your social circle: A lack of friends in your life is as bad for you as smoking a pack of cigarettes per day (so says a study that recently came out of Harvard University).
If you find yourself feeling chronically lonely, then investing in your social life is a must.
Not sure where to start? Check out my article How To Make Friends As An Adult to kickstart your process.
4. Put energy into grooming
Every man wants to be able to feel 100% confident in how he looks, smells, and feels when he’s getting close to someone he finds attractive.
Similar to the amount of energy that you should be putting towards your diet or your exercise, your personal grooming doesn’t need to take up much energy in your life.
Get a quality haircut that fits your face shape. Wash well. Be meticulous about your oral hygiene. Deep dive on your self-cleaning once per week. If you feel so inclined, pick a signature scent that you enjoy wearing.
Small hinges swing big doors. By investing just a bit of time (on a daily, and weekly basis) in your personal grooming, you’ll be a more attractive man in no time.
5. Know thyself
An attractive man is a man who knows himself. He knows what he likes, and what he doesn’t like.
He has hobbies, passions, and interests that nourish him, and he engages them regularly.
He has sexual preferences because he knows who he is and what he responds to.
He knows what needs he needs to get met throughout the various compartments of his life, and he makes his needs a consistent priority.
He can be flexible in many areas of his life, but he is not in the habit of abandoning himself or ignoring his needs long-term.
If you are in a phase of self-discovery (aren’t we all) then you will likely know that self-knowing comes from two things. It comes from having experiences, and from observing yourself. So if you are having a hard time figuring out what it is you want out of life (hobbies, friends, partners, etc.) then ramp up these two elements.
Do more things. And reflect more (through meditation, self-observation, journalling, etc.).
One without the other quickly becomes draining. So always make sure you’re balancing the two with one another.
6. Find your passion and live it every day
There are few things more attractive than a man who has found and is living his passion.
A cynic would say that this is because the woman that he is trying to attract wants him to have a good earning potential. And this may be part of the case (a man who can meet the financial needs of his lifestyle is certainly desirable). But I would argue that the majority of women would prefer to be partnered with a happy man than a rich man (when one is in exclusion to the other). And a man who is fully engaged in living his passion is, more often than not, a contented man.
Back to you. The first step is finding what your heart burns to do in this world.
If you have yet to do this, start here.
Carve out two hours and sit with these questions:
- What have been five of the happiest days of my life, that I have already lived?
- What in my life makes me feel the most?
- What makes me the happiest?
- What makes me the most angry?
- What topic would I happily sit in a 12 hour workshop about?
- If I had 20 million dollars in my bank account, and I have to leave the house every day, what would I fill my time with?
Write out 1-3 pages of words for each of these things. Once complete, look for the major patterns throughout what you wrote.
Themes will emerge. You will see what actually matters to you.
Once you’ve discovered what really matters to you, it’s simply a matter of finding a job that meets as many of those needs as possible and committing to it.
This stuff isn’t easy. I believe that it takes the ultimate courage to truly commit to what you are meant to do in the world.
Committing, in itself, is only one part of the journey. You will be tested. You will have to recommit, over and over to your path.
Whatever you are meant to do in this world, do it. If you do, you will be able to die empty… gifts given. If you resist the calling of this path, the parts of yourself that you repress will wreak havoc on your body, mind, and emotions. You will be more prone to addictions, mental disturbances, and engaging in things that help you numb you out to your general state of malaise.
As an added benefit to deciding to living out your passion, you, by default, will end up perpetually growing more and contributing more. And, in my experience of 10+ years of being a professional relationship coach and talking to people from all walks of life, people are never happier than when they are 1) giving, and 2) growing.
Live your passion. You are going to die anyways. Whether you die tomorrow, or in 80 years is entirely beyond your control. So you might as well fill your time with something meaningful that lights your heart on fire.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to read these words (have access to the internet, have enough time on your hands to read articles on the internet, etc.), then you owe it to the world to engage your passions. Don’t you dare settle and phone it in in your life. You have big shoes to fill, and it is your responsibility alone to fill them.
7. Become more self-sufficient
This point will only matter for some of you.
For the long-term lone wolf, points #10 and 11 will likely be more valuable to you than this one (and you can go ahead and skip this point). Some men are already self-sufficient enough and need to lean into the gifts of friendship and community.
But for many modern men, self-sufficiency is a necessary growth edge to lean into.
Do you call your mother at the slightest sign of stress in your life?
Do you call a handyman to do the most basic of home repairs?
Do you need someone to hold you in order to access your tears/sadness/grief?
Are you able to cook yourself a simple, nutrient-dense home-cooked meal (ordering pizza doesn’t count)?
Confidence is attractive. Confidence comes from results. And results come from skill acquisition.
If you find yourself feeling overly reliant on others for every little thing, then cultivating some self-sufficiency might be just what the doctor ordered.
In short, be a man that you’re proud of. Know how to wipe your own ass, literally and metaphorically speaking.
8. Become more resourceful
While conspicuous consumption is one way of being an attractive man that some overindulge in (“How much do you think he spent on that car???”), in the long-term resourcefulness is more attractive than lavishness.
Whether you make $60,000 per year, or $60,000 per day is irrelevant. What you do with your resources matters.
Wastefulness is an unattractive trait because it betrays an undisciplined mind.
If you get a small scuff on your shoes and immediately throw them out, how can your partner a) trust you to handle your money well, or b) not dispose of her with the same ease when a small speed bump inevitably happens in your relationship?
Take good care of your things. Be mindful of where your money goes on a monthly basis. Invest in quality products instead of buying quick and dirty disposable goods that you’ll burn through in short order. Have a savings plan so that your money makes you more money (which is the real way that the rich get richer).
There’s a balance to be had between the penny-pinching coupon lover and the champagne guzzling dude with 200 Ferraris… and the difference is consciously engaging in mindful resourcefulness. Respect your resources and they will respect you back.
9. Take responsibility for everything in your life
Many of the points in this list are all dancing around this subject, so I better name it explicitly.
Unattractive men are dependent, fear-ridden boys who blame others and shirk responsibility every time the wind changes direction.
An attractive man is someone who takes ultimate responsibility for everything in his life. He commits to full ownership.
This doesn’t mean that everything is his fault. Living a healthy lifestyle and receiving a cancer diagnosis isn’t your fault. Being swallowed up in an earthquake isn’t something that you ‘manifest’ with your lower-vibrational thoughts.
But an attractive man is willing to accept everything as it is fully, and then is willing to engage in changing it if he so chooses.
My wife wants more quality time with me? Alright, I will put energy into making that happen. Distraction free date nights every week. Let’s do this.
I don’t have as much of a financial nest egg as I would like? That’s on me. I will budget my lifestyle accordingly, cut necessary corners, and create a plan to start earning more. And save more money, no matter how much I’m currently making.
I have fallen into the worst physical shape of my life? Time to start eating better, sleeping on a regular schedule, and going to the gym four days a week.
Blame is the opposite of responsibility. Blame is making others responsible. And this very quickly leads to drowning in a state of victim consciousness.
No one is coming to save you. You are an adult. Your life is up to you now.
10. Prioritize play, fun, and lightness
The last thing that I want this list to come off as is ‘You have to be a stoic, responsible badass who understands that life is hard and shitty.’
Ultimately, being a holistically attractive man comes down to living a life of totality.
When you take ownership for your life, you take it on 100%. When you need to cry, you feel the sense of deserving and permission to bawl your eyes out. If you’re going to get a haircut, you don’t settle for the $10 Supercuts special down the street, but you know that you’re allowed to invest in your appearance and pay the $40-80 that your head deserves (again, grooming matters).
So just as important as responsibility, ownership, and resourcefulness are, so is play, lightness, and fun.
Cyndi Lauper famously sang “Girls just wanna have fun”… well so do women. So do all people.
Few things make you more resilient to life than a sense of humour. As soon as you take yourself too seriously, it’s all downhill from there.
Your potential romantic partners inherently know that life will deal you unexpected hardships. So if you approach life with a thorough line of playfulness, you will inevitably be more resilient when those hard times come knockin’.
If you find yourself feeling heavily divorced from play in your life, at the basic level you want to start doing things that you find fun, simply because they are fun.
Start off by watching my interview with the author of Play It Away, Charlie Hoehn, about the healing and transformative power of play. Then start integrating play into your weekly calendar. Scheduling play sounds like a very type-A thing to do, but it works.
Past that, start proactively looking for the humour in everything. Especially the darkest and most challenging parts of your life. There is always humour to be found. Still feeling stuck? Start going to stand-up comedy shows more often and see how professional comedians find lightness in all facets of life.
If you start creating opportunities for play and searching for laughter in life as much as you have (insert whatever your core focus has been over the last five years – money, physical fitness, perceived status, etc.) the quality of your life will transform in a matter of days.
11. Have more experiences
Nothing makes a man more interesting and attractive than living a full and dynamic life.
Whenever men ask me about what to talk about on first dates… or how to make more money… or how to not be so anxious in conversation… or how to not be so afraid of dying young… or not knowing what to do for the next iteration of their career path, my advice often comes down to this: live a fuller life.
If you are showing up and engaging in your life fully, benefits will abound.
You will have a surer sense of who you are (your likes and dislikes). You will have more skills, abilities, and stories to tell. And, last but certainly not least, you will be able to die a better death.
It has been said that much of life is simply a preparation for your death. Show up with courage, willingness, and effort in your life, and you can die content, knowing that you gave it your all. Or you could underperform, hold back, and show up with timidity, fear, and hesitation, and you can be riddled with pain and regret on your deathbed.
Long story short: live fully = die fully. Or, live in constant fear = die with regret. The choice is yours.
As you can see, putting in the work to become a more dynamic and attractive man isn’t for the faint of heart. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
But by putting in the work, you get a competitive advantage over others who aren’t willing to truly face and challenge themselves.
Ultimately, this all comes down to putting in work, building a dynamic and fulfilling single life, and then letting who you are speak volumes as you put yourself out into the world.
You don’t need pick up lines, memorized scripts, tips, tricks, or techniques to become a more attractive man when who you are speaks louder than any words you could say.
Happy growing brother. I wish you the best of luck on your journey.