30 Days to a Better Man eBook by Brett McKay - Read Online
30 Days to a Better Man eBook
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The Art of Manliness 30 Days to a Better Man provides a day-by-day action plan to help you become a better man in some small measure in just 30 Days. Action items include:

- Figuring out your core values
- Increasing your testosterone
- Creating a budget
- Improve your posture
- Conquer a Fear
-Take a Woman on Date
- Learn a Manual Skill
- And much more!

Take action today to become a better man with the Art of Manliness!
Published: BookBaby on
ISBN: 9780989190312
List price: $6.99
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Define Your Core Values

When I look at photos of men from my grandfather’s and even my dad’s generation, I can see a sense of purpose in the eyes of those men. Yet when I look at men today, I often don’t sense that kind of steely focus. Instead, I see dudes who are just sort of drifting along whichever way life pulls them.

I’ve heard a lot of men my age complain of a sense of shiftlessness. They don’t have the drive, purpose, and ambition that our forbearers had, and they feel adrift.

And this isn’t some sort of cranky old man observation about kids these days. Several books and articles by sociologists back up these observations.

There are numerous factors why men are just sort of drifting by today. Changes in the economy and societal shifts in regards to gender are definitely two major factors. But, let’s be honest. There’s not much a man, let alone a man stuck in neutral, can do about these things. So, today we’re going to focus on something that we all have the power to control: our core values.

The Importance of Clearly Defining Your Core Values


When you don’t know or you haven’t clearly defined your values, you end up drifting along in life. Instead of basing your decisions on an internal compass, you make choices based on circumstances and social pressures. You end up trying to fulfill other people’s expectations instead of your own. And before you know it, life has passed you by and you haven’t even started to live. Trying to be someone else and living without core values is exhausting and leaves you feeling empty and shiftless. Conversely, living a life in line with your core values brings purpose, direction, happiness, and wholeness.


Perhaps you have a vague idea about what you value. But if you haven’t clearly defined your values, you can end up making choices that conflict with them. And when your actions conflict with your values, the result is unhappiness and frustration.


I’ve noticed that when I take the time to really think and meditate upon what I value as a man and then write those things down, I’m more likely to have the courage and confidence to make choices based on those values. There’s something about actually writing down your values that makes you more committed to living them.


When you’re sure of your core values, making decisions becomes much simpler. When faced with a choice, you simply ask yourself, Does this action align with my values? If it does, you do it. If it doesn’t, you don’t. Instead of fretting over what’s the best thing do to, and standing shilly-shally in times of crisis, you simply let your internal compass guide you.

How to Discover Your Values

Your task for Day 1 of our 30 Days to a Better Man project is to discover, clearly define, and write down your core values. Before we begin, let’s be clear that we’re not trying to define goals here. Goals are specific actions, like becoming financially independent by age 30 or asking my girlfriend to marry me this June. What we are looking for are values: the ideas that you esteem to be of great worth and that give structure to your life.

Get nice and relaxed. Go to a quiet room and sit in a big comfy chair (maybe even sit in your closet; something about small spaces helps you think), grab the fishing pole and spend an hour or two casting your line into the fishing hole, or take a walk on a nature trail or around your neighborhood. Just do whatever works for you.

Have the proper tools. Have a pen and paper handy so you can write down your values as they come to you. I don’t recommend using a computer to do this as it’s pretty easy to get distracted from the task at hand. Write on something you won’t accidentally throw away and that will last for many years to come.

Ask yourself this question: What’s truly important to me as man? Once you’re nice and relaxed, simply ask yourself what’s truly important to you. Think about those moments in your life when you felt completely whole and fulfilled as a man. Think about the times when you’ve been the happiest. If nothing comes to you at first, don’t worry. Just keep thinking.

Write down whatever comes to you. When you have a moment of insight about what’s important to you, write it down. Don’t self-censor yourself. Be completely honest during this process. No one else is going to see this, so don’t list the values that you think should be on your list. If it comes to you, write it. You’ll be able to go back and edit the list in the next step. For now, just do a total brain dump. (Also, don’t worry about prioritizing them yet. We’ll do that later. Our goal right now is to just get down whatever comes to you.)

If you have more than five values, eliminate some. Think hard about what you truly value in life. Put a star by the values you’re sure about. Then take the ones that you feel are important, but aren’t sure if they’re top 5 material, and put them in pairs. Think about two of those values side by side, and ask yourself which of the two is more important. Then eliminate the other. Keep pitting the survivors against each other until you’re down to 5. If some of the values you listed are just two words describing the same idea, combine them.

Prioritize. Once you whittle your list to five core values, prioritize them in order from most important to least important. Ideally, your core values complement each other, but there might be times when two or more conflict. When that happens, which value will trump? If you know this before that choice presents itself, you’ll know how to proceed. And even if your values conflict in the future, look for creative ways to combine them. For example, family might be your top priority, but so is volunteering. When you have the choice of spending time with your kids or signing up to help at a charity event, do both by bringing the kiddos along with you.

If you’re having trouble getting started, I’ve provided a list of values that you might consider. The list isn’t exhaustive; there are literally hundreds of values you could have.










Financial Security


















Peace of mind












Today’s Task:Define Your Core Values

Your task for Day 1 is to discover, clearly define, and write down your core values.


Write your core values in the space provided below and revisit them now and then to remind yourself what’s truly important to you:







Shine Your Shoes

There’s a lot of sage wisdom to be found in the film The Shawshank Redemption. But there is one detail the movie got wrong: people do notice your shoes (especially women). And while it’s true that people don’t spend an awful lot of time staring at your shoes, you’d be surprised at how often you look at your own feet. And when you look down and can practically see your reflection in your shoes, it gives you a sense of satisfaction, a boost in you confidence, and some added pep in your step. Too many men put on a nice pair of dress pants and a freshly pressed shirt, but then ruin the whole get-up with scuffed shoes. A pair of glassy, shined shoes will pull your whole appearance together.

So your task today is to shine your shoes. Get out every pair of dress shoes that you own and get them all into ship-shape condition. You never know when you’re going to need to don a pair, and the last thing you want to do is be ready to run at the door to an important meeting and realize that your shoes are in no condition to meet the public. Having a closet full of shined shoes ensures that you are ready for any occasion, at the drop of a hat. Plus, shining your shoes is the kind of quiet, repetitive activity that will calm your mind and soothe your stress.

To get started on today’s task, check out our post on How to Shine Your Shoes Like a Soldier. We also have an illustrated guide and a video tutorial to help guide you along. You don’t need a fancy shoe shining kit to do this. Just a few cans of Kiwi shoe polish and a couple of rags can get the job done. You can find shoe polish at most drug and grocery stores for a couple of bucks a can.

After you’re all set up, read these additional shoe shining tips we gleaned from that original post’s numerous comments:

Rubbing alcohol is a good polish stripper, which should be done every so often, particularly if the boots haven’t been shined in a long time (dirt gets embedded into the polish). (From Eric B.)

Those little pantyhose-like foot covers they have at shoe stores? Grab a handful of those and stretch one taut and buff with a sawing motion as fast as you can for a few minutes. The friction and pressure combine to make a little heat that really brings the shine out. I never used anything more than an old pair of socks cut up into rags, a can of Kiwi, and some old pantyhose, and I rarely find shinier shoes. (From Charlie)

Shine your boots to the usual black glass look, and then put a coat of Blue Lincoln wax on and buff. The blue wax will make your boots glow. (From Ron Waters)

I used cotton wool balls for ages until I discovered make-up removal pads (the little flat round ones). You can wrap them around your finger for much better control, they stand less chance of scratching the polish with a fingernail, and they don’t leave little bits of cotton behind if you’re a little careless. (From Tom)

Today’s Task:Shine Your Shoes

Nothing too difficult here. Bust out your shoe shine kit and start brushing!


Find A Mentor

A few years ago we wrote about the importance of a mentor in a man’s life. Figuring out what it means to be a man can be tough. And it’s arguably tougher for men today, who are often more socially isolated, don’t have as many friends, and don’t have strong relationships with their fathers and other male relatives. It’s therefore more important than ever for every man to seek out mentors to help him navigate the complicated waters of manliness and life.

Mentors have the experience and wisdom to give us sound guidance, direction, and advice. Mentors can also help us expand our point of view on a particular area of our life. Moreover, a mentor can become a good friend and confidant during times when we struggle and falter.

So having a mentor is quite important. The tricky part is, how do you find one? Here’s a suggested road map.

How to Find a