Where do you begin?
I want to become an Integrated Man. Where do I begin? My life was a mess. Getting a divorce, in a relationship, three kids with numerous activities and very different personalities, and that other thing called my job. It was all too easy to keep my head in the sand and not focus on myself. Just keep doing everything that needs to be done. Keep busy and all the troubles in life will go away…or do they?
Beginning is always the toughest part but it is the most necessary if you want to become not just an Integrated Man but also a better person. Here is how I started to recover, improve and start moving towards my integrated man goal. First things first, make a list of goals. Where do you want to be? Where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish? It helped me to create top level categories like the following:
- Self Growth
When you make your list, you can pop them into the appropriate category, or even create a new one if you feel it belongs somewhere different. What I did next was create sub-categories within my main level list like the following:
- Eat better
- Exercise more
- Extended Family
- Self Growth
- Exploring Life
- My growth as a man
- Current job
- Outside interests
The list of goals is getting better….but it really isn’t telling me much at this point. This is where the effort really takes place. What do you actually want to accomplish? And in addition, when do you want to accomplish it by? You have to have due dates. Otherwise things just keep getting pushed out forever. For the next part, I’m going to just focus on my “Self Growth” category:
- Self Growth
- Exploring life – You need to experience life. There is so much out there besides TV.
- Look into Guitar lessons in May/June – What guy doesn’t want to play??
- Schedule alone trips by April 1st. – These could be a few hours to days/weeks long. You need to explore yourself and learn how to be alone. As men, we hate being alone. That’s why so many of us jump into a new relationship right away. However, learning that being alone is not going to kill us will help us grow stronger and to become so much better and healthier.
- Take a bookkeeping class online by 9/1. – I’m horrible with finances….
- My growth as a man – What steps do I need to take to become a healthier man?
- Continue No More Mr. Nice Guy (NMMNG) activities. Complete them all by 12/1. – Great book and it has a bunch of activities to follow for self improvement.
- Take the NMMNG weekend workshop in MX. Booked for 3/6. – I should have left for Mexico today but my flight was cancelled due to a winter storm. I’m leaving tomorrow so I am taking advantage of this unexpected delay to write this article.
- Join a Men Only support group by 1/15. I’ve joined two different groups that meet every Wednesday night. Great bunch of guys. It’s a good thing to be with your fellow men so that you can learn and share about life. It’s also a good place to make some new friends, especially if you were like me and gave them all up for your wife and family.
Now that the list is generated. You should have specific tasks that must be done and the dates you need to complete them by. Now here is the important part. Get into the habit of looking at the list every 2-3 days. The old saying of “Out of sight, out of mind” is so true. The other important thing to remember, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed when you look at the full list. Check out the due dates. Pick the most recent due date and do that task. We have a tendency to look at a long list of tasks and end up not doing anything because we don’t know where to begin. The due dates help by keeping our focus on what to do next.
I hope this helps you on your road to recovery.The first step is the most important, but it helps to have a road map to follow. Take a few days and create your own. Then take the first task due and start working it. In no time you will be much further ahead than you would think. Just keeping moving forward!