When I was 20 and going through my first breakup, I scoured everywhere for actionable advice I could take in order to make myself better while I was using no-contact.
I didn’t just want to feel better. I wanted to be better.
Yet everywhere I looked it was basically the same generic ideas with no suggestions on how to implement them.
- Don’t do rebounds!
- Learn stuff!
- Don’t isolate yourself
- Be patient
- Set goals or something.
Needless to say that won’t be the case here. While you might hear some of the same ideas here, I’m going to do you one better. I’m going to tell you exactly how to implement them for maximum results.
First though, if you have no idea what no-contact is, I strongly suggest you read this before you continue.
1: Take Care Of Yourself Physically
Taking care of your body is by far the most impactful thing you can do during no-contact. Nothing else even comes close to the ripple effect good physical health has on you.
Guys in my coaching program will tell you that one of the first things I have them do is complete an overall health assessment. It’s that important.
If you don’t believe me:
- Exercise can be as effective as drugs in treating depression.
- Sleep deficiency is linked to mood swings, depression, and impulsive behavior.
- A shitty diet is strongly associated with depression and decreased energy.
- Alcoholism more than doubles your risk of experiencing major depression.
- Boosting testosterone can counter clinical depression.
Yeah. Needless to say, it’s important. But how can you improve it?
Now I’m not a doctor, so I would strongly suggest you consult with yours before embarking upon any of this.
That said, start by getting bloodwork done. Make sure your cholesterol, blood pressure, and testosterone are within normal limits. Once you know you’re safe medically, here’s what you need to do.
- Get on an exercise routine that involves some kind of strength training immediately. For beginners with access to a gym, Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” is a great place to begin. If you don’t have a gym, start with this military-grade bodyweight program. For my more advanced guys, don’t fucking slack just because you’re hurting! Get back after it.
- 8 hours of regular sleep a night is your minimum. For best effect, go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. From now on, your phone and computer are going off an hour before bed so you can maximize your sleep. Read this for more information on effective sleep.
- Stop drinking. Stop masturbating.
- Fix your shitty diet as much as possible. Get MyFitnessPal and start tracking your daily caloric intake. If you’re doing Starting Strength, you should be doing this anyway. Your focus should be on increasing your protein to build muscle and increase alertness. Eat more green veggies and fish. Eat less carbs. It’s that simple. Read this for more information.
- If you can afford it, get a weekly or bi-weekly massage. Getting regular massages can reduce stress and help combat insomnia. Plus it’s also great for keeping your body loose when you’re hitting the weights regularly. If you have an overactive mind, it’ll also calm you the fuck down.
- Don’t neglect your water. Mild dehydration in men has been studied and shown to reduce cognition and increase tension/anxiety, and fatigue. Aim to drink at least 3 liters (101 fl oz) of water a day. If you’re overweight, this can help boost your metabolism and shed pounds as well. Make sure you rehydrate after you work out.
- Get plenty of Vitamin D and Folate, both of which have anti-depressant properties.
2: Journal Often
Throughout history, great men have kept journals. It’s time for you to join them. Journaling is so important I’ve written an entire article about it here.
Here’s the short of it. Journaling has been proven to:
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce stress
- Lead to greater acceptance
- Clarify your thoughts and feelings
- Lead to better problem solving
- Help you identify problem areas in your life
- Act as a concrete record of otherwise intangible emotional growth
Again, I’ve already written about the best way to journal, so go read it.
3: Date New Women (When You’re Ready)
The only way you’re going to get better with women is to spend more time with them. You can read all the shit you want, but you’re going to learn by doing.
Plus, science agrees that the best way to get over your ex-girlfriend is to get someone better. I would advise you to not jump into anything serious right away though.
If you’ve just broken up with your ex-girlfriend, I suggest you give it somewhere between 2-4 weeks before you get back after it. Get your routines in place first. A good indicator of when you’re ready is to pay attention to who you notice around you.
When you start noticing beautiful women again, you’re ready. Here’s what you need to do when you get there.
- Start by reading my guide on dating after a breakup.
- Learn the proper relationship management structure.
- Learn about why the outcome independence from having options is critically important to your happiness as a man.
4: Take Time To Find The Old You
I have to admit, I gagged a little bit while writing this because it’s as generic as you get.
But here’s the thing: chances are you compromised on things you liked to do with your ex-girlfriend. Time to start doing them again – with one caveat.
Anything unhealthy like video games, boozing, and Netflix shouldn’t be reincorporated. Keep those shitty habits in the trash can where they belong.
Think about the things you used to enjoy. When I was together with my first girlfriend, she would get pissed when I worked out all the time. But I loved working out. So what was the first thing I did after we broke up?
For you it might be working on your car, playing the guitar, or just chilling with your buddies.
Whatever it was that you gave up. Find it and start doing it again.
5: Stay Out Of Your Bedroom
The only reason you should be in your bedroom is to sleep. Becoming a shut-in is not going to help you feel better, and it’s not a productive use of your time during no-contact.
I don’t think I need to go too far into this one – as spending too many waking hours in your bedroom is linked with depression.
If it’s possible for you, spend more time outside in nature. Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
The best way I can explain this is in the words a wise gentleman I met in Columbia.
Find a hippie granola chick that likes to hike and be outdoors then bend her over on the top of a mountain. You’ll never feel better.Reflections of a wise traveling man
Here’s how you do it:
- Take everything out of your bedroom except for your bed and your dressers, if applicable.
- No electronics in the bedroom. That includes your phone. Get a manual alarm clock.
- Only go into your bedroom if you’re going to sleep, or you’re going to fuck. No exceptions.
- Keep your bedroom clean! You’ll sleep better when you do.
6: Plan For The Future
This is worthy of an entire post on its own, which I’ll do in the future. For now though, here are the cliff notes.
Take 15 minutes in a quiet room. Chances are, there’s something inside of you that you’ve wanted to do for your entire life. When I was younger, it was opening a profitable online business.
Figure out what that thing is. If you can’t think of just one thing, grab a piece of paper and make a list of 10 things you think you might like to do.
After you’ve made the list, ask yourself why you want to do each bullet on the list. Try to come up with an emotionally compelling reason for each item.
Emotionally compelling means a feeling that you can hold on to no matter what. Something that outshines everything else even when the chips are down.
For example, I desperately wanted to start an online business so I didn’t have to submit to the 9-5 grind when I got out of college.
Once you have your reasons, you’ll probably have between 1-4 that really speaks to you. Of those, pick the one that you think will have the most impact on your life.
Congratulations, you now have a goal. Now you just need a plan.
To get your plan in place, I highly recommend you read this article from Entrepreneur.
7: Stay Engaged With Other People
Spending time around other people makes you feel better. Isolation amplifies your depression.
Plus, who the fuck wants to be alone all the time? You are a social creature.
So get out there.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Go out with your buddies at least once a week. I know this gets harder as you get older, but you should still make it a point to do something together as often as time allows.
- If you don’t have friends or your friends are busy, time to put yourself around new people. I strongly suggest you give Jiu-Jitsu or Muy Thai a shot if you can afford them. Spend enough time rolling with someone and you’re naturally going to develop a bond on and off the mat.
- Volunteer your time. Doing something nice for others makes you feel pretty fucking good. There are plenty of opportunities everywhere. Go to the foodbank. Or Big Brothers Big Sisters. Plus, volunteering gives you perspective and makes it a lot easier to be grateful for the things you have in your life, not sad about the things you don’t.
- Make a habit of talking to strangers. This will feel uncomfortable at first, but if you find yourself standing in line don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone in front of you. I’ve personally met two of my best friends from doing this.
- Talk to the women you’re dating!
- Keep in touch with family. When was the last time you spoke with your grandma? I bet you she’d love to hear from you even if it’s for only 5 minutes.
8: Give Yourself A Break – Good Things Take Time!
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
The changes you see from working on yourself during no-contact will be gradual. You won’t notice them at first, and may not notice them at all until years later with the power of hindsight.
So if I can impress upon you one thing: don’t overthink it. Focus on structuring your day around repeatable actions and don’t worry about how the day to day goes.
Yeah, you’re going to have days that suck. Don’t beat yourself up about them. The long term is what matters, and if you’re keeping to a daily routine, your long term outcome is going to be better than the shitty day you’re having.
There’s no rush for anything. No-contact is not about a 30, 60, or 90 day timeframe. It can take as long as you need it to! You have decades, if not centuries to keep living.
Don’t sweat one little day. Keep on trucking my man. Stay focused on your goals, your health, and your community and you’re going to end up a better man in the end.