Being the best version of yourself is something that takes consistency, thought and dedication, but doing it in a city like Chicago makes it a little easier. There are many people and places here to help me get to better, and I’m excited to have this platform to share with you.
First and foremost, it starts with building the right “crew” to surround yourself. Find your support system. Find people that share an interest in what you want to achieve in 2020, and have a regular conversation. Meet new people, new friends, and watch yourself become a better person through the motivation of others! It’s amazing what happens when you have people around you telling you that you can do anything.
Here’s what I’m focused on moving into 2020…
Fashion & Style
Since I’m a designer and stylist, I’m starting with that. What you wear says a lot about yourself and how you’re feeling, your self-respect and respect for others. Midwesterners aren’t known for their style, but what I find is that guys here do care about how they look, they just don’t always know how to dress their best, and it’s my passion and job to help.
Work with a stylist to help you achieve the look that you want to portray to the world, so you can impress your crush or earn respect at the office and get that next promotion. Just because you work at a tech company, doesn’t mean you should dress in sweats every day. You will feel better and more confident if you have a great pair of jeans (that actually fit!) and at least a couple of nice shirts.
I’ll repeat: I am a clothing designer AND a stylist. This is an important distinction. Most clothiers do not truly understand overall style, and they don’t understand how to integrate custom clothes into the entirety of your wardrobe. Look for someone that knows styling!
Obviously, I recommend myself for anything menswear i.e., suits, tuxes, jackets, topcoats, shirts, trousers, belts, etc. I also design pretty badass shoes. Visit gps.style to learn more, visit @gpsstyle on Instagram for inspiration, or email me directly at email@example.com.
When I’m not wearing my own clothing, I usually am rocking FRAME denim and outerwear or an ALLSAINTS leather jacket. Rag & Bone is also a go-to brand for me. But that’s just me, find your style, store and stylist that’ll help bring your personality out through clothing and accessories.
You cannot be your best self without feeling great physically and mentally. For me, feeling better mentally is largely impacted by how I’m doing physically. For years, I had no problem staying the same weight and body fat. Then, life changed, I started my businesses, found less time to take care of myself physically, got married, and I needed help.
Luckily, I met Brent Locey this year, and you should meet him in 2020 if you’re looking to be healthier. Follow him on Instagram (@blocey7). Where to start on Brent? He’s well-known throughout Chicago fitness classes as a Master Instructor at SoulCycle, a Lululemon Ambassador, NASM certified, a HiFi Fitness Instructor, and a certified Nutrition Coach with Precision Nutrition. Most importantly, what I’ve learned about Brent through spending time with him, is that he truly cares about everyone that he works with. You’re not just a client, you’re a friend and an important part of his “Build It Nation”. Friends, yes, but take one of his classes and he’ll kick your ass. And in 2020, Brent is calling for the “Year of the Pullup” so get ready for that.
He believes fitness continues to become more focused on community, and the community he’s building around fitness and nutrition is what makes him unique and better than other people I’ve worked with. He wants you to feel encouraged, have fun, socialize with others. He takes individual workout strategies and applies them to group classes, so that each person can work at their pace and get the most out of it.
If you’re ready to change your habits and really create a better you, do what I did and join Precision Nutrition with Brent as your coach. No matter your motivation, whether you want to drop weight, gain muscle, feel healthier, whatever it is, you focus on creating new and healthier habits each day, for two weeks at a time. It’s not about restricting your food intake and never eating everything delicious ever again (I call that being joyful). I started my journey in December, and I already feel better because I started something. I committed to something that makes me better, each day. You can do the same, just sign up and you’ll see how quickly Brent can help you.
Also, to get in shape for my wedding back in July, I joined the CrossFit community and loved it. I was one of those guys that thought it was just hyped up and a chance to get hurt, but I tried it out and was so wrong. The workouts are great, and if you don’t push yourself to stupid limits, you won’t get hurt. Don’t get me wrong, I saw some idiots in my time there, and they got hurt. Simple lesson, don’t be an idiot, just listen to the coaches. I gave the Lincoln Park CrossFit a chance, and I highly recommend you doing the same if you want an amazing workout, lifestyle and community. See you there.
Guys sure don’t take their grooming serious enough. To me, my skincare and grooming routine is so important. It’s time I give to myself to feel cleaner and better. I think guys need to try it out a little more and they’ll see how relaxing and beneficial it is.
I’m at my best when I’m visiting The Gent’s Place (175 W. Jackson) regularly. More than a barbershop, they offer one of the most unique service menus in the grooming industry. It’s like a modern spa or club that provides a venue for ambitious gentlemen to come together, network over a top-shelf drink and get empowered with confidence to take on their next great achievement—whatever that may be for them.
They have everything from haircuts and styles to straight razor shaves, beard trims, head shaves, mustache grooming, hand and foot repair treatments, and shoe shines. They also offer monthly and annual memberships, so you get extra perks and save on the cost of services, too.
To me, going into a business is largely about the people and how they make you feel. Their owner, Peter Terracina, is a great guy and business owner that will always make you feel welcomed, and the entire team of stylists and concierges are people you want to see again.
Skincare helps you look younger and feel your best. This is a must. It’s not difficult, just take five minutes in the morning and night. You’ll get used to it pretty quickly, especially as compliments start to roll in on how young your skin looks.
Products I’m using:
Senegence 3-in-1 Face Wash – great daily wash for morning and night. A general tip for cleansing, don’t scrub your face too hard, just wash with gentle, upward and outward circular motions.
Arcona Cranberry Toner – sure, it’s Pink and it looks a little girly, but your skin will enjoy it and it makes my face feel great.
Senegence Climate Control – lightweight wrinkle protection used after toner, before moisturizer. This stuff is my favorite.
R+F A.M. and P.M. Moisturizer – lightweight, non-oily and with SPF, these are the perfect finishing touch.
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment – maybe doesn’t sound the best, but it’s quite nice.
I’m a sucker for a good spa treatment, so I’m always on the hunt for gems to make me feel my best.
I know Cryotherapy and Float treatments were hot in 2019, and I even gave them a try myself at Freeze & Float spa (371 W Ontario). Love this place. You can Cryo, Float or Infrared Sauna here. What was most surprising was how much I loved the Infrared Sauna. I feel like I got an amazing sweat on, while being in my own little room, without the struggles of dried-out breathing in a regular sauna. I walked away from that first treatment wanting to go back as soon as possible, and bought a 10-pack shortly thereafter.
Social + Business
While joining a private social club can be costly, 2019 was a year of investing in myself and my businesses. I chose to join the Union League Club of Chicago in 2019, and it was one of the best decisions I made for myself personally and professionally. From arts and cultural activities to professional and social networking to wine tastings and high-profile guest speakers, the ULCC offers a dynamic combination of private club amenities, world-class cultural events and opportunities for making meaningful connections, all with a greater sense of purpose through commitment to community and country.
The number of people I have met that have become friends, and also that had a direct impact on my business is surprisingly high. There are numerous groups and programs available regularly for entertainment and personal growth.
If you’ve made it this far, and you try any of these things I’ve mentioned, I can guarantee you’ll feel like a little bit better version of yourself. At the end of the day, take care of yourself, give yourself a few minutes of each day and week to relax and be you. Take time to cherish what’s important to you, and you’ll be living your best life. That, for me, is everything I mentioned and sitting on the couch with my wife, Corey, and adorable chocolate mini Poodle, Paddington.