With the end of one year and the beginning of the next, resolutions, promises and goals are often made and promptly broken. This year, however, it’s time to wave goodbye to 2008 and welcome 2009, along with the new you. Embrace this chance to start afresh with actions that you want to resolve rather than break. Forget about listing what you have to “give up” or “lose” and instead focus on the positive things you can do to ensure your mind, body and soul are at one. Our list of 10 things to do that will help you become a new you are aimed as much towards your inner self as they are towards your appearance. Bring both into harmony and you’ll not only feel beautiful, you’ll look it, too.
SET POSITIVE GOALS
Setting goals is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future and for motivating yourself to turn this vision into reality. Belinda Cordina, managing director of Brave Coaching and Consulting, suggests the following steps to setting and maintaining goals:
1 When it comes to things such as weight loss or breaking negative habits it’s always more effective to set your goals in terms of what you want to achieve rather than what you want to lose or stop doing. Word these goals in a positive way and in the present tense. For example, “It’s March 30. I weigh 60kg and I look fantastic” rather than “By March 30 I want to lose 10kg.”
2 Writing down your goals increases the probability of achieving them. Chart your progress towards a goal by regularly jotting down a percentage figure that indicates how close you currently feel to achieving that goal. Then ask yourself what it is you need to do in order to further increase that percentage.
3 Set realistic goals. If you constantly set goals that you don’t achieve, scale them back just a little. It’s also important that you believe you can reach your goals.
FIND YOUR INNER BEAUTY
While emphasis, time and money is often put on our appearance, we tend to neglect what’s on the inside. The saying, “True beauty comes from within”, suggests that if we are truly happy and love ourselves, this will be reflected on the outside. Deborah Howard, integrative psychotherapist and chief director of the Changing Room, says that to find your inner beauty you need to reflect on how you’re feeling in the present moment and question what energy that feeling is giving out; whether it’s positive or negative.
Howard suggests thinking about what makes you happy, what you love about life and what you’d like to be experiencing more of: you should be filling your life with these things now, not tomorrow or the day after. “It’s actually true what they say, that life is for the living and there’s no time like the present,” says Howard. By simply changing your outlook and the way you see yourself you can actually change your reality, life and, importantly, how beautiful you look and feel.
Being active and eating well is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. By keeping active you will remain a healthy weight, have more energy, reduce the risk of illness and improve your mood as well as enhancing your self-esteem. Find a way to get moving that suits your needs and lifestyle. Going for a swim, walk or bike ride, or even joining an exercise or dance class, are good ways to get active. Gardening, grocery shopping and walking up stairs can even make a difference.
Whatever exercise you choose to do, try to do it regularly and complement it with a nutritious, healthy diet. Angus Allen, chef and founder of Naked Organics, recommends eating plenty of fruit, vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, legumes and grains. Eat more fish and poultry than you do red meat and drink plenty of water.
Allen suggests investing in a juicer to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables. “Start small by introducing these nutritious foods into your diet bit by bit,” says Allen. “You’ll soon find you won’t want to go back to your bad eating habits. Two other important factors are to try new things for variety and to control your portions.” The usual suspects should be avoided, such as fast and processed foods, refined carbohydrates, soft drinks and other high-sugar drinks.
OVERHAUL YOUR WARDROBE
Overhauling your wardrobe is not only a therapeutic exercise, it also gives you the chance to move forward in developing your own fashion style while clearing out the clutter. Ingrid Vink, personal shopper and fashion stylist, says your wardrobe should be individual to you, retaining the essence of who you are and what suits you. Be ruthless when clearing out your wardrobe and donate clothes that don’t fit or suit you to charity or friends. When buying new clothes, spend more money on the areas of your body that you are not so fond of as these areas will benefit from quality fabric and a well-tailored cut.
FIND YOUR COLOURS
According to Jillian Grant, Image and Colour Professional of Envision, when you’re wearing colours that are in harmony with the undertone of your skin and the colour of your eyes and hair, you look more vibrant. The first step in finding colours that suit you is to establish whether your skin has a warm (yellow-based) undertone or a cool (blue-based) undertone.
The undertone of your skin then determines what colours you can wear, according to Grant’s four-colour “seasons”. People with a warm undertone can wear colours from the Spring or Autumn seasons, while those with a cool undertone can wear either Winter or Summer colours.
While most people fall into a dominant season category, some people can borrow a few colours from other seasons depending on the depth and clarity of that colour. For example, while most people can wear red, they can’t usually wear all shades of red. People who fall into the Summer season should wear a soft, watermelon red; Winters look best in true red; Springs are best sticking with a bright orange-red; and those in the Autumn season suit dark tomato-red.
Summer colours tend to be soft and cool with muted blue undertones. Examples include off-white, pastel- and rose-pinks, rose-beige, lavender, mauve, soft fuchsia and pale lemon.
Winter colours are clear, icy or vivid with blue undertones. Examples include pure white, icy grey, black, navy, deep hot pink, bright burgundy and royal purple.
Spring colours are delicate, clear or bright with yellow undertones. Examples include camel, apricot, peachy pinks, lime green, buttercup yellow, coral, turquoise and ivory.
Autumn colours are earthy and muted with golden yellow undertones. Examples include olive green, burnt orange, mustard yellow, oyster white, warm grey, terracotta, tan and bronze.
Take time out from your busy schedule to treat yourself to some well-deserved pampering.
Set aside time each week to escape reality and slip into indulgence mode by beautifying your body with at-home treatments.
Take a warm bath with essential oils (try lavender, chamomile or ylang-ylang), apply a facial masque or peel, give yourself a pedicure and manicure, and apply a body scrub, eye soother or any other product that will help restore relaxation. For the ultimate indulgence, skip the home session and head straight to a spa to have someone do the work for you.
There are plenty of reasons why you should make an effort to smile more in 2009. Smiling makes you more attractive to others, enhances your mood, relieves stress, makes you look younger and helps you stay positive. As the late Mother Teresa said, “Peace begins with a smile.”
Brush up on your dental hygiene, ensuring you keep your teeth pearly white by cleaning them twice a day, flossing and visiting a dentist regularly.
Cosmetic and laser dentistry, which is on the rise, aims to improve the aesthetics of your smile. This can be as basic as cleaning and whitening your teeth or as complicated as rebuilding your teeth and gums with porcelain restorations, laser surgery, gum lifts and implants.
Dr Hisham Abdalla, founder and CEO of Laser Lifecare Institute, says, “Research on human behaviour has shown repeatedly that the first two things people notice about you are your eyes and your smile, so it is no wonder that smile makeovers are becoming so popular, giving people a boost of confidence.”
CHANGE YOUR NEGATIVE BELIEFS
A great way to welcome the New Year is by putting your negative thoughts in the past and concentrating on the positive aspects of your present life.
Kinesiology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) are two ways to help detect the mental or emotional blockage that is stopping you from leading a completely fulfilled life.
Kinesiology uses acupressure and touch to detect imbalances in the body and mind. It can help improve postural balance, reduce physical, emotional or mental pain and tension, and prevent and treat illnesses.
NLP is a method that can help improve your personal performance. “It’s about being your best more often, changing the way you think, feel and learn,” says John Docherty, kinesiology practitioner, personal trainer and NLP master.
Another effective way to stay positive is to play the “gratification game” by writing down all that you’re grateful for. If you write down 10 things in your life that you’re grateful for every day, positive thinking will soon be ingrained in your psyche, which will lead to more happiness in your life.