By Vanessa Sidwell
Happy New Year! With the holidays winding down and everyone making their Instagram captions “New Year, New Me”, we’re here with 5 ways you can genuinely feel like your most flawless self in 2017!
#1: Motivate Yourself with Win-Win Scenarios
Planning to start fresh in the new year can be daunting, but setting new goals doesn’t have to be a win-lose scenario. A great way to stay on track for more than a couple weeks is to motivate yourself through a win-win scenario. The first step is to choose a charity or organization that supports a cause that is meaningful to you. Next, budget to give a small but significant amount of money to a friend or family member you trust, with the promise that they will keep it safe until a date of your choosing. If you reach your goal by the set date, they will give the money back to you and you can treat yourself to something fun! If not, the money will be donated to your charity. Whether your reach your lofty goal or fall a bit short - someone is benefitting!
#2: Mix Tasks You’re Dreading with Guilty Pleasures
The new year marks the end of the holiday season, and a reinstatement of all sorts of responsibilities. The first couple of weeks back to work or school might feel like such a drag on it’s own that it can be hard to add in new resolutions on top of an already demanding schedule and a growing to-do list.
Personally, my 8:30am Monday morning real estate law class can put me in a bad mood all day Sunday. So instead of starting the week on a sour note or skipping the class altogether, I've paired the negative task with a guilty pleasure. I get up 10 minutes earlier so I can get to Starbucks and get an iced coffee for my drive to school - even if it's below freezing or the middle of a snowstorm. Looking forward to that weekly iced coffee makes waking up before sunrise on a Monday morning manageable.
This trick could work for a number of classic resolutions! Want to stick to your diet, even on the weekends? Make a healthy dinner for you and some friends every Sunday night before Keeping Up with the Kardashians starts. Dreading getting back to the gym? Download a podcast and promise yourself you'll only listen to it while working out. Mixing the good and the bad helps to minimize both the guilt and the dread!
#3: Make Time for Timeouts
After a season filled with family and friends, it’s important to reset by spending quality time with yourself! True QT with yourself is free of distractions from music, TV, or social media. Being on the phone while running errands or listening to music while driving can lead to a day of constant stimulation. Initiating timeouts free of background noise allows you to check in with yourself and can lead to some great ideas!
My favourite way to unwind by myself is to put on one of our face masks, close my eyes, and listen to a 15 minute guided meditation on my phone (OK - this is kind of background noise but I’m trying!). Another way is to develop a nightly bedtime routine that you do from start to finish without checking your phone. For me, I always need to shower before I get in bed. Then I light a candle, apply our PM serum, moisturize my face, hands, and body, and write out my to-do list for the next day. Of course I still scroll through Instragram once I get in bed, but at least my mind is a bit calmer!
Working towards spending more time alone can really help to sort out your thoughts and increase confidence. One of my best friends has become so comfortable with herself that she often goes out for dinners alone at busy New York restaurants while she is there for school in the summer. Maybe one day I will reach that confidence level - but for people starting out like me, I recommend turning off your music or podcast and trying your evening commute in silence!
#4: Embrace Your Own Version of Flawless
If 2016 was the year of discovering, or “like, realizing stuff” if you’re Kylie Jenner, then 2017 calls for embracing your newfound understanding! With so much New Years focus on what people want to change about themselves, why not embrace what you already love? Do you love wearing black, but worry that it’s becoming less of a fashion statement and more of a uniform? Keep black clothes and ditch the worry! If a classic cat eye and red lip combo makes you feel like all eyes are on you - wear it everyday and make it your signature look! Minimalism is becoming a huge trend for 2017, but it doesn’t need to be boring. One of my favourite regulars at the nail salon I frequent gets a different colour manicure every week and then matches her clothes and makeup to a tee. While a rainbow of looks might not be what makes me feel the best - she rocks it with her confidence and totally makes it work. Finding what works for you and sticking to it will make you feel flawless!
#5: Prioritize - Make this Year a YES! Year
Finally, make 2017 flawless by prioritizing your “free-time” commitments to focus on things that make YOU healthy and happy. In order to differentiate between aspects of your life you live with and aspects of your life you love, ask yourself if you would say YES! (including that exclamation mark) if someone asked you to recommit. This task is difficult - as it requires looking into habits you may have had for years and breaking routines.
It might be time to say goodbye to monthly coffee dates with a friend who leaves you feeling low or an extracurricular that leaves little time for school work. Learning to let go from certain commitments or say no to new ones shouldn’t be seen as quitting or selfish, but paring down to focus on what you truly love. Focusing on your true passions whenever possible will increase the quality of your work and the satisfaction you feel will be contagious for those around you!