It’s a new year and a new start, which means it’s the perfect time to focus on yourself and make some positive changes. One way to do this is to “glow up,” or make improvements to your physical and mental well-being. You can “glow up” in many ways, and a lot of it is bigger than what you see on the outside. A true “glow up” is an inside AND outside job.
Here are some tips on how to glow up this January.
Avoid fad diets at all costs
You are going to see a lot of ads on Tik Tok and similar portals with trendy shakes and specific foods, juices or products that promise “easy” weight loss and amazing results. Apple cider vinegar, ginger, cucumber, lemon, will maybe make you feel good but none of these will “burn fat” or “boost your metabolism.” Also, there are a lot of extremes – like completely avoiding sugar, drinking meal replacement shakes, water fasts, or large amounts of weight loss in an unreasonable amount of time, like a months. I am not a nutritionist, but I have been loving and following shorts and videos from Nutrition by Kylie. She is totally adorable (girl crush alert) and has super short and informative videos on both YouTube and TikTok. Here is one of the best compilation where she introduces herself and goes through some crazy diets on Tik Tok. (@nutrition by Kylie and on the channel below).
I can say from personal experience that every time I have charged into an extreme diet solutions – and I have done a lot of them – they have made me miserable AND backfired. If you want to read about my personal experience, please read about my “ex-diets” here:
Set goals for yourself – but real ones
Note I didn’t say “resolutions.” I said goals. And “lose 15 pounds’ ‘ is a goal you will quickly give up on, because it isn’t SMART. I wrote about SMART goals in this article. But the basic gist is your goal has to be realistic, specific, and on a specific timetable. So being SMART means saying that you will go to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes and eat at least 2 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
And that goal does not have to BE to lose weight. If you have always wanted to learn another language, this could be the year. There are so many apps that easily can give you some practice each day. Or maybe like me, you want to start capturing some of your life experiences in some way, whether it is journaling, blogging, or even creating albums and collages. The goal could also be to learn a new sport or skill, like dance, golf, or even particular skills that could benefit your work, like speedreading (yes, that’s a thing – check out this video here.)
Make taking care of your body your first thing in the morning
When you wake up, mainline water before hitting the coffee. Why? It will instantly dehydrate you even more, and it will also be counterproductive. Cortisol, which is our natural adrenaline-releasing hormone, starts rising when you wake up and it plateaus an hour afterwards. So drinking coffee right away would be like bringing a space heater inside a sauna – it’s totally counterproductive. In the hour when I first wake up, I mix water, lemon and this “Get up and Glow” mix from Vital proteins. It is a blend of collagen peptides, hyaluronic acid, and probiotics, which are all nutrients that may support skin health.
Move your body
This does not mean you have to slog your way through a bootcamp class or run 5 miles, but make it a daily habit to get at least 10 minutes of movement 2 to 3 times throughout the day. This is called NEAT, or Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, which as I have written about here, can be just as effective as regular exercise in keeping you fit and without as much of a time suck. Some examples include walking a pet, cleaning the house, folding laundry, or playing with your kids. Or just bust out a yoga mat while you are bingeing your next show and do some stretches or planks. I like quick series for improving flexibility from Anna McNulty. While watching Emily in Paris! (yes it’s cheesy but can’t we just be not so serious sometimes?!) Go for it – Netflix and plank!
Take care of your skin
A good skincare routine is essential for the literal glow of your skin – no matter what gender you are, good skin health will make a better first impression and make you feel confident. Make sure you cleanse, tone, and moisturize your face every day, and exfoliate once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Here are some of my personal favorite products that I use – and as proof that I am not wasting my money, I don’t even wear foundation.
- Glo skincare – AHA resurfacing facewash
- Ursa Major Skincare Toner and Face Balm
- Coola SPF 30 Dew Good Illuminating serum SPF 30
This is the best time to invest in skincare because they are crazy sales all over, and ready to wear skincare kits on sites like Blue Mercury, Sephora and Ulta Beauty which both are having 50 percent off skincare sales for a limited time! You generally want to go by the rule of 3 – have a good cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, preferably with built-in SPF (the SPF in your makeup is helpful but you really need that added layer and yes you do need to wear it even if you are not on the beach). For added benefits, use a serum that contains Vitamin C, Hyraulonic acid, or if you have dark spot or pigmentation, brightening properties. It gives you a glow even before you put anything else on!
Also, your skin does not stop at your chin. Apply all products to the neck and decollete and consider investing in a separate cream for that area, like Clarins Super Restorative Decollete And Neck Concentrate. A good anti-aging hand cream is a must as well, and my favorite brand of that is from Moroccan oil. Besides your face, you should be exfoliating your body as well. Dry brushing is a great option to firm and stimulate blood circulation, and Goop! Has a great brush.
Take care of your mental health
Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health. Make time for activities that help you relax and destress, such as meditation, yoga, journaling or reading. I have blogged about meditation and have a playlist of positive affirmations you can access for free on my YouTube channel:
I like to do at least one of these activities in the morning so I have that “me” time that gets me ready for the rest of the day. I feel far more calm and much less reactive when I do at least one of these things. If you are religious, prayer can be a great add-on to any of these. I like to combine reading with thoughtful prayer by reading a short passage from Emmet Fox’s around the year. For example, here is a recent one I read this morning:
“No matter how unattractive or how dangerous the road ahead may be, it is better than the road back. The road ahead may be veiled from sight—but you must teach yourself to regard the unknown as friendly. Remember that God is always on the road ahead. … cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee (Psalm 143:8).”Emmert Fox, Around the Year
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t stew in it. Call a friend or a trusted colleague. I always ALWAYS feel better after talking it out. Or just send a message to someone you care about. My extended family has a What’s App group and we send silly pictures, funny jokes, and other updates and it is really fun to know that I am staying close to my cousins and people who actually care about me.
Be confident, even if you have to fake it until you make it
Confidence is key to a glow up. It is easier said than done, but one thing that has really helped me is listening to positive affirmations or having constant reminders. I really like the “I am” app which you can program as a widget to give you positive and uplifting “I am” affirmations. This is also timely for the current “lucky girl syndrome” trend which has manifested on social media, but the ideas it has are not new – manifesting positivity or “luck” has been the stuff of modern uplifting literature for a long time. Here are some examples of “lucky” or “I am” affirmations:
- “I’m on a winning streak”
- “The universe has my back.”
- “This is for my higher good.”
- “I am whole and enough.”
- “I deserve my dreams simply because I exist.”
For audio or visual, I like the affirmations by the Power Thoughts Meditation Club, which is one of the meditations on the playlist I provided above. . One of my favorites from this series is their unstoppable energy and physical abundance, which will help you with your physical fitness goals:
Confidence is not just about your own persona. Surround yourself with positive people who support and encourage you, and don’t be afraid to try new things or take risks. Even if you do not think of yourself as a confident person, take the actions that a confident person would do – stand up straight, with your chest proud, in a power pose with your hands on your hips (think like superman or wonder woman). This will instantly put you in a better mood. Sometimes feelings follow actions, not the other way around, and this especially applies to confidence.
Remember, a glow up is about making positive changes for yourself, not about changing who you are. Embrace your uniqueness and focus on becoming the best version of yourself. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to glowing up this January and beyond.