Reflect, Nourish and Plan

If you’re considering a new year’s resolution I would urge you to stop immediately.

This may be the beginning of a new calendar year but a quick glance out of the window reminds us that we’re bang in the middle of a cold winter, so why try to start something new when nature has no intention of doing anything different for a few months yet? This may not be a natural time to begin something afresh, but a closer look at nature teaches us that it is a time to nurture and prepare. Just as a successful business venture relies on meticulous planning so the successful birth of new animals and plants depends on nurturing foetuses or roots in these cold winter months.

As a style coach I always encourage my clients to reflect on what they have previously achieved before focussing on how their style will now develop. The beginning of a year is a natural time to look back and consider how you’ve developed in the past year. It may simply be an evening class that you’ve taken or a new sport that you enjoy. Or you may have experienced a major life change such as the way that you’ve coped with a job loss or the promotion to a senior position.

Take this opportunity to reflect on how you have coped with difficulties or enjoyed celebrations and how these have affected who you have become. Many of us can be so busy considering our professional and domestic obligations that we feel spending time thinking of our own development is self-indulgent, time that we simply cannot afford. However, I would suggest that January is nature’s gift of time to you. An opportunity to consider the new knowledge and skills you have gained and whether your clothes acknowledge those changes. Have you acquired the clothes that will convey your unique character and skillset within seconds of walking into an interview room or reflect your more senior position within your promoted role at work? It may be that at the beginning of 2010 you were the parent of a pre-school child and now you’re the parent of school child, with little need for clothes suitable for crawling round the floor. Our lives are constantly developing and progressing, do our clothes reflect this?

The New Year can be used as a time of reflection but it’s also a time to plan and prepare.

January can often seem like the longest month in the year. A time when we have less money and energy, we’re less likely to exercise outside, less likely to go out and enjoy the company of friends – a month that stretches on forever. I’ve previously been tempted simply to hibernate in the cold months of January and February, assuming that I was imitating nature, but I now think that I was mistaken to believe that nature doesn’t work at this time of year, it’s just all happening underground! Yes try to give yourself more opportunity to sleep in January and February, it’s true that we’re only given a certain number of daylight hours and electricity has foiled us into being active for far longer than we should be in winter months. But use your spare moments in January to plan for your year ahead. I’m a sucker for new notebooks so consider splashing out on a good notebook that you’ll enjoy writing in and start planning for all aspects of your appearance.

For instance you may plan to begin a more structured fitness regime in 2011, so allocate an area in your notebook that will be concerned with physical activity. If you plan to be running for 40 minutes, three days a week in March start your plan now of how you’ll achieve this. You may start with two 30 minute stints at the gym in January but plan ahead on how these runs will progress to longer and more frequent by the beginning of the spring.

You may not plan to make many changes in your skincare regime but it’s still worth considering how you will maintain your skincare and not neglect it in the winter months. January is a time of nourishment. While maintenance treatments of pedicures and manicures are essential in summer months consider treatments such as facials and massages in January and February and plan when you will have those treatments – book them immediately.

When planning your wardrobe development for the year ahead consider what you are planning to achieve in 2011 and how your clothes will be part of these changes. If you want to gain promotion then consider what clothes your wardrobe will need to convey your ability to do the job well? Or perhaps you’re considering doing business in a slightly different way – looking to focus marketing your company to a certain market. Will the clothes that you wear appeal to this new market or do you need to plan the development of a different kind of wardrobe?

Plan what garments you will purchase first with a view to having at least one complete outfit by the beginning of March.

Nature is preparing for what lies ahead, for those fantastic Spring days when the sky is bright blue and daffodils provide a fresh yellow to the tired landscape. The New Year can be an exciting prospect for each of us if we plan what we want to achieve in the first few months, with a view to the whole year ahead. I sincerely believe that January can be a gift to each of us to reflect on what we’ve learned and gained, nourish what we currently have and plan for what we want to achieve. Our appearance is synonymous with who we are, it must be developed alongside our own personal development, so don’t allow another year to go by without using January profitably for the development of all aspects of yourself and your appearance.

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