I love that the New Year is seen as a time to set goals, improve fitness, and start to lead a healthier, happier life (I’d love it even more if this mindset was followed all year round, but it’s a start!). The problem, though, is that it can encourage people to focus on the things they want to change about themselves, which can have some negative consequences on confidence and mental well-being – remember that overall health is about more than a number on a scale or how heavy you can lift, well-being is so important.
Health and fitness are super important, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of your mental health. The key is to find a balance and mind set where you are able to work towards your goals without trashing your confidence in your body as it is. With that in mind, I’ve set out some tips below that I’ve found helpful to follow to improve body confidence and increase overall well-being.
1. Wear clothes that fit you
This is something that I found to be really difficult! For ages I used to keep hold of clothes that no longer fit me in the vague hope that I would one day fit into them again. I’d keep them in my wardrobe and mentally beat myself up every time I tried them on and they still didn’t fit. While there’s nothing wrong with holding onto those clothes if you want to, maybe put them away somewhere where they don’t taunt you! Obviously this will be relevant only for people with specific goals, but it can be demoralising and difficult when you don’t feel comfortable in your clothes. If you want to get rid of the clothes you no longer fit into, try recycling them or donating them to charity. And if you replace them with clothes that fit properly and that you feel good in, try looking in charity shops or maybe doing a clothes swap with friends? That way you can ensure you are wearing clothes that fit properly without breaking the bank and it’s a much more environmentally friendly way of doing so!
2. Think about who you follow on social media
Social media is great for providing tips and inspiration, but it can create a false image of what people’s lives are like. If you spend your time comparing yourself to people you follow on social media, you might find it starts to knock your confidence. You will be comparing the parts of people’s lives that they decide to share with the world with your life – it’s not real, or at least not the whole picture! I’d also recommend following people with different approaches and body types so you don’t get hung up on one idea of reality.
3. Limit the time you spend on social media
For a similar reason to the point above, it’s a good idea to limit your time on social media. You can convince yourself that you’re getting inspiration and tips, and that’s fine, but don’t spend more time researching than doing! Again, if you spend more time online looking at what other people are doing than actually going out and doing things yourself, you could find yourself falling down a social media hole.
4. Think about why you want to achieve your goal
Try to come up with a few reasons why you want to achieve your goal, and try to make them positive! Instead of thinking “I’m not happy with the way I look” try to think “I know I’ll feel healthier if I get leaner”. Framing your goals in a positive light can have a big impact on how you think about them, and can also help them be more sustainable. Don’t think of exercise as punishment for the things you are unhappy about with your body – instead think about it as a celebration of the awesome things your body can do!
5. Practice kindness
Be kind to yourself! Wanting to make positive improvements in your life is a really good thing, so celebrate that rather than putting yourself down for things you aren’t happy about now. Having a positive mindset can make such a difference to your energy, how you feel about yourself and will ultimately make it more likely that you achieve your goals.