Many people feel that 2016 was a train wreck of year. I have both a lot to be grateful for this past year and a lot I’d like to leave behind. I am trying to begin the next one with hope and purpose.
Leadership and life coach (and friend) Hanna Cooper has a great exercise with a little twist for beginning the new year that I find to be really useful:
Make a list of the “challenges, losses, or failures” of your past year.
Make a list of the “successes, accomplishments, or wins” on a separate piece of paper.
Make a list of the things you have learned on another.
Once you have acknowledged both your successes and challenges, tear them up. (!!)
Using the list of what you’ve learned, make goals for the new year.
It is surprisingly liberating to tear up your successes along with the challenges. It equalizes the importance of the two, which I need to remind myself of often. And, really, it’s what you’ve learned, from both successes and challenges, that informs you when moving forward.
One of the things I have had to work at again this past year is to embrace – and love – who I am. This includes both the physical and emotional me. They are connected after all, in the obvious way and in that how you feel about your physical self affects how you feel emotionally overall.
I have a continuing journey with positive body image, and when you start to feel unhappy with your body – be it related to weight, aging, its limitations, or something else – those negative feelings can worm their way into everything else.
For women and men alike, the clothing you wear is a significant factor in how you feel about your physical self. It both reflects and impacts your emotional well-being.
The psychology term for this is “enclothed cognition.” I’ve also seen the more layperson term “ensemble empowerment” to describe it. The bottom line is this: what you wear affects how you feel. It can change your mood, determine your level of confidence, and impact how successful you feel. It can alter, positively and negatively, your body image and your feelings of self-worth.
What you wear affects how you feel. It can change your mood, determine your level of confidence, and impact how successful you feel. It can alter, positively and negatively, your body image and your feelings of self-worth.
It’s true. I know firsthand that when I don’t really dress for the day, even one where I have no appointments – meaning I’m wearing whatever I threw on to take my daughter to school or go to the gym and then start working at home without getting “dressed” – I feel worse. I feel less confident; I’m less productive; I have less energy and feel all around icky and irritable. Dressing intentionally, even when it’s very casual, changes my whole outlook on the day and on myself.
The same goes for when you are wearing something for the wrong reasons. I used to wear very oversized clothing in an effort to hide my body. I also would pretend I didn’t care about how I looked, trying to mask my negative body image. It was a pretty miserable place to be, and that is what was really showing.
Wearing clothes that suit you – meaning they fit your body well (no matter your body type) and reflect who you are in your life right now – feels good. They help you to feel confident about your appearance and that confidence shows. It sends a message to you (and, bonus, to others as well) that you care about yourself – that you are being intentional in showing up in the world as your best, true self.
We have to get dressed every day. Wearing clothing that is very worn or old, holding onto clothes that no longer fit because you hope they will fit again, or ignoring that your clothing doesn’t reflect your current life or personal style brings a cycle of negativity to your life every single day.
Wearing clothing that is very worn or old, holding onto clothes that no longer fit because you hope they will fit again, or ignoring that your clothing doesn’t reflect your current life or personal style brings a cycle of negativity to your life every single day.
Dressing intentionally breaks the cycle of negativity. It disrupts your old habits, bringing mindfulness and even joy to the process. When you wear something that you genuinely like, feel confident about, and know reflects the real you, that spreads to the rest of your life. You can feel the difference in yourself, and other people notice it too. It can actually change how you interact in the world.
Give it a try. Put more thought than usual into what you wear tomorrow. Pay attention to good fit, color, and expressing your personal style with how you pair things, accessories, or fabulous shoes. Notice how it makes you feel to wear something intentionally. Wear well, feel well.
If you’d like a hand in making being intentional with your wardrobe a goal this year, let me know. I’m here to help you feel your best in your clothes, which, in turn, helps you to be your best, authentic self. And that’s what we all hope for, isn’t it?