Creating a sustainable schedule isn’t just about goals
In an age where people put their best face forward on social media and the media itself tends to paint a façade of perfection, it’s easy to become fixated on the idea of difficult if not impossible to obtain appearances. Think of the last time you decided to insert a new beauty routine into your day. Does this sound somewhat familiar? “I’m going to begin a 12-step skincare program so I can minimize this imperfection, obliterate this one, and also this one, oh, and maybe this one, too!” Or how about, “I’m going work out at least an hour every day and drop at least three sizes in six weeks!”
Focusing on future perfection instead of taking small, manageable steps toward improvement is a slippery slope. It’s easy to fall victim to this kind of thinking, and it deals a heavy blow when expectations aren’t met. I once went out and bought a few cute size zero outfits to enjoy once I met the strict fitness and dietary goals developed in my head. I viewed it as a carrot at the end of the stick, but my overly ambitious plans ended up being more damaging and anxiety inducing than helpful.
Instead of starting new health and beauty routines with rigid, linear goals, lay a foundation for becoming the person you want to be, then take it one day at a time. Be gentle on yourself and begin your journey with things you can easily incorporate into your daily life. As time goes on, you’ll find it increasingly easier to add steps to your routine as needed.
Start with a few simple adjustments that can boost your beauty and form the building blocks of sustainable habits that fit into your lifestyle.
1. Wear SPF every day, even in the winter, on cloudy days, when you’re indoors or driving in your car. Harmful UV rays cause premature aging, skin cancer, sun or “liver” spots, and more.
2. Limit alcohol consumption. It might be tempting to unwind with a couple glasses of wine, but limit yourself to one glass or less. Alcohol is loaded with empty calories and is majorly dehydrating. When your skin becomes too dry, it’s more likely to wrinkle and make you appear older than you are.
3. Eat the rainbow! It sounds fun—and fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients to fuel a healthy body. Begin by adding a couple of fresh fruits and veggies daily to your diet. Grow into the rainbow and watch your complexion take on a more radiant glow.
4. Exercise daily. By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. Start by taking little steps. Try stretching in the morning, going on a walk around your neighborhood, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
5. Hydrate your skin. While cranking up the heat or lighting the fireplace keeps you toasty and warm, they suck moisture out of the air, which can lead to dry skin. Treat your skin to a weekly hydrating mask to help compensate for the moisture winter strips away.
By Audrey Ashe