You know the true definition of ‘turning over a new leaf’?
You don’t?
Well, let me enlighten you.
According to the faithful world of online dictionaries, it means to ‘start to act or behave in a better or more responsible way; to improve; to reform’.

Hmmm.

There’s a lot of good sentiment in that definition, but what say we women decide to stop trying to ‘improve’ or ‘be better’ for those ‘others’ we’re so busy getting caught up on.

Sure, we want to be a good version of ourselves in as much as we want to be a kind and considerate friend, daughter, sibling or colleague, but you know what they say about the whole Oxygen Mask model.

You always ALWAYS need to consider some self care in order to deliver your best self to those around you.

With that in mind, here’s 8 ways you can truly start to embrace the idea of a healthier happier you in the year ahead, in order that you can lead your best life and be your best self not only for your inner peace and satisfaction, but as a means of being a truly authentic and valued person to others.

1 Be Your Own Best Friend

If there are ways in which you’re currently behaving toward yourself, that you wouldn’t dare impose on your best friend or loved ones, then it’s high time you changed the record.

Why would you entertain negative dialogue with yourself, when you’d never say something unkind or unhelpful to a pal? Why would you deprive yourself of occasional gifts, of great food, of rest or of positive affirmation?

Make the change in order to treat yourself as if you were your own cheerleader.

2 Learn to Say No

Just because you decide to exercise a little more restraint about accepting or agreeing to requests and demands, it doesn’t mean you automatically become someone the world will despise.

Make this the year you set boundaries.

Consider when you’re truly able to help a person or to accept their request of you, without it causing you hardship of an emotional or physical kind.

3 Evaluate Your Support Crew

Who is it that surrounds you in your current world? Is everyone in your immediate circle someone who truly supports and encourages you?

Sure, you need those people to be honest with you when it matters, and to be forceful if it’s due.

But, do you really need people who cause you pain, a spirit of negativity, or a sense of guilt or regret?

Make time to think who you would truly want or need in your world in order to make 2019 even more positive and fulfilled.

4 Less Tech More Talk

You’ve heard this recommendation a thousand times in different forms, but it really is true that we all benefit more from coming off the tech, and leaving in the ‘real world’.

On the one hand, too much exposure to our devices and technology is doing little good for our mental health.

More than this, however, is the fact that if we spend so much time consuming content via our phones, tablets and all other gadgets, it’s less time we’re actually having dialogue in person with the friends and loved ones who are important to our world.

It’s less time we’re enjoying nature, capturing what’s going on around us, or just appreciating a child’s giggle, the rustle of the leaves, or the droplets of rain falling on the window pane as we stare outside with a mug of hot chocolate in hand.

Set limits for how much you use your tech, and be committed to more ‘real world’ time.

5 Listen to Your Gut

Why is it that our grandmothers used to spend so much time telling us to go with our ‘gut instinct’?

Because they were wise and experienced, that’s why.

It really is true that often our bodies, and in particular our stomachs, can be telling us a lot about a person, a situation, a life event.

Make this the year you decide to be more in tune with what your own intuitive self is trying so hard to tell you.

You’re more wise and wonderful than you know. Go with it.

6 Deny Diet Culture

We’re about to go heading straight into that period of newspapers, magazines, television stations and celebrity fitness trainers telling us we should try the latest food or exercise fad in order to ‘shift the Christmas excess’.

Sure, you may be feeling as if you’ve over-indulged a little for the last few weeks, but do yourself a favour and refuse to make this another year in which you’re drawn into the ‘diet culture’ trap.

Why do we feel the need to be on a hamster wheel of following certain restrictive diets or unenjoyable exercise routines?

Of course you want to be at a weight and a size which is healthy for you, and which shows balance in terms of what you consume, and what you expend.

But that’s no reason to go to the extreme of restriction and deprivation, or to get caught up in thinking you ‘must’ have particular rules or behaviours around your food or your energy use.

Be kinder this year. Find a life of balance. Think more about nourishment and nurture, than about dictating to yourself in an unkind and miserable fashion.

7 Be an Evangelist for Encouragement

What you give out in the world, so often is what you’ll find yourself getting back.

Why wouldn’t you want to spread more positivity, and pass on more encouragement, to those who exist in your inner circle and beyond?

Whether it’s your young niece who needs a little more encouragement and enthusiasm to help her tackle a school-based subject, or a female pal who needs the confidence to be able to set up her own business or to leave an unhappy relationship – how you act and encourage could make a huge difference.

Consider the words you use, spread optimism, and always remember that you born with TWO ears and only ONE mouth, meaning that the art of LISTENING is just as important (if not, more so) than TALKING and TELLING.

8 Pamper Through Pausing

We talk a lot about self-care these days, and we’re very accustomed to hearing someone discuss pampering treats.

What we tend to immediately relate such mentions to, is the world of beauty pampering, and being lovingly indulged in massages, pedicures and the like.

These are great, and yes, be sure to have plenty of these in your year ahead.

At the same time, however, remember that simply by pausing and living more ‘in the moment’ you can be creating a sense of pampering and self-care for yourself.

Take time to rest, to reflect, to hear the incredible sound of your own breath, to let yourself visualise the world you want, and the community of friends and loved ones which matter to you.

To pause is pampering.

What you do within that pause, is of course, entirely up to you.