Want to shake things up this year? Here are six ways to do it…
Get a new haircut
“The main times people come to me for radical haircuts are in the new year, after a break-up or after a wedding,” stylist Barney Martin says. So what are the benefits to taking the plunge? “People tend to feel invigorated and good about themselves for committing to a change,” Martin says. “A big change can invoke a lot of emotion, but often those who cry are the ones who love it the most.”
Martin says trends to watch out for in 2013 include Great Gatsby-inspired short bobs, geometric cuts and short, choppy fringes. Before committing to a big change, take your face shape and lifestyle into consideration, and take photos to show your stylist so they can recommend what will and won’t suit you.
Make a tree change
Demographer Bernard Salt calls the move from the city to a coastal or rural area the “lifestyle movement of the decade”.
On a Monday morning, who hasn’t dreamed of escaping the rat race for a slower, more peaceful life? But apart from small-town charm, green hills and good cafes, there are more practical considerations to make. Salt’s tips include ensuring the town is no more than 250 kilometres away from a capital city, has a modest median income and low unemployment.
“If you struggle to get out of bed, if you look for every opportunity not to show up at work, you are in the wrong job,” Rowdy McClean, motivational expert and author of Play A Bigger Game (Wiley), says. There are a few avenues you can pursue when it comes to forging a new career, such as doing work experience with your ideal company, improving your skills through training or finding someone who is already in the industry and starting to make valuable connections.
“One of the keys to a happy life comes from fulfillment and making a valued contribution. When your work is an integral part of who you are, you experience life as rich and rewarding rather than a daily drag and grind,” McClean says.
Write with your other hand
Performing tasks with your non-dominant hand is a great way to develop new neural pathways and help hone your motor skills. Start by doing simple everyday tasks with your left hand (if you’re a rightie), such as opening doors, brushing your teeth or making phone calls. Next, start writing the alphabet in capital and lower case letters, then move on to sentences. When printing becomes easier, try cursive.
Be a morning person
Benjamin Franklin said: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” But what if you’re a night owl who struggles to get out of bed before 10am? You can change your sleep habits, says Dr Tracey Marks, author of Master Your Sleep (Bascom Hill). Marks suggests saying no to commitments that run late into the evening so you can spend the time unwinding. Make mornings run smoother by showering the night before and laying out your clothes ready for the next day.
Conquer your fears
“Fears exist for all of us no matter what stage of life we are at,” McClean says. “Someone without a job fears not having any money. Someone with lots of money fears losing it. Understanding that fear is a natural part of existence is the first step to overcoming it.” McClean recommends taking a gradual approach when it comes to facing fears.
“Jumping out of a plane may cure your fear of heights but it might also make it worse than ever. A gradual shift of getting yourself to climb a ladder, then stand on a balcony of a high building, then fly in a helicopter, will give you a gradual shift in confidence,” he says. “A mentor can also be helpful – someone who has overcome what you are trying to deal with. “The benefit of overcoming a major fear is that it opens up opportunities and improves confidence.”
This is an edited extract from an article that originally appeared in body+soul.