So You Want a Makeover: How to Improve and Love the Way You Look and Feel

makeoverIt happens to even the most confident among us: we look in the mirror and think “ugh, time for a change.” Maybe you just went through a breakup and want to make some drastic changes to help you deal with the changes. Maybe you’re starting a new job. Maybe you just got laid off. Maybe you’re just bored with everything and want to switch things up. Whatever the reason, you’re ready for a makeover. Here’s how to do it the right way:

First: Let’s Look at the Wrong Way

Most people, when they decide that they need a makeover, go on a sort of spree. They save up some money and then go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe, get a shocking new haircut, throw out all of their cosmetics and buy new…you get the idea. Some people even throw out all of their food and buy new. It’s crazy! Most of the time, these drastic and all at once makeovers fail.

They fail because too much change all at once is a real shock to the system. Sure you’ll feel refreshed for a week or two (or maybe even three) but sooner or later you’ll miss what you now feel like was the “real” you. You’ll dig your old stuff out of the basement, shove your new stuff to the back of the closet and feel a little bit like a failure.

The Right Way: Back to Basics, Clothing Edition

It’s tempting to just head to your favorite store and buy everything they’re selling for the season and call that your new wardrobe. Most of you, though, probably don’t have the budget for that. Even if you did, it isn’t a good idea.

Instead put together a week’s worth of “base” items: a couple pairs of pants, skirts, a dress, some shirts, a couple of pairs of good shoes. If you’re budget challenged, you can find easily find things in the style you need at thrift and vintage stores (don’t knock it–Sophia Amoruso built the Nasty Gal empire by scouring thrift shops and yard sales).

Then, mix and match and supplement as needed. This way if you find yourself reverting back to your older style in a few weeks, you won’t feel like you blew a bunch of money on nothing.

The Right Way: The Skin Care Edition

Before you even think about what kind of cosmetics you want to buy, let’s talk about the skin on which those cosmetics will rest. Is it healthy? Take advantage of skin care events near you that are put on by local dermatologists and skin care clinics. Skin care events are great places to score samples of new skin care products and get free initial evaluations.

You can parlay the same strategy into your cosmetics shopping. Take advantage of demonstration days at your favorite cosmetics counters and shops. Be careful though! Never agree to sit in the chair until you are sure that both sides of your face will be made up.

The Right Way: Your Diet Edition

Before you decide to adopt whatever diet happens to be trendy at the moment (looking at you, Paleo), go to your doctor and get a checkup or physical. In addition to being a good idea, health-wise, it’s a good thing to do whenever you feel the need to make big changes in your life. There might be a physical reason you’re feeling blah. Your doctor can check your hormone levels and, based on how you answer her questions, potentially identify some health-based things that can help with your makeover.

Your doctor or a nutritionist is the best person to help you put together a new diet plan for your makeover.

When you have this new plan, remember to implement it slowly. Buy ingredients only as you need them. Use up your current starchy pasta before switching to the veggie. This will save you money and help you build the new diet into your habits.

The Right Way: Your Body Edition

There are a lot of different programs you can follow if you feel like you’ve gotten out of shape (which is often the impetus for the makeover). The Couch to 5K program is incredibly popular. The Gorilla Workout app is a fun option for strength training you can do at home. A lot of people embrace the social aspects of the FitBit and apps like RunKeeper.

Go slowly. Start out by going for walks and then work your way up into regular fully fledged workouts. This is easier on your body and helps you get into the habit of exercising.

Remember: a real makeover takes time. You can’t change who you are overnight. In fact, trying to change who you are overnight is the best way to set yourself up to further entrench yourself in the things you’re hoping to change.