As New Year resolutions are made, new research from Superdrug has revealed that for six out of 10 Brits the simple act of giving and receiving a compliment can really help!
The results show that 88% believe more compliments need to be given in January than any other month to encourage, inspire and motivate during the bleak cold winter. 67% of women agree that they’ll give a compliment to make someone else feel good compared to just 47% of men.
So when it comes to keeping positive, motivated and happy during January Superdrug ambassador and Registered Practitioner Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman has put together her advice on tackling January head-on!
Does our confidence really take a knock in January?
January can be a tough month for self-esteem. We’ve put on weight over Christmas, and maybe let our alcohol consumption levels creep over what we personally find acceptable. Our exercise regime has slipped—for the past couple of weeks, maybe the longest walk we’ve been on has been from the sofa to the fridge and back again. So here we are: We don’t fit comfortably into our jeans, our face is getting pale and puffy, and on top of all that, we are still facing into weeks and weeks of long, dark evenings that make embracing a healthy lifestyle look distinctly unattractive. Between one thing and another, it’s no surprise that, for many, January can be the most challenging month for our emotional wellness!
Being kind to yourself
We can start to deal with this challenge to our confidence by cutting ourselves some slack. Societies in northern climates, where the winters are long and dark, have observed a period of rest and over-indulgence since time immemorial. While it certainly wouldn’t be healthy to eat and live every day of the year as though it was Christmas, a week or two of treats and relaxation doesn’t do any harm—and can do a lot of good. So what if you have gained a couple of pounds and deviated from your exercise regime? There’s nothing stopping you from getting back on track. Instead of focusing on what you might see as setbacks, think about your achievements of the last little while. Did you spend some positive time with your family and/or friends? Manage to get out for the occasional walk even though the weather was absolutely foul? All of that matters too.
Sticking to New Year goals
January is famously (or infamously) a time for resolutions and goal-setting. It’s when people take out new gym memberships, start crash diets, and promise themselves that they are going to be a better version of themselves from now on. Unfortunately, by the end of January a lot of those resolutions have fallen by the wayside. So, how can we make and stick to our goals? We can start by making those goals realistic! If you want to lose weight, for example, it makes sense to draw up a plan to lose it gradually and in a healthy way, rather than promising yourself you’ll drop two dress sizes in a month. If you want to ramp up your exercise regime, that’s great—but you’re not likely to go from taking no or very little experience to running marathons in just a few weeks. Also, your journey towards a better you is more likely to run smoothly if you have company along the way. Try finding a gym buddy or joining a weight loss group, or enrolling a friend in joining in with you in whatever you have decided to do differently. It’ll be more fun, and you’ll find it a lot easier to reach your goals!
Compliments make the world go around! Positive reinforcement is one of the best tools out there to help people stay on track with their goals. With friends and family, be liberal with your compliments, and you’ll be doing everyone a favour.
Telling your friend how great she looks will reassure her that her self-improvement regime is bearing fruit, even if she’s dissatisfied with how quickly she’s seeing progress. Compliments boost self-esteem, and higher levels of self-esteem make us happier—and in the process more focused on our goals and likely to reach them. Never hold back on compliments—they cost us nothing, and can really enhance the well-being of the people we care about. Interestingly Superdrug’s research shows women are also far more likely than men to give someone an insincere compliment so as not to hurt the other person’s feelings, believing it's something the other person wants to hear.
Too many people brush off compliments and respond ungraciously, telling themselves and others that the compliment isn’t really true, and that they’re just as unfit as ever, or their new dress doesn’t really suit them (and so on). Why? You don’t lie to your friends when you tell them something nice about themselves, so why would they lie to you? When you’re on the receiving end of a compliment, don’t be tempted to brush it off! Your friend tells you you’re looking great, or that your new hair-do suits you, or that she’s noticed the difference since you started working out? A good response to all of these compliments is “thank you!”
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