January 4, 2013 7:37 pm

The lure of a new me

January ushers in the same old narrative of making plans for self-improvement

Forget death and taxes. In a beauty editor’s life there are only two certainties: come January, some genius will decide it’s time for the “New Year, New You” story, and if you are anywhere near their vicinity, you will be asked to write it. For the 7th/23rd/34th time, depending on how long you have been in the job.

And yet, no matter how you might moan and point out that this is The Same Story Every Year, thanks to the very human desire to believe in self-improvement, the New Year, New You narrative is indisputably alive and kicking. Indeed, it has been landing in my inbox with alarming regularity for the past month, in the form of gleeful emails from publicists extolling the virtues of various detoxes and fitness regimes. And no matter how I try to fight it, even I succumb in the end.

More

IN Style

Let’s be fair: up until the age of 25, some of the advice on offer is almost plausible. Yes, you too can look like Kate Moss/Rihanna/Cara Delevingne as long as you follow 10 simple tips: 1. Smile more; 2. Breathe more; 3. Drink 1.5 litres of water a day; 4. Do some exercise; 5. Start “body brushing”; 6. Befriend a retoucher; 7. Add a few highlights around your face; 8. Invest in good underwear; 9. Buy some expensive creams; 10. Remember: beauty comes from within. OK, maybe not that last one.

In adulthood, however, here’s how it goes. I tell myself my issues are with the “new you” part of the equation. I resent the constant implied need to “transform” myself. Why would I want that? Say I did follow the New Year, New You approach and remade myself into a Cara-alike thanks to a little dry-brushing and more bottled water, or even a Rihanna-alike? What would my husband do? He’d be terrified.

Still, sarcasm aside, the truth is that it’s good to change, and after some kvetching even I acknowledge that this is the spirit with which the New Year, New You sales pitch is delivered. In the still, cold hours of the morning it’s not the prospect of wrinkles that scares me, it’s the thought that hunched backs, stiffness of limbs, fixed opinions and an unwillingness to embrace the new is where I am heading. The deeply etched lines that are coming are merely an expression of the rest. And that is the moment I cave in faced with the New Year, New You promise. It happened last year and it’s happening now.

So I admit, despite all I have said, to making the following resolutions:

1. Exercise. My doctor once told me that exercising was as important as getting the kids to school on time. As they’re late three days out of five, giving new meaning to the term “school run”, that pretty much takes care of that. However, the rest of the time I am going to commit to Jivamukti yoga – you can get a DVD if you can’t make it to the class. It’s a vigorous form of Hatha yoga, with music (useful for masking any unforeseen noises) and is guaranteed to put you in a good mood – unlike Bikram, which was so unbearably stuffy the one time I tried it that it had me trying to open the windows. And jump out of them. By the end of 2013 I want to be doing a proper headstand so I’m not the only one lying flat on my back while everyone is busily blue sky thinking, feet heavenwards. (www.jivamuktiyoga.com)

2. Better eating. Diets, in my opinion, are best treated like a tasting menu: a bit of this here, a bit of that there. That way lies happiness. Therefore I’ll be drinking New York-based Dr Junger’s cleansing shake for breakfast (half an avocado, a handful of spinach, a punnet of blueberries, a spoon of hemp protein powder, whizzed up in the blender) (see www.cleanprogram.com for details) and following London nutritionist Gabriela Peacock’s advice (gpnutrition.co.uk) the rest of the time, combining carbs with protein at every meal, and keeping a stash of pumpernickel bread in the cupboard for toast with almond butter on top.

3. Facials. Contrary to most people’s expectations as to what beauty editors do all day, I rarely find time to loll about in spas, but I am going to make more time for facials. A good one – such as the Ultimate Aromatherapy Associates Facial (from £90, www.aromatherapy-associates.com) or Omorovicza’s Deep Cleansing and Pore Refining Facial, (£85, www.omorovicza.com) – not only leaves skin looking plump and rosy, but includes pummelling, pinching and pressure-point massage. They’re like a spa for the time-poor; a disco nap for your skin.

I know the above troika of goals won’t transform me, but they might improve me. And that’s a story I am happy to write – and a promise I can live with.

kathleen.baird-murray@ft.com

Related Topics

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

LIFE AND ARTS ON TWITTER

More FT Twitter accounts
SHARE THIS QUOTE