Whatever age you are, make 2014 the year when you really come into your own as the woman you've always wanted to be. This is the Year of the Horse in Chinese astrology and this symbolizes a relentless nature to improve yourself through positive, intelligent and energetic efforts. Make 2014 a can-do year where you harness your inner strength and reserve to take control of your own lifestyle and future.
Forget celebrity images that either are not really that real, or at least don't represent healthy women living a healthy lifestyle. 2014 is the year to not try and live up to societal pressures but to personalize your life like never before. It's about what you want and who you want to be. Follow our simple guide on finding and being the real you in the year ahead.
Look to yourself for the answers
Women are bombarded with images of ideals and perfection is personified in the glossy pages of magazines, with famous celebrities seeming to have it all, from the best body to the most handsome beau and baby in tow. Focus on your reality rather than the lives of others and ask yourself how you feel, think and behave and what changes you would like to make in 2014.
Choose to take control
Often the first sign of change is to make an affirmative decision to take control of your own life. If you are unfit and out of shape then own that and decide to take steps to change this reality. If you find yourself coming up with buts and what ifs then check yourself and stop making excuses. It may be difficult to admit that you are responsible for any negatives in your life but once you take control, you should feel lighter and more energized.
Stand up and be counted
Does a lack of confidence hold you back? Do you hide your light under a bushel or try and disguise what you determine as faults? By hiding who you are you can end up feeling disconnected. This in turn can lead to a lack of care for yourself. Displaying a robust self-esteem is a way of expressing care and concern for yourself, which can inform the lifestyle choices you make.
Get professional advice
Part of being a strong woman is knowing when to seek advice. If the changes you want to make in 2014 are connected with health and fitness then we can certainly offer you valuable expert advice so that you can focus in the right way. Being independent does not necessarily mean that you can't benefit from quality support from experienced fitness gurus.
Feel positive not negative
Negativity is a vicious circle. If you start beating yourself up about mistakes you have made or where you find yourself right now, then you're just going to succeed in making yourself feel worse. While a reality check can be useful, feeling down really just zaps energy. Look to a positive future rather than dwell on negatives that have created problems for you. In other words, if your diet has been unhealthy and you've put on weight, then focus on interesting healthy recipes rather than berating your failings.
Walk the walk
Being a strong and healthy woman is not just about appearances either. You might start 2014 firing on all cylinders, but you want to ensure that you're not just talking the talk. To sustain a new lifestyle, make plans, create action strategies, and above all else, get going. The sooner you take those first few steps to creating a new you, the sooner you will reach a point you are happy with. What are you doing right now to create positive change?
Look at what motivates you
So many people start out a new year with great intentions, only to see these falter and fail before even the end of the first month. To avoid this, you need to keep your motivation levels up. The way to really do this is to find out what motivates you. This may shape your ideas as to what you actually want to change and achieve and how to create an environment that boosts your desire to get there. Motivation is not about willpower or doing without but giving yourself what you want.
Seek out like-minded women
Being around other women who share your zest for life and positivity can be inspiring. A community of women that is supportive, friendly and engaging can also help you work out what you actually want too.
It's 2014 already, so what type of woman are you going to become this year?