4min readSelf 06 January 2020
I vividly remember a team meeting at the start of a new year with one of my very first managers.
"Let's share our New Year's Resolutions!"
It intended to be a team bonding moment. But for me, sent my brain scrambling. As everyone else seemed to have preprogrammed, pre-crafted, perfect answers. I sat toward the end of the table pondering what I could quickly make up. Because I had no resolutions.
Is this the time to proclaim that I would email less? That I would do more 'walking meetings'? Is this the time to proclaim that I would drink less Diet Dr. Pepper? That I would say 'no' more often to projects I was randomly assigned? Probably not the best timing for that last one.
"Eat better, more vegetables… maybe baby carrots?" I mumbled when it was my turn. My manager nodded. She seemed to be sufficiently satisfied and moved on.
I always wondered. Why do we even have New Year's Resolutions? Who started this anxiety provoking tradition?
According to my go to source Wikipedia, Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to Janus, after whom the month of January is named. And finally, in the medieval era, the knights took the "peacock vow" at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.
So I had the Babylonians, the Romans, and the Knights to thank for this tradition of failed attempts at New Year's Resolutions.
One year. A roommate told me to use eye cream. That lasted a month until I lost the tube she gave me.
Another year, a manager gifted us Swell bottles to drink more water. My bottle was a bright zebra pattern; everyone else had more muted colors. I wasn't too sad when I lost that bottle.
The following year, I bought a beautiful journal to be more organized at work. But I couldn't up end reading half of my writing. Went back to taking notes on the laptop.
Just about every year I vow to get back on the treadmill. Needless to say, I now have a rich history of mixed results on that resolution.
Last year, my friend Christy and I each chose a power word to represent the New Year both at work and at home. Her word: determined. My word: focused. Christy became determined about everything and lived the word. And in the end, I seemed unfocused, unclear on almost everything.
Maybe I should just try again this year. A start of the new decade could do the trick. I started to peruse list after list online of "achievable" New Year's Resolutions for living a happier, healthier, Instagram-able life.
And none of them seemed to quite work for me:
- Explore new hobbies.
I have a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old. Therefore, I have no hobbies.
- Keep clutter out of the kitchen.
Again. I have children. Their hobbies include creating clutter. Lots of clutter.
- Read More Books. This one might work. Do BOB books count? Books for Developing Readers?
- Delegate More Chores. To who? To me? Or my 4-year-old who still needs help in the potty?
- Drink Less Alcohol. Actually, this might be my only hobby. So maybe this won't work after all.
Why do we seem to wait until January to reset, restart, redo? Maybe because we are constantly being sold that the beginning of the new year is the start of something new. When new chapters and new beginnings can happen any day, any time throughout the course of the year.
Back in February, I decided I wanted to join a board. And my friend Cate Luzio asked me to join Luminary's Advisory Board. Back in April, I decided I wanted to start writing again. Luminary introduced me to both SWAAY and FairyGodBoss and I have been fortunate to be a contributing writer for both.
Back in June, I decided it was time to start running again to improve my mental health. And I have been consistently running ever since. Back in September, I decided we needed more of a sense of community. And we have been with intention connecting with more families in Jersey City.
More to do in the next decade, but this is a good start.
And then the longer list of vices, bad habits, self-improvement urges start to creep in. All the things I should just really stop. All of the things that should become 'New Year's Resolutions'.
Why do I drink so much Starbucks. Why do I keep going back to watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Why do I keep saying yes to projects I don't have the band with for. Why do I eat so many Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream Chips. Why do I say I'll give my kids a timeout and never do. Because on some days, I am just too tired to do it and can't get off the couch.
If I flip my perspective, some of these vices, aren't vices at all. I am grateful for the caffeine treat from time to time on my super early mornings. I am grateful for a momentary break from the news cycle, to eat a bowl of chips and to watch if Kourtney will come back to film next season. I am grateful for my comfy couch - and for my kids to resolve their own fights and not be forced to sit in the corner. And I am grateful to be inspired by my work, and have the opportunity to work on a lot of great things. Sounds like the makings of a gratitude list - something that I am currently thinking about doing more consistently.
So please don't ask me about my New Year's Resolutions. Because I have none. And if I find myself watching the Kardashians again, it's okay. I'll just watch this one last episode…
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5 Min Read
She walks into a room ready for her presentation. She wants to land this new client and has worked weeks on it. She heads to the 35th floor of the tallest building on the block knowing she has documentation that is sure to impress. The conference room has a 20-foot long table surrounded by executives in blue suits, button-down shirts, pencil skirts, and blazers.
At this point, she realizes she didn't take into consideration the other important component of her presentation... she is not dressed appropriately.
Is it true that there is power in clothing? Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive?
For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I believe that clothing can greatly impact first impressions and make a lasting impact on anyone you interact with. Like it or not, people will judge you on how you look and they will make both conscious and subconscious decisions about you based on what you're wearing… Is she trustworthy? Is she the expert we need? Will she fit in our corporate culture?
Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive? For me, the answer is a resounding yes.
After all, if you were hiring a financial advisor, and one walked in with a pair of jeans and the other in a pair of trousers and blazer, who would you trust with your money? Even if you don't realize what you're doing when you interact with people, there may be more going on beneath the surface. It's something to think about for sure.
Here's another example, let's say you want to hire a party planner for an event. You meet with the first candidate, and she is wearing a wrinkled shirt and her fingernails are chipping and half-painted. Whereas candidate number two walks in and has on a pencil skirt, pumps, and silk blouse. Who do you think would pay more attention to the details associated with your party?
In 2019, WWD wrote about the psychological effects clothing has on a person:
It is said that clothing is what makes and defines a person. What you wear tells others what you are and makes a statement about your taste, character and individuality. It gives an insight into your nature, whether you are casual or formal, playful or serious, cool or just composed. Whether you are attending a job interview, out on a date or just strutting by the beach, your apparel tells us so much about you at a simple glance.
We know that it takes 5-7 seconds for a person to subconsciously form an opinion about you. Our eyes take in how you look; after all, what you're wearing will influence how you are perceived. How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?
How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?
And it goes way beyond the external. There is scientific data that shows how an individual feels differently when dressed in a variety of styles. In an article from Research Gate, they found that, "Fashion choices can affect both self-image, the impression that you convey to others and in turn, the way in which people behave towards you."
Have you ever heard of the term "enclothed cognition"? It refers to the phenomenon in which people tend to adopt the traits and properties they associate with the clothes they wear. In a study on the psychology of clothing, that same article as above reports that, "Participants judged women to be more forceful in job interviews and were more likely to recommend them for hiring when they were dressed in a more masculine style compared with a more feminine style," and that "Both men and women are attracted to stylish clothing that fits them well, makes them feel well-dressed and looks current."
On some level, we may all agree with that statement.
Naturally, as a personal stylist, I am a true believer in the power of clothes. I have seen my clients' exhilaration as they take in their transformation, brought about by an outfit, a new style, and clothes that look incredible on them. I have also witnessed physical changes like their facial expressions, huge smiles, laughter, sparkling eyes, and even a change in the way they walk. It's almost like there has been a shift in attitude toward their inner beauty, which has increased because they feel and look amazing and confident.
Although most of us are no longer strutting our way to the boardroom, the psycholigcal power of clothing is still necessary and relevant, especially now that we're confined to our home offices. Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry. Not only will your peers perceieve you as more professional and more put-together, but I am sure you will also feel better, be more alert, and have more energy.
Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry.
I'm not saying you need to look like a superstar every second of every day. However, I want you to think about the positive impact well-fitting, stylish clothes can have on both others' perceptions of you as well as your inner-confidence and intrinsic behavior.