Are You in a Good Place? Seven Questions to Help You Navigate from Humdrum to Happiness
We all get stuck in uninspiring ruts sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay there.
Image consultant Marla Tomazin asks seven questions that will help you to identify the ruts that may be detracting from your health, relationships, and overall look.
It’s so easy to just take life as it comes: to deal with problems as they crop up, to check off the tasks that happen to be at the top of our to-do lists, and to try to make it through the day without a meltdown, accident, or major crisis. With this mindset, we can get so settled into our routines that we go years—or even decades—without consciously taking a look at our lives to assess what’s working and what’s not. That’s why Marla Tomazin urges you to stop living your life by default and start living it by design.
“For the sake of your happiness and overall well-being, it’s a good idea to take your temperature in key areas on a regular basis,” says Tomazin, who has been an image consultant for twenty years after earlier experience in the fashion industry. “We are constantly growing and changing, and the things that used to fit well into your life may not be honoring who you are now. It’s very important to live on purpose, not by accident.”
As an experienced image consultant, Tomazin focuses on the entire body-mind-spirit connection when working with clients because she knows that the impression you make isn’t just determined by what you wear; it’s also influenced by your attitude, outlook, and self-image.
“Ask yourself: Are the people in your life building you up or bringing you down? Are you healthy? Do you have a good overall image?” she suggests. “Take your time and be honest when thinking through these issues. Chances are, some of the answers you come up with will point to areas of your life that need to change.”
Here, Tomazin shares seven questions to help you to live deliberately in three important categories:
By starting here—with your own body—you’ll build a solid foundation from which to tackle other areas of your life.
Have you been meaning to lose a few pounds (for the last 15 years)? Thinking about your pant size can be very tough (and traumatic), but it’s time to face the music. When you look at pictures of yourself, you may find yourself surprised to see an extra 15 or 20 pounds that didn’t used to be there.
“If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking, When did this happen? How long has this gone on?” Tomazin points out. “It’s easy to let the treadmill gather dust and eat what’s convenient (instead of what’s healthy) when you have a job that demands at least 40 hours of your week, kids who need to be taken to school and picked up from basketball practice, a house to keep from falling apart, etc. But now more than ever, the excuses have to stop, regardless of how legitimate they are. Your weight isn’t just about your silhouette—it’s about your health, your energy level, and your confidence, too.”
Are you taking care of yourself? Do you feel tired and run down? Are you overextending yourself? Do you pack your days too full and get too little sleep in order to accomplish everything you want to? You may think you’re getting ahead, but in reality, you’re hurting your quality of life.
“If you make taking care of yourself more of a priority, you’ll feel better about taking care of other people and have more energy throughout the day to imitate Superwoman,” Tomazin says. “Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s healthy and necessary. Whether you spend a day at the spa or simply take ten minutes to purchase and enjoy a cup of hot tea in the midst of running errands, investing in yourself will make you more resilient and will also reduce your stress and tension.”
The people with whom you spend your time have a huge impact on your emotional health. Being purposeful about spending time with positive people will improve your quality of life.
Do you spend time with friends or frenemies? Think about your friends. Are they supportive or snide? Do you feel energized when you spend time with them, or drained? Are compliments genuine or backhanded?
“If your friendship with a certain person isn’t enriching, back away,” Tomazin instructs. “Choose to spend time with people you genuinely like. Life is too short to spend time with people whom you don’t enjoy, who try to undercut or out-do you, and with whom you can’t be authentic. You don’t have to be rude to these individuals, but remember: You’re in charge of your calendar. You can gracefully say no to one social activity while accepting another, more positive one.”
Do you feel stuck in obligatory relationships? There are so many people we feel we “should”—but don’t particularly want to—spend time with. You know the ones: Perhaps your widowed mother-in-law constantly asks you to drop by but criticizes everything from your clothes to your career to your parenting when you’re together. Or maybe a certain friend makes everything feel like a competition—but since you’ve known each other since childhood and don’t want to “waste” the years you’ve invested in the relationship, you tolerate her one-upmanship.
“Just like frenemies, people with whom you feel obligated to spend time can suck up your energy and positive outlook,” Tomazin comments. “Often (as might be the case with a mother-in-law or other relative) it’s impossible to back out of the relationship entirely, but there are things you can do to minimize its negative impact on your life. First, make sure you have set up clear boundaries. In some cases, people might not realize how bad they’re making you feel!”
It’s simple: When you are confident about and comfortable with the way you look, you will feel (not to mention look!) your best.
Are you wearing the right clothes? We all know that different colors look better on different people. The same thing goes for various clothing styles. The question is, do you know which colors and styles look best on you? If not, you might be unintentionally sentencing your look to “average” instead of allowing it to be amazing! It’s a good idea to revisit this topic every few years as both fashions and your body change. Get clear on colors and styles that are most flattering for you and stick with those guidelines whenever you make a new purchase. (And face it: Wearing sweats every day makes you feel sloppy and not as productive.)
“For a number of reasons—your own self-confidence and comfort, as well as the impression you make on others chief among them—it’s so important to dress appropriately and stylishly for your age, body type, and coloring,” says Tomazin. “If you’re not sure where to start, many fashion magazines and websites offer general advice regarding what colors and styles tend to look good on various complexions and body types. You might also want to ask a trusted friend for honest advice. But if you want more personalized results, I recommend working with an image consultant whose trained eye can help you to look your absolute best.”
Does your makeup need a makeover? Your face is one of the first things that people notice when they meet you, and it’s also what they primarily look at as they interact with you. Unfortunately, beauty rituals pertaining to the face are one of the easiest ruts for women to get stuck in. Think about it: Have you updated your makeup this century? Like hairstyles, it’s common to find a makeup routine that works and then never change it, even as your face, skin, and fashion evolve.
“If you’ve been buying the same makeup products for years and could apply them in your sleep, plan a visit to your favorite makeup counter,” Tomazin suggests. “Explain that you’d like to update your look in a way that’s fresh, stylish, modern, and that plays up your natural beauty. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the right makeup help make my clients look younger and so much more vibrant!”
What is your skin telling you? Skincare isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition—far from it! There are many different combinations of skin types and tones, each of which can be best cared for with a specific combination of products. And like your hair, your skin can change over time—and so should your skincare regimen. For instance, you may have once needed an acne-fighting, oil-controlling cleanser, but as the years pass, a gentler, anti-aging and tone-evening option might be more appropriate.
“If you aren’t sure what’s best for your skin (or if you’re experiencing any problems), talk to your dermatologist,” instructs Tomazin. “And whatever your skin type is, make sure you’re taking care of the basics, such as moisturizing and wearing sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors. When it comes to healthy, beautiful skin, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!”
“Now—not tomorrow, next week, or next year—is the time to assess your life,” Tomazin concludes. “Most meaningful changes aren’t instant. They’ll take time and effort, but they’ll be worth it. And I promise: If you ask yourself these questions and are honest about the answers, you’ll be on the road to a good place.”
About Marla Tomazin:
Marla Tomazin, Certified Image Consultant, established her image consulting business in 1990 with the goal of helping clients identify an authentic image and develop its effective expression. From a successful career in the fashion industry, Marla gained expertise in retail buying, merchandising, sales, and marketing. She began with May Company in Denver after earning a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Denver. Marla moved to New York where she worked with several well-known Seventh Avenue design firms. As she developed her business skills, Marla made a serendipitous discovery—an innate sense of style and facility for working with fabrics and colors to maximum advantage.
The progression to Certified Image Consultant was a natural transition. Marla utilizes her abilities in evaluating body shape, movement, and coloring as well as synthesizing optimal cuts, lines, colors, and textures. This results in balance and proportion that accentuate attributes and conceal flaws. Her clients include women, men, and corporations seeking external revitalization that mirrors their internal development.
For more information, please visit www.marlatomazin.com.