It is not uncommon for most of us to grow up with a ‘life plan’, anticipating where we will be professionally and personally by certain milestones.
Most of my friends planned to be married by the time they reached twenty-five and others mentally scheduled the date when they would start a family. We all know that having dreams and something to work towards is healthy but we should also prepare ourselves for some unexpected bumps in the road. And in my case; bumps in the skin.
Admittedly I never anticipated still having acne at twenty-nine; so when I first started my blog Beautiful by Breakfast, I set myself a goal to be free of acne before I turned thirty. I had given myself eighteen months to clear my skin. I intentionally allowed plenty of time to ensure I succeeded but six months into my clear skin mission and my boyfriend proposed! So now, understandably, I find myself adjusting my deadline so that I can be free of acne before I get married in August! That has taken me from one year to only two months remaining! It is no wonder that I am feeling completely overwhelmed and demotivated at the moment!
For the last six months I have worked so hard to be sure that I am doing everything humanly possible to clear my skin and now I feel like I have single handedly set myself up to fail. That is why it is so important to set yourself realistic and achievable goals. We’ve all been there a hundred times, when we start a new product or a new course of medication and say, “This is it! This is what’s going to clear my skin.”
And every time something doesn’t work, we get up, dust ourselves off and try again. It’s exhausting, but our dream of clear skin keeps us going.
My fiancée says:
Work smarter; not harder.
This reminds me of the SMART objectives I used when I taught beauty therapy, so I have applied the same principle to create achievable steps towards clearing acne.
What is your goal? Is it to be breakout free or completely blemish free? What do you expect your skin to look and feel like? Remember once you have cleared your skin of acne you may still have scarring or enlarged pores.
To see results you need to measure your progress. The best way to do this is by writing a journal and taking regular photos of your acne so that each week you can compare your results. It is only in the recent months that I have started doing this; that I actually appreciate how far I’ve come and that the hard work was worth it!
The hardest lesson for me to learn was that the only person that could help me was me! Relying on doctors and dermatologists wasn’t enough, it was down to me to put in the hard work. Of course it would have been great if all my skin problems had been fixed by taking a pill but my acne persisted and it was down to me to find out why. I had been recommended countless times by my doctor to write a food diary and each time I dismissed the idea thinking it would be a waste of time. Over a decade later, I decided I had nothing to loose and gave it a go. Within days I realised that I ate more dairy than I realised. I booked a consultation with a naturopathic doctor, who confirmed that I was allergic to dairy.
Our skin cells take twenty-eight days to regenerate from the base to the surface layer. With acne skin types in particular, expecting a product or treatment to give noticeable results before this time; is unrealistic. It is also worth mentioning that everyone’s skin is different, so just because a product or treatment worked for someone else doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it will work for you. It is easy to watch a television commercial and expect your skin to look as flawless as the person selling the product.
Working towards a deadline will help to keep you focused. Set yourself alerts and reminders for when you reach quarterly milestones to motivate you through the process. While you should avoid pressuring yourself with unrealistic deadlines (like me!) you should also be careful not to give yourself too much time to work towards your goal… tomorrow never comes.
To help you on your way I have come up with my own acronym:
Start. Measuring. Acne. Relative. To.